Is this a salsa course? I had the feeling that the black guy was the instructor and the other people passing drop-in learners. A bunch of other people were sitting down nearby. Were they waiting for their turn or just taking a rest from a day's hard touristing? Or were they just exuberant young people of today spontaneously breaking out in dance?
This and many other things will be made clear when I can speak Spanish fluently.
"Everybody", for example people who don't speak a word of Spanish, keep telling me how easy Spanish is. This is like learning Cantonese but in reverse! When I lived in Hong Kong, few days went by without someone, Cantonese speaker or not, telling me "Cantonese is very difficult", with I don't know how many hong Kong people helpfully adding "... it's too difficult for you."
This they would often tell me after or in the middle of a long conversation - in Cantonese. It was just something they did, because I'm white and everybody knows it's impossible for us to learn Cantonese. Other Asians or Asian-looking people, on the other hand, should be fluent pretty much by the time they touch down in Hong Kong for the first time.
I've asked countless Hong Kong people (in Cantonese) why this would be so, and most of them looked at me as if I was an idiot. "Because you don't have Chinese blood - hello?"
Right. But now I feel this strange pressure to be fluent in Spanish already, because "it's so easy". Well, I don't think so! It's got verb declensions! Plural! Past participles! Genders, and genders in adjectives! The opposite of easy, paint-by-numbers Cantonese.
Actually, I don't think any languages are difficult OR easy. It's all about expectations. Here, locals expect foreigners to learn the language fast, and so they do.
In Hong Kong, no one expected me to speak the language and kept insisting I couldn't learn it for genetic reasons, even after I had clearly learnt it.
But of course I don't want to be the only foreign idiot in town who can't ask people why they are doing salsa in the shadow of the cathedral and what I'll have to do to join, so I've found a new language exchange guy by the name of Rafael Angel (!). I'm damned if I'm paying for lessons for something that is as natural as breathing. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Meanwhile: Learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian! It's only a Skype-click away.
0的語言好容易學 - di yu yin hou yongyi hok - languages are easy to learn