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Friendship in Bolivia

Growing up I have had many friends; I cannot recall the names of all of them, but at least I will name some of them in order to follow the story thoroughly. During my elementary school age, I played soccer, marvels, spinning top, hide and seek, and tire race (roll down bike tires at very high speed) with my neighborhood friends. In middle school, my classmates and I played fuzzball after classes for long hours, which got me in trouble with my mother many times. Gonzalo was my close friend at that time; we used to go to folk music festivals during the week, and some parties and movies on weekends. In high school my classmates and I played soccer almost every afternoon, we hiked twenty miles to a hot spring swimming pools on weekends, played basketball at the school regularly, and very seldom we made parties. In college was the peak of my enjoyment with friends; during that time I had friends for specialties; friends to study, crashed weddings, dance at the Disco, chased girls, listen to classic rock, talk about economics and current issues, meditate, and had fun at work (Radio Station F.M).

At my work in a radio station, I made a lot of friends (coworkers and the audience); my audience came to see my show of classic rock every night, I made them participate in the show; they loved that!

With my yoga-friends I went on Sundays to the countryside to meditate for hours. And every Thursday evening we shared a vegetarian meal at the house of one of us (we took turns). It was very relaxing to meditate and have a meal afterwards.

With my dance-friends (around 12 persons) before going to dance at the Disco on Saturdays night, we got together in an ice cream shop around 8:30 pm, then we went to a friend’s pub (‘El tio’) until 11:30 pm, and finally to the Disco until 6:30 am of the next day (Sunday). Our favorite discotheque was called Harlequin; the place was huge with very comfortable sofa style seats and nice and spacious tables. The Disco had a very nice and big dance floor, the lights and fog were fantastic, and it had the best music and disc jockeys around. The owner and the staff were our friends also, so we were like family there. Usually we asked for entire bottles of whisky, rum, and singani (Bolivian drink made of grapes), a big container of ice, and many bottles of soda (Coca Cola, Sprite, and orange juice).

With my friend Pythagoras (his nickname) I got together some Saturdays afternoon to chase girls and flirt with them. We walked for the flat and dusty streets of downtown Cochabamba and sometimes we spend hours at the main plaza making jokes and laughing; talking in ‘our’ own language that nobody understood.

With my friend Neil some Saturdays night we crashed weddings; we got dressed formally with expensive perfume, shoes, and suits. Our modus operandi was first to approach the wait staff tipping them handsomely; so, when we need more drinks, cake or food, we just called them. We were the best served (after the groom and bride of course), we danced, ate, and met new people.

With my friend Firmo I talked about advertising and psychology (he worked in the advertising department of a radio station and was a psychology student). We got together with our girlfriends once in a while to make parties, drink wine, cook, and philosophize about life.

In Germany I developed a close friendship with more than a dozen Germans; I met Brigitte, my fiancée, the Kaisers (a very neat family), Ursula, Stephen, and Stefanie to practice German. With Brigitte I traveled around Germany, Europe, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and Maldives Islands. In my German Institute I met Silvia, a Bolivian-German girl; she was my emotional support after Brigitte passed away in a car accident.

Here in the U.S. I met a lot of interesting people; in Illinois I met Suzie with whom I explored the state of Illinois every summer. In Campaign, Illinois I also met Jacob, a student of the University of Illinois, who taught me to cook Indian food (he was Indian); we used to cook a lot for the parties that we organized. I recall one Halloween party especially, we decorate somberly a XIX century house where I lived; every guy came with slave costumes and the girls with masters costumes (they supposed to be our masters), a blues band played great music at the first floor, and at the fourth floor the house had a deck, every often we went there to enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of the sky and stars.

Currently in Oregon I have friends with whom I explore the state almost every weekend; we go almost everywhere: beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. So far my favorite places in the Northwest coast are: Mount Hood, Cannon Beach, Crater Lake, and Depoe Bay. I make time also to enjoy classical music and many other musical events at the Portland Center at the Performing Arts.

Every one of my friends that I met is unique; it has been very interesting to share life with each of them.

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