Adventures in Salsaland

As a way of continuing to find a new balance with social life, family, community and fitness, I decided to Google salsa dance in Mayaguez. I didn’t come up with any definite answers but a guy we met on the beach a few weeks ago told me about salsa dancing in the nearby town of San German. I finally got there tonight. As Trevor was rocking our daughter to sleep I quickly got ready and headed out the door.I had no idea what the bar was like.  I wanted wear pockets so I could keep my key and $$ on me at all times. And as I drove the 25 minutes there I remembered that girls should not leave their drink unattended. You know, rape drugs and stuff like that. Noted.

This is my actually when I got home and took off my lipstick already  haha

This is me actually when I got home and took off my lipstick already haha

My trusty GPS took me right to where their Facebook address said. I passed some (wild or not so wild I really can’t tell) horses in the road and one stray dog on my route there. I arrived at the address at about 9:30. The dancing was supposed to start at nine but I figured getting late was okay because, well it’s Puerto Rico. There was no bar there. There was no business there. There’s a police station and some very dark apartmenst.

What did we do before iPhones? I quickly got online and found another website that had the correct address. I plugged it in. I was only five minutes away! Awesome.
I drove straight over there and was excited to hear salsa music coming from the bar. But when I slowly cruised by casing the joint I saw about three guys and they were standing at the bar. No dancing. Okay well maybe I was there too early it was only about 9:30 after all. I filled up my gas tank at the gas station next door and cruised down by the bar again. One more guy was sitting outside smoking. humph.

The Bullpen Sport Bar view from the gas station

The Bullpen Sport Bar view from the gas station

I’ve been swing dancing for nearly 15 years. In Madison I was a big fish in a very little pond. I would walk into the dance confident, a little bit cocky, and like I owned the joint. I was surrounded by friends, I knew what to expect and honestly it’s where I flourished the most. Dancing comes pretty naturally to me. It’s one of the few things that does. So I was expecting to go out salsa dancing, walk into a busy room of salsa dancers, grab the best dancer there and show my stuff. Heck I can think I can fake tango reasonably well. I could fake salsa. Although it had been about 13 years since I went out salsa dancing ha ha

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Blurry pic of Trevor and I during our “goodbye” swing dance in Madison last August

I know what it’s like to be a newbie on the scene because, sadly enough, sometimes I didn’t treat newbies so well on our swing scene in Madison. When I went out dancing I wanted to hang out with my friends. If I was only there for a limited amount of time I wanted to make sure that my dances counted. And were fun. Sometimes dancing with a newbie can be very rewarding if they’re an out-of-town dancer who already knows how to dance. When I taught a lot of dance lessons, I would dance with more beginners because how else are they supposed to get better? Quite frankly though I will admit, sometimes I was a Lindy snob. Going into a new salsa scene I fully expected to be snubbed. So I was ready to get my cocky game on and prove my worth. So when I saw an empty bar I kind of felt deflated. That means I would just have to go in with a bunch of guys trying to speak Spanish and buy a drink which I really didn’t want to drink alcohol. I drove myself there and I’m such a lightweight these days I don’t want to overdo it. My forte is in dancing not drinking or speaking Spanish…

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my view for a half hour

So I did what any adventurous girl would do. I stayed in my car and drove around until I saw more people arrive. Ha ha. During my driving I saw another stray dog. I sat at the gas station for a while. At around 10:22 I saw people actually dancing! I parked in the little lot, texted Trevor, and headed in.

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waiting.

But when I got inside nobody was dancing. doh! I ordered the Sangriiia (Sangria in a juice box. yeah!) even though I really didn’t want to drink alcohol. I just sipped it one or two sips. Looking kind of out of place (though everyone seemed friendly enough) the one late 20-something guy on the dance floor motioned to me to come on over. I immediately left my drink unattended and ran towards him.

Turns out that he’s there every Tuesday to give free salsa dancing lessons. Just my luck! Instead of trying to show off with my half assed salsaing I got a one hour and 10 minute free salsa dance private lesson. In English. His name was Alvin. And he was a pretty good teacher. I think he was impressed with my skills though little bit of my swing dancing corrupted my salsa dancing. We had fun and he was in full teacher mode. But I think he was having fun too. I got the lowdown on some more dancing sites in my town and Rincon. He said he is at the Bullpen Bar every Tuesday night. I told him I’d be back in a couple weeks.

I headed home, saw the third stray dog of the night, and ran over a chicken (no not a live one. One that had already been rotisseried. Why was that in the road?)

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3 Responses to Adventures in Salsaland

  1. Maria says:

    Hi there, first let me say that you are pretty darned brave going there and not knowing anyone and not really knowing Spanish that much. I don’t know if I would’ve done it. I have done it in NYC, going to a club alone with my money for drinks and stuff and I had a blast. I danced all night and even met a guy (not interested, I’m married) but it was fun.

    I have heard of the hotel in the old Ramey Base( it’s the Courtyard Marriott) it is the old Base hospital where my son was born. They have a casino and I believe dancing on Friday and Saturdays. We haven’t been there yet but that is what I was told.

    My brother in law lives in San German and I will ask him what places are there to go dancing and maybe he knows of some in Mayaguez. I will let you know. I also love to dance Salsa and once we get better settled, we are planning a Housewarming party and there will be plenty of Salsa Dancing and some great food. I will keep you posted. There was something on Facebook that I believe is my mantra- “My kitchen is for Salsa Dancing”.

    Keep dancing!!!

  2. Jamie says:

    I have to admit…..that was pretty gutsy to go alone like that, and that’s coming from someone who’s gone out alone many a time in an adventurous way 🙂
    I’m glad you met the salsa instructor and got the 411. 🙂

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