Excess baggage

Festivals, flights and fabulous fares

EASYJET ISN’T CONTENT with its already sprawling empire of flights, car hire and internet cafes, so it has now joined forces with ski resort experts, Chaletfinder. The partnership has resulted in an online ski information web-page, filled with snow reports, accommodation options, and, of course, details of Easyjet's flights to Geneva, Zurich and Nice. www.easyjet.com

RECOVERED FROM THE Edinburgh Festival yet,7 If there's a gap in your cultural life, why not head off to Belfast next month The Belfast festival features a \‘v’l(l(.‘ range of perfornnng arts, ranging from Ben Elton's Gas/mic] to music from Beth Orton, and stand- up from Ross Noble and Ed Byrne The festival has additionally embraced Spanish and Catalan themes, ‘.".'|ill several international co'itpanies appearing Be/tast Festhalflt Queens, 27 Oct 72 Not; 028 90 ()6 55 7/, wit/1v be/fastfestim/ c om

GLASGOW AND EDINBURGH will benefit from Go's expansion of its services from both cities to London Stanstead. The low cost airline has flights up to eight times daily from the capital and from 1 November will operate up to four daily flights from Glasgow. Flights cost from £48 return inc taxes. www.go-fly.com or call 0845 60 54321 for details.

Get active via www.wannabethere.com

THE HIGHLANDS HAVE had something of a irtarketéng makeover, thanks to via:tirabethere coin Aii'ied at

l6 35 year oIci tra'~.ce:|c-rs, the site is built (il'()ll."(l i ve key themes adventure d.sco‘.iery, partynrg, romance and super deals ‘.'.Iill details of accommodation and activities

THE RIO CARNIVAL is one of the world's biggest parties if you fancy joining in, STA Travel currently has a special offer available to students and those under 26. Direct flights from the UK are available from £438 plus taxes, and the carnival runs from 23—27 Feb 2001. Call 0207 361 6144 or log on to www.5tatravel.co.uk for more details.

THE DOME l8 Just one of lo'rcion's nev. attrac tions to come under the critical eye of The list next issue If you've got air opinion you ‘.'.'(Il‘l to share about the Dome, the londo'i E/e or the Tate l‘/l()(l(‘ll‘., email us ()I‘ (‘(lll()."@ll‘sl co uk

SALSA DANCE HOLIDAY Those who go, go

It’s 11.30am and Mitchi is calling the salsa shots. So far in just over a week we've learnt seven different moves, fun hops, skips, jumps and turns. Appropriately we're bopping to one of Cuba's most popular groups, Los Van Van (Those Who Go, Go!) a track all about dancing, about how a woman gives over her older man for a younger version. After a short break to down plenty of water, we partner up one-to-one with our teachers, members of Cutumba, one of Cuba's premier dance groups. We've been in the cool of the atmospheric Teatro Oriente in downtown Santiago de Cuba since 10am. First we had an hour of sensual son, the grandaddy of salsa. Soon we’ll move onto rueda, the wheel, when everyone dances in a circle, switching partners with special twirls and moves depending on the call given by Sergio who is leading.

While you can learn anywhere from Livingston to Portobello, there can be nowhere better than to travel to the place where son first emerged and still thrives, to Santiago de Cuba, at the eastern end of this beautifully unspoilt island. Santiago is the crucible of Cuban history: here, in the Sierra Maestra mountains national poet Jose Marti led the struggle for independence from Spain; later Fidel, Che and the guerilleros fought for the 1959 Revolution.

Caledonia Languages organises its home-stay accommodation with local families in the beautifully named neighbourhood of Sueno (Dreams). My room is basic but large, with access to the roof and the food is tasty. It's just around the corner from a hotel with a pool, superb for cooling off after a morning dancing, sitting in the tropical shade over a light lunch with a local band playing. Then a wee siesta before a Spanish class at 5pm: you’ve got to get some beauty sleep as

A holiday off the beaten track

MUSIC HOLIDAY Drumming in Brazil

English, Welsh and Germans \‘VIlil a range of musical experience

Hf“ .- . V If III in 5 a 4" .w .>. x - ." 'o ;‘§i‘i‘:h _ we? W... . L-n‘ " .

Havana is glamorous in a faded kind of way

Santiago, which can appear time-warp sleepy in the day time, has a vibrant night-life. It gets going around 10—11pm, there’s about seven places to drop in on, and it continues until dawn if you are up for it. Certainly it's the way to perfect what you learn in the daytime with a host of Cuban dancers eager to show you how. . . (Jan Fairley)

Next dance holidays

Cuban Salsa Two nights in Havana and twelve nights in Santiago de Cuba: 3~-18 Nov 2000, 9—24 Feb and 6 21 Apr 2001.

Spanish and Salsa in Malaga 2001 Two-week holiday programmes starting on: 8 Jan, 26 Feb, 12 Mar,41un,24 Sep, 8 Oct 2001.

Spanish and Sevillanas in Malaga 22 Jan, 12 Feb, 26 Mar, 18 Jun, 10 Sep, 22 Oct 2001.

Spanish and Tango in Argentina in Mar 2001 Details forthcoming Oct 2000.

Ca/edonia Languages Abroad, The Clock/muse, Bonni'ngton Mill, 72 New/raven Road, Edinburgh EH6 506, 0737 627 7727/2, www. c'a/edonia/aiiguages. co. uk

an ideal atmosphere for learning and no one puts pressure on me or my fellow sambistas.

After the workshops, we head to the heart of Salvador to soak up the culture of a city in the throes of carnival preparations. We see some of the famous samba batterias playing live and, better still, chance upon samba legends Olodum and then Dicla rehearsmg on the street, charging the atirrosphere and blowing everyone away

On another occasion, we catch a religious festival movmg through the city With bands and dancers performing along the crowded

Iai'rive guite unprepared for the streets Later, we sit in on a

Bra/ii is the heart and soul of

beauty of Imbassai and its deserted

fascinating canclomble religious

samba music, so when I got an oppoitunity to 1cm: an eleven-clay residenturl percussion \.'.’()Ii<Sil()l) there, it “\.".ould".'e been rude to refuse The \.'.'orksl:op takes place Ill lii‘bassa., a small settlement BOL'in north of Salvador, \".llll acclaanecl Ba/IEIan musician Duclu lzicci and his \.'.ife Krista l\.vent\ people take part, a mix of Scots,

\.\.'llll(‘ sandy beaches, even if the tranquillity is blasted away the moment the \‘vorkshop begins The pace is laid back, the emphasis being not only on technique and learning, but also on enjoyment and we spend many a break la/ing oi‘. the beach, S\.‘.’llltllllll(] Ill the sea and relaxing in hammocks The \'.eathei', place and people create

ceremony, lasting long into the night It feels great to be part of a culture alive and positively crackling \Vith excitement, especially just before carnival when the city is at it's most extravagant and colourful. (lane llamiltom

B/‘a/i/ 2001 With Dudu TL/((‘/ in lmbassai, contact One l/oic e Music on 016/ 226 3587.

21 Sen 5 Oct 2000 THE UST 115