Ella lo que quiere es Salsa!

Let’s talk Salsa in Colombia. Salsa is one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Colombia. A mi me encanta la salsa but unfortunately is it my weakest area when it comes to dance. Only because I am not great at it does not stop me from trying to dance it anywhere and everywhere I go. I always learn a thing or two from a new dance partner. Well here I am in Cartagena thinking, “oh! I know the basics…I’ll be okay. Right?” Wrong! Salsa en Colombia is on another level. We got most of our Salsa dancing on at “Cafe Havana,” located in Getsamani. We loved that place so much that we moved hostels to be closer to it. There was a live band every night that we went on the weekend. The cover to get in was 15,000 COP (~$5 USD) which is actually considered expensive to someone that lives in Cartagena. After learning about the expensive part it explained why the club was made up of an older bougie crowd. At Havana I got my first glimpse of Cali style Salsa. It had me so dumbfounded that I sat down at the bar and observed how people danced it for almost an hour. After a few daiquiris I asked one of the girls to teach me. She was a great instructor but I was a horrible student. I could not get the double- front- back step down. She taught me other dance moves  and commented that I was really good but I think she was just being nice. Nonetheless the nights spent at “Cafe Havana” were very memorable. The club is dimly lit, decorated with pictures of Cuban Salsa legends, a big bar, and a small stage up front where the Salsa bands play. Not once was I disappointed by the live music!

salsa 2

Other Salsa clubs we visited were “Quiebra Canto” and “Donde Fidel.” Both locations were also very unique. Quiebra Canto had a mixed crowd. It was a very colorful location, with cool decorative art, and some tasty mojitos. The club was made up of two dance floors and the best part were the balconies. My friends and I danced all night on the small balconies with the clock tower view in front of us.

Source: El Universal

Source: El Universal

“Donde Fidel” is located within the walled city. Right by the clock tower entrance. This salsa club was recommended to us by all the locals and I could see why. Salsa clasica clasica clasica! Como dicen en Colombia, un lugar bacano! The crowd at this place was a lot older but everyone there had clean dancing skills. The place is so far from a being a hip bar that the lights are all on. Not that there is anything wrong with a place not being new and hip. You could really tell that “Donde Fidel” is highly appreciated and loved by the locals. There are dozens and dozens of photos of the famous salseros that have visited the bar.

donde fidel

I don’t have video of myself dancing Cali style Salsa (thankfully) but here is a good clip of an awesome couple on YouTube. Maybe one day I will get it down.

Cafe Havana – Esquina, Cra. 10, Cartagena, Getsemaní, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.

Quiebra Canto – Carrera 5, No.17- 76, Cartagena, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.

Donde Fidel – Cra. 4, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia – In between De los Coches Square and Aduana Square – Open 24 hrs? haha!

No Stress

I forgot a great techno song that they play here all the time. Laurent Wolf is French but he sings in English, like many French artists. Enjoy…. especially if you are really stressed out (for all of my Michiganders going through midterms right now):

Laurent Wolf – No Stress

Musique Populaire

Following is a list of recommended music that was popular during my study abroad time 208-2009:

Zaho – La Roue Tourne (which means “the road changes”)

I like to think of this artist at the Alicia Keys in French, she has some smooth RnB. She was born in Algeria and now lives in Montreal, Canada. My favorite part of the song is at about 1 minute.

Lea Castel – Presse De Vivre (which translates into “pressed to live”)

Stanislas – La Belle de Mai (the beauty of May)

This is a very poetic and beautiful song. Gives me goosebumps, so please listen.

Gregoire – Toi + Moi (you plus me)

I find this one very fun and like taking a little skip with your boo through the park on a sunny day.

Kylian Mash & Laurent Konrad – C’est beau la bourgeoisie (the high-class is beautiful)

I DO NOT recommend this for everyone. Techno is REALLY big here, so for those of you who like going to the club and dancing this is for you. I would compare this to the likes of Lady Gaga. Let’s Dance.

How I relate to Brigitte Bardot…



-Mambo scene from Et Dieu…Crea la Femme

(Apart from portraying a promiscuous wife in the movie, being slapped by her husband in the clip, and being quite racist in real life…)

You see the Cuban Mambo (or Latin) musicians playing for Brigitte, a French character, to dance to.

It is inverted for me. This next year, my life in France symbolizes my dance floor, the constant yet incomprehensible French spoken around me will represent the music played for me, and this time I (the Latina) will be enticed to proceed no matter what tries to intrude.