Buying what you need to sew a dress:

In Denver, you might drive in your car somewhere like a Joanne’s Fabric store, Walmart, etc.
In Cochabamba, you’d catch a bus or a taxi from the nearby plaza a couple of blocks from home.  You’d ride from your suburb of “Cala Cala” down the “avenida” into downtown, then you’d walk A LOT and for A LONG TIME as you would visit the fabric store, the zipper store, the button store, the thread store…it could possibly take all day!

Grocery store shopping:

In Denver, you might drive in your car to your local King Sooper or Safeway store.
In Cochabamba, you’d again, go to the plaza, catch a taxi or a bus, head down the avenida into downtown and visit the vegetable market, the meat market (pictured below) where you would get to know the vendors well to be assured of the freshest cuts of meat..btw, a very smelly place to shop!…, and a few other import shops where you might be lucky enough to buy Cornflakes Cereal!  Milk was delivered from Pil Dairy in glass bottles with a huge clump of cream on top that you’d fight with your siblings over so you could have it splash onto your Cornflakes, sprinkle sugar over and enjoy!  Bread you bought at the local Kiosko shop just a half a block away.  You never ate day old bread, but would go every morning and get fresh bread for the day in loafs, but also in “pansitos” which were the very best!

Watching your favorite TV Shows:

In Denver, you might watch Starsky and Hutch, The Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeannie, Big Valley, Mash, etc. on at least 4 channels.  People really with it might have had a brand new VCR to record shows on!

In Cochabamba, you didn’t get televesion even until the late 70’s early 80’s.  There were only about 2 channels and most of the programming was an odd assortment of spanish shows like El Chapulin Colorado, El Chavo Del Ocho, or Spanish Novelas (soap operas).  Several shows from the US began showing up with dubbed over in Spanish voices…like Fantasy Island, Dallas, and a few others.  Fantasy Island made me laugh the most because Tatu’s Spanish voice was the deepest bass voice you’ve ever heard!  “El Avion!, El Avion!” he’d boom into Spanish homes everywhere.  Hmmm…..  If the government was being overthrown for the “jillionth” time, all programming was taken over by the political party with the most power and they blasted their political propaganda day and night.  Those were fun times!

Other odd assorted things that were different in Cochabamba

* The “Fish Lady” would come around selling the fresh catch of the day – you’d smell her coming before you saw her – she’d spread out her colorful shawl, sprawl out the fish on it and weigh them for you, then she’d scale and gut them.  It was fascinating for a little kid to watch!

* The “Knife Sharpener” man would make his rounds – you’d hear him before you’d see him.  He’d have a distinct whistle that he’d blow as he rode up on his bike.  He’d sharpen knives, scissors, whatever. The grind of metal on metal was always too much for me, I would always go inside.

* Saturday nights you didn’t hang out at the mall or movie theatres, but you might take a walk with your friends a few blocks down to Avenida America where the “anticucho” grillers were (thinly cut cow heart shishkebobs..with little potatoes on top).  Yum!  They were the best.

There are thousands of other things, but this post is probably making you fall asleep now it’s so long, so I’ll be done for now.

P.S.  Day 5 now, iPodless. 😦

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About cakboliv

Born in Cochabamba, Bolivia to wonderful missionary parents, Howard and Maxine Morarie. Grew up in Bolivia, both in a remote jungle village

5 responses »

  1. ale says:

    well there are somehtings taht are true, but I must ask… which part of cochabamba are you refering to??, I think you are talking about a poor side of cochabamba, I have lived my hole life there and it isnt as bad as you describe it, the tvs were before you say and there were VCRs already, the woman who sold fish…. What?? I have never seen such a thing! and, you go everywhere by car.

    Saturday night….! come on! there are so many things to do!, obviously you cant go to the mall, but you can hang out with friends, go to bars, disco, movie theater which by the way is pretty big (10 rooms, one with 3D) and so on.

    So, the only thing I say, is that you might be right in everything you wrote but you should probably write that its no longer like that.
    Please write something that doesnt make cochabamba look so bad…

    • cakboliv says:

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right. Cochabamba is definitely not the same as it was when I was growing up there in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s! I am hoping to return and see all the changes, but these are memories from a little girl’s perspective from a very long time ago. 🙂 The memories are not meant to paint a bad picture at all, just memories of my childhood. Cochabamba is the city of my birth and my heart and I long to return to see all the changes for myself. As for the night life, as a little kid I never got out much to the places you describe. 🙂 Feel free to share more about your experience in Cochabamba…I’d love to hear more.

  2. ale says:

    well then thank you, I think I got it all wrong.
    I must say that Cochabamba, and Bolivia in general, is changed a lot.
    Now a days we have a lot things, yes, we must change a lot, and we are still a poor country, but it is nice. The weather, all the green parts… i have been to USA i have lived there for 6 months, in baltimore, denver, new mexico, virginia, washington, annapolis and much more, i have also lived in germany, and i must say that cochabamba is nothing comapared to europe or so! obviously… but it has somethings I wouldn change of it…
    wether we like it or not, we must admit that all the mountains and the landscapes are amazingly beautiful!
    They are magical!
    Hope you can come and see all the changes by your selfe

  3. ale says:

    well I really do hope you have a great time!
    Enjoy every day!
    Don’t forget to eat anticuchos, saltenias, bunuelos and all the things!!
    GOOD LUCK!

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