The last time I was in Bogotá, I was luckily enough to befriend quite a few Colombians. Thankfully, I kept in touch with a few of them over these past few years. After being here for a few weeks, I was finally able to get together with one of my old friends.
We started out at a little bar right around the corner from where I’m living. She brought one of her friends, and of course, I brought my “entourage.” Yes, I’m that awesome. She spoke close to no English, which meant I could practice saying taco and enchilada. But see, that wasn’t the best part. She thought I spoke decent Spanish due to my writing skills in our chats. What she didn’t know, I utilize freetranslation.com continuously. The joke was on her…
I consider myself a pretty big dork. Because of this, I enjoy researching various things. That night, I decide to research a new drink called a Cerveza Michelada. By the way… cerveza translates to beer for those who are too stupid to realize. The Michelada is a beer in a salted glass with a lime, something that is really popular in Mexican restaurants in the states. It pairs quite wonderfully with a local Colombian brew, and I have a feeling this will be my new drink of choice. That is, until I start researching other drinks.
After a few hours, we wanted a change of scenery. By this time, there were probably twelve people with us, so we decided to relocate to the Beer Store. Think more of a liquor store… but I like the name Beer Store even more. This is truly a great concept. Have a liquor store, put on some music, and offer a place to sit down. It’s cheap for people to drink at, plus, it increases the sales at the store. This concept seriously needs to catch on back in the states.
It was starting to get late, and the crowd started to dwindle. But see, my Colombian friends and I were full of energy. We went off to seek out one more place, and eventually found a little hole-in-the-wall bar with some music blasting. As we entered, we felt a great sense of energy and enthusiasm with people of all ages dancing and moving to the music. Then I realized something… I was expected to dance.
I keep a list of things I’m horrible at. Recently, I looked at it and realized 285 things was not enough. Thus, I decided it was time to add one more… dancing. Considering this is more of a recent addition, I was not looking forward to showing off my moves. For some reason, dances such as “the sprinkler” and the “Macarena” are not appreciated here. They believe in artistic expressions such as “salsa” and “cha-cha.”
Since I was with two girls, I was expected to dance on every song. Remember, I suck. Honestly, my dancing might even be worse than my Spanish… and that’s saying a lot. As I “took to the stage,” I tried to revive my memory of the one salsa lesson I took in college. I truly hated that experience, and only took it because I was orced to by a friend. But, at that moment in Bogotá, I was glad I went through that experience.
“Left forward, right back, shake hips… left forward, right back, shake hips” is what I kept repeating to myself. Turns out, my rigid motion was not cutting it. The girls were desperately trying to teach me different moves, but of course, failure quickly followed.
Finally, around three in the morning, the lights came on. Instead of being “saved by the bell,” I was “saved by the lights.” One night, I might actually learn how to dance. But it definitely was not that night.