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 salsa – one 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.
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.