Friday, November 13, 2009


This past Wednesday night was definitely one to put in the books of my life here in Valenciennes. In an effort to stay fit and active while also trying new things while living abroad, Chelsea and I decided to partake in the weekly Salsa dance class at the Cuba bar here in town. It was 5€ and then you could stay after for the DJ set, so it seemed like a pretty good deal.

Cuba bar is located just across the street from the Valenciennes train station and is apparently the only real bar/nightclub in town. It is the place to go in Valenciennes. If you ever go/have ever been/or ever hear anything else about Cuba bar, you will realize that this last statement is probably the saddest thing you will ever hear in the world.

Cuba bar is tastefully decorated all in red with Che Guevara paraphernalia splashed on the walls. It has no real tequila (we asked the bartender for Patrón, but he had to go in the back to dust off a bottle of Jose Cuervo to even get anywhere close to that). They didn't even really know what a "shot" was and instead made us Tequila Sunrises which were a pathetic excuse for a cocktail (pretty much a fruity smoothie with apparently some alcohol in it and a fake, candied strawberry with fake, hardened whipped cream on top). The crowd wasn't the best either. It was rather sparce and all the men seemed to be no more than 5' 5" while the women were, well, rather greasy.

Anyways, the salsa instruction started and it was actually rather fun. I love to dance and the music definitely picked things up a bit. Until it came time to dance "en couple." Well, I figured that since Chelsea and I had come together, we were "en couple," but apprently "on ne peut pas faire ca en France," the instructor said (we do not do that in France). There was a moment of confusion, it was a little dark and the music was loud and I could not quite understand the French of our teacher in his thick Northern accent, so when he extended his hand to me to invite me to dance with him I just thought, "ok, pourquoi pas?"

I approach my partner glancing over my shoulder to be sure that Chelsea has been paired up as well, and oh yes, you betcha she has. She has Michel. The 4 foot mini-man dressed in a blue-checked shirt. I cannot help it but burst out laughing. He literally comes up to her boobs and is half her size. This is our life in Valenciennes. She sneers at me and mouths a big "fuck you," but what can I do? So, I just apologetically laugh again and continue dancing with Mr. Salsa dance teacher, who spins me around all night. It was a pretty good time.

Michel turns out to be flaming gay and an incredible dancer. Chelsea gets to kiss a French guy (not Michel, obviously), and I end up having to foot the bill of our overpriced, kitchy cocktails.

Yet another adventure in Valenciennes and more proof that this town will never cease to amuse me. Stay tuned for many more.

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