Visiting Cochabamba in 1993 was the best thing I could have done (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and it gave me the chance to spend a lot of time with my two brothers in a different way than we did at home in the USA. But more than just having a wonderful time, my MS went into remission the moment we arrived at Cochabamba's airport and this was a miracle in itself.
|Picture I took of Cochabamba in June, 1993|
Until that point I wasn't too keen on Bolivian music, mostly because the only time I had heard this type of music had been from hearing old records my parents had and they were not the best quality, so this is what I was expecting to hear. Wow, was I ever wrong! This peña featured four groups but the only one that stood out to me was the second one, Fortaleza. I fell in love with the music in an instant and returned the following day, with my brothers, for the last day of the peña. We were fortunate enough to meet that particular group, sat together and shared some drinks and laughs once their "set" was over and became very good friends.
|Fortaleza performing, June 26, 1993|
I'm not sure how to post a video to my blog, but I encourage everyone to go to youtube and watch this vid! Yes, it's a very simple video but the song is incredibly beautiful as it's my absolute favorite and the one that began my love affair with Bolivian music.
Then we were invited by one of the members of Fortaleza to the small village of Anzaldo, a few hours away, for a fiesta one weekend. Neither of my brothers chose to go but I jumped at the chance to spend time with my new friends, assuming that the fiesta (which means party) was for one evening. Little did I know it would last from Saturday morning all the way through Monday afternoon! Had I known how long it would last I probably would not have gone, but I would have missed out on one of the most memorable weekends of my life.
|A breakfast serenade with Boris, Nelson and Ramiro. July 1993|
1993 was a fantastic time in Cochabamba for me. It was spent mostly with friends I made while there but I did have time with family, too. The aunts, uncles and countless cousins we have there bring a smile to my face just to remember the moments we were together. But this vacation wasn't mine alone.. it was one I shared with my brothers but the next time I was there, in 1996, ahh, THAT one was all about me.
|Younger brother Gonzalo, cousin Claudia and older brother Fernando. June 1993|