Have I mentioned that Mary Jo likes to dance? I’m sorry……loves. She loves and adores it, much like I love and adore, say, tacos. That level of loyalty. She’s already taken a series of salsa lessons here in Medellin. I knew it would only be a day or two before she’d drag me to the dance floor with her, and it is such an fundamental part of the culture here, so I knew I had to try it. It isn’t that I don’t like to dance, but my preferred style has nothing to do with timing, or steps, or a partner, for that matter. I love the power of music and what it can do for people. And I think dancing is a natural and necessary form of human expression. My dad is an excellent dancer, so maybe a part of my appreciation for it comes from him.
We spent last night in El Centro, a super authentic and arty part of Medellin. Sam took us to a block crowded with locals and Colombian street food. Mary Jo and I shared patacones: a plantain flattened to the size of a huge pancake and fried crisp, topped with a salsa of shredded chicken, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Hot damn, it was my kind of eating.
We hopped around to a few different bars before our final stop at a place with live salsa music. I didn’t think I would dance, but once I started, I couldn’t get enough. There was a moment when I settled into the music and let myself be led by Gabriel (he’s the guy above in the middle), when I let go of any sort of control and when I could feel a part of me melting away, a stiffness that I’ve been carrying around for a really, really long time. Maybe it was music, the energy of the room, the fact that I am elated to be in an entirely new setting with one of my greatest friends, and I’m quite certain it had something to do with the amount of aguardiente we consumed earlier in the evening. I was afraid. But I did it anyway. And I’m proud of that.