View from the hill!

View from the hill!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

feliz fiesta de fin de año

Last night was the first Wednesday in January, do you know what that means? The first Wednesday night Salsa night of the year. According to my couch surfing host, Pablo, in order to start the new year off on the "right" foot we had to move our feet to the Salsa rhythm!

I arrived in the Quito airport at 1:45 pm and Pablo was there waiting for me, along with a friend from NYC who works for a volunteer organization here in Ecuador called ProEcuador. She was at the airport picking up Michael (who just so happened to be sitting next to me on the flight). Michael is a NYU student here doing volunteer work for 2 weeks during his break. After an adventurous ride through Quito to the bus stop where we would leave Kate and Michael we arrived at Pablo's casa. A nice 2 bedroom apartment right in the center of New Town, I was excited to learn that I would have a room to myself rather than the couch!

After a much needed nap Pablo's friends started arriving for the fiesta. As soon as I woke up I started feeling the affects of the high altitude (Quito is almost 10,000 feet above sea level) and I knew I needed to drink lots of water. Snacks and rum and coke (alternating with a glass of water between each drink) was a great way to get ready for a full night of dancing.

The bustling streets of New Town are just a few footsteps away from Pablo's door. Since he is a regular at this particular salsa club (Aguijon) we were able to skip the line and get right to the dance floor. I really felt like I had walked straight onto a movie scene...Dirty Dancing Havana Nights possibly...

The dancing was insane and a few minutes after arriving Pablo introduced me to his friend who is conveniently a salsa teacher as well. Miraculously he was able to quickly teach me a few basic moves. Each dance partner i had throughout the night would teach me a few more until i felt like an expert, although a simple glance around the room made me realize that i looked like a complete fool and was far from an expert (the fact that i was wearing jeans and tennis shoes did not help the situation! BUT, the locals insisted I did to prevent my feet from getting stomped on in my sandals!).

After 3 straight hours of salsa we moved on to an American bar across the street called Bungalow. Here we danced to more familiar songs with a few salsa classics thrown in the mix. Everyone I met was very friendly and I could not have wished for a better welcome to South America!

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