I am apparently in the Salsa capital of the world, Cali Colombia and having a great time! There is a lot of yoga, a big hippy vibe, lots of meditation classes, including a very nice building house a branch of the Self Realization Foundation, and of course a lot of dancing. It seems in Colombia, music is in the veins of the people like coffee is in the veins of people from Seattle. Instead of memories of the smell of coffee defining the important moment of life, it is the sound of music playing out of every car, suitcase salesman’s bag, house,tienda, restaurant, and sometimes people just sitting around listening to small speakers. Often the music will start before I wake up and be going after I go to bed, if it ever stops.
Kids all dance around at home, at restaurants, on the streets, in stores. When a song everyone love comes on there is pandemonium. They seem to be able to move their hips and torso and arms and knees in ways I cannot fathom how to learn. Everyone seems to come to Cali to try to learn. Knowing I am certainly not going to ever know how and being incredibly intimidated by the locals, I was going to skip that and do Cali as a quick stop that had cheap flights from Medellin.
But if you happen upon Cali during the Salsa Festival you should really stay, or so I was told. And they were right. There are demonstrations, free classes,discussions, cultural displays, and a lot of dancing. And after a beer or two it is really all fun and only admiring how the Colombianas move instead of being incredibly jealous and intimidated.
Dance is really such an important form of expression for so many people here. People use it to really show who they are and it is amazing. Especially for someone trying to figure out who she is and learn express it to people who want to try to define her. You do not apologize for people for them infringing on your dance space, you are not the wrong size for your clothing, the clothing is the wrong size, and they are most definitely not ashamed to admit to show that they take good care of themselves, all sizes and shapes. Every woman below a certain age wears tight clothes and is not ashamed of showing what they have. No one is afraid of looking stupid on the dance floor because their expression is just as beautiful as yours, why should they be?
So to the dance floor I went last night, with a new friend who is an amazing dancer and had a great time dancing with him and watching him dance with some amazing Colombianas who I can can just watch with amazement (ok so a little envy and maybe even a little curiosity). I was wearing my new tight (though not tight by Colombian standard) Colombian jeans and not caring what might not look perfect in them because I figured out you can buy a nice Colombiana ass with the right pair of jeans (or literally buy it if you want, its cheap here, medical tourism).
So, my two-day trip to Cali has been almost a week and will be more than a week in the end. My 3-4 week trip to Colombia will be 6.5 weeks.