Beautiful Bolivian beginnings (Drive Day 186: Jan 1, 2004)

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It’s hard not to be optimistic on New Year’s Day in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It’s just too balmy — 66 degrees — and bountiful. Girls in their holiday best hats dot the plaza, with its palm-lined buildings and bustling market.

0101bI expect the vast potato selection and obligatory squeals of pigs but not the cornucopia of fruits and lettuces.

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Circle back to the 66 degrees though and it’s understandable; Cochabamba has one of those always spring-like climates that draw expats like Margit’s husband Don and her Brazilian son-in-law Claudio. Who sorts through fresh shrimp and beans to prepare his country’s New Year tradition: fejoida. It seems discordantly exotic, until I remember that Brazil is one of the five country that borders Bolivia.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

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