Monday, November 09, 2009

Introducing two new Legends of Salsa... Cali, Colombia

We left Ecuador and literally ran across the border into Colombia. We haven´t had the best beach luck on our trip and have been fantisizing about the Colombian Coast for quite a while now so to finally be entering the country felt good. Now its only three more weeks till we get to the coast but at least we´re here!
Our first stop in Colombia was in Cali. There are three mains styles of Salsa dancing which are Puerto Rican, Cuban and Cali. We spent five days in a Salsa school learning how to perfect the sweet sweet steps of Puerto Rican Salsa. You´d think we´d have learned Cali style but we didn´t. The reason is because of the three very basic steps we first learned, our least favorite was a Cali Style step and we pretty much refused to work on it after awhile choosing to focus on the more fun and natural feeling moves.

Our instructor´s name was Wilbur and had been dancing professionally for about twenty years. Wonderful dancer, but he seemed sort of bored teaching us and didn´t provide the best instruction. His english also wasn´t the best. But all that being said we actually learned enough steps and twirls to look like we know what we´re doing. Here is a pic of the three of us in the studio below.

We stayed in the Jovitas hostel/dance school which had the studio you see above inside. We took six hours of private lessons and four hours of group instruction. On top of that, each night Wilbur would take us and the other students to the best Salsa clubs in town and we´d all dance until about 3:30 in the morning.

By far the best night was when we went to a club called Chongos. The club is about 25 minutes outside of town and when our taxi finally pulled up to the clubs entrance I felt a little like I´d stepped back in time to 1950´s Vegas. It was all lit up in neon and had some really nice cars in the parking lot. All of Cali´s best salsa dancers go to Chongos on Sunday nights so naturally we were there.
There are two dance floors in Chongos and all the tables face inward towards them. Anytime you step on the dance floor you can feel everyone watching you. But it also made for some great people watching. Cali is also known for being the plastic surgery capital of Colombia and there were quite a few examples of this on the floor.
We had an unbelievable time there and were seriously tearing up the dance floor by 3am. We even had a small fan base watching us to which we bowed as we left for the final time. I think I even danced all the way out the door we were having so much fun. The video below is pretty bad quality and the girl that took it was terrible with a camera but its proof we know how to cut a shape or two in the club. Check it!
Gemma made some friends with the workers outside before we hopped in our cab home.

We also went to the Cali Zoo to see some unusual South American animals. The bird below has a pretty wild looking face and if you look closely you´ll see a baby anteater on her moms back. We also saw alot of miniature frogs only found in Colombia.

Which of these beasts would you not want to run into in a dark alley???

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