Last night I went salsa dancing. Salsa dancing in a town that doesn’t even sell salsa dip? you ask. Yes, I went salsa dancing in Kyiv.
It didn’t really matter that I don’t dance salsa. Or dance at all really. But after a couple of beers with a new friend (he’s English), Mr Moi and I ended up at an establishment called ‘The Caribbean Club’.
And, being a democratically priced type of place, girls get in cheaper than boys. Now that’s equality!
Most restaurants, bars and clubs in Kyiv are themed, and The Caribbean Club was no exception. Protruding from the stage and hanging over the dancefloor was one of those huge, old Cuban-style cars. This was complemented by a band who played the entire back-catalogue of Buena Vista Social Club, and a few pictures of Uncle Che smiling peacefully down upon the dancers.
At first I thought the car was being offered as a prize, so out of place did it seem in a ‘dance club’*. It’s not uncommon for cars to be offered as prizes in the casinos and poker-machine bars here. Then I realised there was no gambling going on. Perhaps it’s a prize for the best dancer? But then I thought surely they couldn’t afford to give away a car per night, even it was Cuban-issue.
So through the process of elimination, I realised it was decoration. Hm. Interesting. I can imagine it gets in the way of the dancers at times.
I was surprised to find that, at The Caribbean Club, people actually know how to dance. The girls gravitate towards the fellas who can pull out the moves. And, being a student bar, there was probably even some real Cubans there!
Mr Moi, as ever, was the exception. After we got kicked off the table we were at, I badgered him to come dancing with me. When he was finally fed up with my pestering, he spotted a lonely kid from Libya, introduced himself and said, “Take my wife away and dance with her.”
After one or two songs, I realised that not being able to dance (with your husband) actually makes dancing both a little boring, and a little scary. So I escaped the dancefloor, leaving my new Libyan friend in the lurch, and went back to Mr Moi and the comfort of a glass of beer.
We made our escape from The Caribbean Club just as the band was leaving the stage and the DJ was dusting off his Christina Aguilera CDs. We didn’t want to get caught in the gyrating masses of ‘anarchic salsa’, a.k.a. dirty dancing.
And that was my night – oh, well, my two hours – at The Caribbean Club.
*It isn’t really.