Claudia, our cousin in Neiva, is a baller. She is an interior designer and small landlord in town, knows everyone, does business with everyone, and loves almost all of them.
Her greeting whenever she makes a phone call:
"Con quien hablas? Soy Claudia Olave.'
And it usually gets her whatever she wants.
Anyhoo, Thursday night we went with Clau to a political rally and concert for Hernan Andrade, a friend of hers who is running for Senator of Huila, the department (they don't use states here) that Neiva is in. Andrade also happens to be the uncle of her sister-in-law, Paola. Paola is the second wife of Mauricio, Gabe's first cousin once removed. Mauricio is a very successful businessman and also happens to own several entertainment and promotion companies, so Mauricio, of course, put on the concert for Andrade. Mauricio and Paola, meanwhile, are in Boston for the year studying English while they are building a new house in Bogota.
Basically, everyone is related, everyone in the family knows each other to the 17th degree, and everyone only trusts the people they already know.
The concert had both traditional campesino music and salsa, and it was pretty amazing.
Gabe and Claudia were inspired by the music, and struck a very traditional pose.
Because Clau is VIP, of course, we sat in a special section right in front of the stage with waiters and private security. We celebrated Andrade with plantain chips and the beer of choice in Huila: Aguila
Other tables opted for bottle service. Some Johnny Walker Red, anyone?
It was a terrific way to experience the pride of Huila, and we can't wait to see how the elections turn out next week. Today, we're off to Alta Mira, another two hours south of Neiva by bus. There, Gustavo, Gabe's uncle, will meet us to take us to the family ranch, which is called Guasamilla. No idea what the internet service is like out there, so there may be a pause on the posts. See you on the other side, un poquito mas morenos!