Salsa party in Portugal

A quiet evening turns into a raucous party.

We had only moved to Portugal a couple days earlier and were anxious to make friends. A Facebook group of expats in our new town of Setubal, Portugal were scheduled to meet at a cafe/wine bar on Praca Bocage (the main square in town), so we joined them.

We made friends with people from the U.S., Canada, France, and lots of other countries. As the gathering was breaking up we started talking with a young man from Germany via Brazil. He said he was going to a party with some Brazilian friends and asked us to join him.

Dancing at Espaco 351 (photo: Brent Petersen)

Espaco 351 is a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint near the church of Santa Maria in Setubal. Sunday night the place transforms into a Brazilian salsa party. Expats from the former colony jam the space and dance to the loud band.

I bought a bucket of Sagres (Portuguese lager); 8 or 10 beers for 10 Euro. I opened one and handed it to the young lady standing next to me, opened another and handed it to her date, and then opened one for myself.

Bucket of Sagres Minis (photo: Brent Petersen)

Karen was already trying to adapt her 80s dance moves to the salsa rhythms with a lady who had appointed herself Karen’s teacher.

I sipped my beer and tapped my foot.

But it was not to be.

A lady approached me an motioned that she and I should dance. I smiled and shook my head.

As I’ve said on my podcast, the only dance I know is the pogo.

But, she wasn’t taking no for an answer. She nodded her head and put her arm around my hip and the next thing I knew we were salsa dancing.

Or, rather, she was salsa dancing and I was trying to keep up. Poorly.

After a few minutes of hapless foot shuffling, I smiled, bowed and returned to my beer. My teacher moved on and was soon lighting up the dance floor with another partner.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent