Dancing My Blues Away in Cali

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To say that I was having a bad travel day is a massive understatement and while I had thought of shopping or spa-ing the anger away, that wasn’t a viable possibility in Popayan.


The pity party needed to end.


I needed a change of scenery. I chose to move onto Cali because there was a hostel that offered free yoga classes and while I’m no new age hippie, hot yoga in Toronto has helped me refocus in times of chaos.

When I arrived at the hostel I was disappointed to learn that the yoga studio was a $4 ride away – a fortune in a backpacker’s wallet, but disappointment quickly disappeared with the news of free salsa classes in the hostel.

I like dancing, but only after a few drinks, when I don’t seem to mind that I lack rhythm and can’t often find the beat in a song. I’ve taken both swing and ballroom classes but it turns out that salsa Cali Colombia is a bucket list item as the city is one of the world’s capitals for salsaone of the dances I’d love to learn but also the hardest for me as it requires loosening up and letting go.

That evening I entered dance class with the handful of other people in my hostel and was surprised that I could pick up some of the steps.

I wasn’t terrible but I had a lot to learn.

Fortunately, everyone from the hostel goes out to a salsa club after class to practice so there was plenty of opportunity. Also, Caleño men are more than happy to be patient with new dancers and there’s no possibility to be a wallflower all night.


Salsa bar in Cali Colombia

So the past few days I’ve been taking classes, dancing all night and perhaps drinking a bit too much of the local sugar alcohol, aguardiente. More importantly, I seem to have turned a corner and have found wonderful people in a hostel and amazing locals who have been incredibly welcoming to the gringa who can’t dance.


Join the Conversation

  1. Ummm, aguardiente!!! Such good (powerful) stuff! That will make ANYONE a good dancer haha. Hope you’re feeling better babe?

  2. Carmie Brogan says:

    So basically you are saying you are no “Elaine” when it comes to dancing……

  3. Haha! I have never tried “aguardiente” but it sounds like it can have you spinning around for hours after a couple drinks.

  4. Ayngelina Author says:

    @Andi feeling much better, especially after the outpouring of support for my last post

    @Carmie oh no I now dance as Elaine would salsa

    @Norbert well the name means fire water and there’s a reason for thst!

  5. Glad to see that you like salsa. hey, didn’t I try to give you lessons once??? 😛

    1. Ayngelina Author says:


      Amongst all the other things you tried to do for me but did not work!

  6. I can’t dance to save my life but getting out there, letting loose & having fun is great for getting out of a funk. Glad you’re doing better!

  7. Oh I am glad you are feeling better and are dancing your blues away. I love to dance all types of dance. I miss dancing so much I dance for 13yrs, I did tap, jazz and ballet!!! That is so cool that they offer free salsa classes in the Hostel! Hope you learn a few moves…

  8. so much freaking fun! What a stress reliever.

  9. Shake it, girl!

  10. So great to hear you’re having a better time. I told you you’d end up loving Colombia. It will only get better from here!! Keep dancing, drinking, and having a great time!

  11. I am so happy that you danced your funk away! Keep dancing girl, like nobodies watching

  12. ann wellwood says:

    Hey,so glad your mood has changed!There are so many more good times ahead!Keep going forward with your dream.When you are happy…we are happy!!!Keep on dancin!!!!

  13. Dancing is so incredibly important to the Mexican American heritage… seeing as I married a man with beautiful blue eyes – he hates dancing. I’m hoping our time in Central/South America will loosen him up a bit. This place looks amazing!

  14. Caz Makepeace says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun. There’s no better way to shake the blues away

  15. Matt | YearAroundTheWorld says:

    I’m glad you’re good at it. I took free lessons in Mexico, and think I’m a bit of a stiff dancer. Looking forward to some more practice when I get to Colombia!

  16. Aguardiente. Hmm, I’m going to have to try this.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Just make sure you also drink a lot of water, it packs a punch.

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