Feb 23

Cali Salsa Nights

Salsa in Cali.  Photo: Esme McAvoy

Salsa in Cali. Photo: Esme McAvoy

I lifted both of Eliana’s hands up above her head and, holding them there, led her in a slow spin to her left and watched in complete awe as she effortlessly grooved to the caribbean beat, leading with every dangerous curve of her body; thighs, hips, bum, waist, and boobs all appeared to be moving of their own volition and yet blended together in an alluring orchestration that quite simply left me powerless to do anything but worship the goddess dancing in front of me.  As she came around full circle, I suddenly remember that I was meant to be dancing as well and tried to put my lanky frame back into the beat in order to match her movements for a few moments before sending her back turning the other way.  As she came back around again I pulled her in close by lifting her hands up and over my head and draping them around my neck while in the same movement dropping my hands down to her waist.  We moved in close, our bodies pressed tightly together while she continued to move her body in ways unimaginable.  I could taste the sweat on her neck and feel her fingers dig into my hair, as we rocked together down low to the floor before coming back up again for air.

The song ended, and the flushed Colombiana before me indicated that she needed to cool down.  I nodded in agreement, as I too desperately needed to cool down – in more ways than one – and so we headed for the door of the bar and outside into the cool air.

It was a Saturday night in Cali, the salsa capital of Colombia, of South America and arguably of the world.  We hadn’t been dancing much salsa tonight, but it was salsa I had to thank for meeting this lithe beauty as I had met Eliana two nights earlier at a Salsa bar.  She had been standout gorgeous in a bar filled with beautiful women, and I had somehow worked up the courage to ask her to dance.  We had got to talking afterwards, and decided to meet up the next night, and the night after that…

Now as we stood outside together and I listened to her chat animatedly about her family, I appreciated why it had taken me so long to get to Colombia.  It had taken me this long because I hadn’t just wanted to make it to Colombia,  I had wanted to make it to this Colombia: sharing a night in the company of a beautiful Colombian girl, talking about our life views in her native tongue, and holding my own whilst dancing the night away at a local bar.   To be standing here enjoying one of the best nights of my life, just for starters, I had had to cycle 13,000 kilometers, learn to speak Spanish, and learn to dance salsa.   Without any of those three, I would have never had this night.  Without the 14 months leading up to this moment, I’d more likely be getting drunk in some backpacker bar on the Caribbean coast, talking to a German girl in English and listening to her compare the Inca Trail with the Lost City Trek.  Nothing against the Germans, but I preferred to be right where I was, mesmerized by the smiling eyes and radiant beauty of a girl from Narino.

In that moment, for the first time in my life, I appreciated that not only is the journey more important than the destination, but that it is the journey that defines the destination.

My journey was over.  I had arrived.




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