Salsa and Wednesday.

Alright, so I suppose that all being right and proper, I should pick up where I left off. Last night, I was tired but ready to go out and do some dancing! Nico, Leo, Kim and I went out early to find a bar. We left around 9:45 and made our way to the square celebrating the 24th of May. It was about a 45 minute walk each way plus around 15 minutes at the two bars we stopped at. The square was interesting. It has a huge archway made of marble and a large church is on the north edge of the square. On the south side is another massive cathedral. It seems that the square is a central point for trams and transport. 6 different lines converge there and it offers easy access to the Duomo.

Walking through Milan at 10-11pm at night is much friendlier than Tempe… I can assure you. Despite being colder here, there are people outside the bars and pubs talking, socializing and drinking…Beautiful culture of activity. We made our way back to Club Tropicana and I entered around 11:45.

This next part deserves a section all its own: The salsa scene here is amazing. Flat out, down right, amazing. The club itself is downstairs below a school and the open club – style dance floor had at least 100-200 people on it with another 100 or more in the wings… on a Tuesday! I met up with a colleague from work after wandering the club by myself for a bit and she graciously introduced me to her daughter and her friends from the classes. I immediately started dancing and kept dancing for the rest of the night. My colleague’s daughter is a beautiful young Italian woman with black curly hair and Mediterranean coloring. She was sweet and very well mannered – a great partner to start the night.

The club is three floors below ground. The first floor is ground level with a slope down into the coat check and cover area. There are sets of stairs which lead down into an upper level with bars – built much like VIP areas in clubs across the world. These were empty… on the final level are three bars and a huge open area roughly the size of Paragon where we dance in Tempe. At the front of this space is a stage and a DJ’s booth. Throughout the night (every hour and a half) the instructors – five males and two girls – lead the group in excercises (warm ups and choreographed dances) at breaks. The music was wonderful with 10-15 minutes of salsa, then bachata, with a 5-10 minute run of fast cha cha tossed in before the cycle repeated itself. Dancers were still going strong when I left at 2 AM. The club closes around 3-4 ish I believe. I’m still in shock that the crowd was so thick on a Tuesday. I can’t wait for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I may need to get some cheap dance shoes because with boots I need to be careful of my knee’s…but I haven’t decided yet. I will know after this weekend.

Work went well today. I got three additional assignments to work on through this week. Good chance to test my researching skills. I’ve found a little trick. Because I connect through the department of state version of IE it automatically tells the sites that it is English. If I use the .it endings for sites (such as Google) I get a completely different set of results. A wonderful revelation since as I’m learning more Italian reading these pages becomes less difficult every day. Also I’m researching local politics so using the resources which tap the .it network and not the .com/us network is also more productive. It seems self evident but I only realized it yesterday.

I had a nice talk with my mentor today and we ironed out a few more details about my work and the direction he would like to see me take. Good to have some more direction from him. Makes it easier to work down the right path.

Tonight Mimmo, Kim, Nico, Leo, and I are watching the Juventus vs. Napoli. Nico is excited since Napoli is playing. We’re all sitting around the table drinking and intently watching the game… speaking of which I’d better stop writing.

Ciao!