So much had changed since the original incarnation of this group. When we had first met the group in its early stages, Tropico consisted of Ariel, Aurelio, Rafy, Richard, & Javier. When we had last been to Puerto Rico in June of ’88, so many changes had transpired. Ariel, Aurelio, & Rafy had all left the group. This was very sad for me and my friends because we had been so close to all of these guys; to see them break up was hard. We were able to see all of them while we were in Puerto Rico, so the friendship remained strong. While we were in Puerto Rico, we also found out that the group was moving forward with Richard, Javier and two new members: Carlos & Wigui. It turned out that Wigui was the cousin of one of the guys we had befriended during our trip to Puerto Rico in 1987. WEIRD coincidence. So we actually met & hung out with Wigui quite a bit when we first arrived back to PR in ’88. We also got to meet and hang out with Carlos while we were there. It was weird to see the group with new members, but the new guys were nice, so we rolled with it. When we heard they were coming to Chicago, it was pretty exciting news. We were happy they were finally coming to our hometown, albeit with a new line-up. They had added a fifth member, Robert, by the time they made this trip. I had already started my first year away at college, so I actually came in for the weekend especially to see them. My friends & I went to O’Hare Airport the day they flew in to greet them.
We hung out with them for a bit, but then we said our goodbyes with plans to see them later that evening at their fan party. I’ll be honest, my friends and I hadn’t purchased tickets for this party. Number one, I’m sure we didn’t have the money for it & Number two, it felt kind of weird to pay for a ticket to see our friends. So we just decided to go to the venue and hang out till the official party was over. But somehow we ended up inside the room where the party was being held. I remember feeling kind of uncomfortable about that, but once we were in there with our guys, it was all good. It just felt great to be hanging out with them again, as you can clearly see in the pictures.
It was just fun seeing them perform and being amongst our friends again. After the party was over, we all headed out. Their chaperone was driving them back to their hotel and at first we were following them in my car. But for some reason I got confused and didn’t realize they wanted me to follow them back to their hotel. My friends and I just ended up going home. I’m still kind of upset about this because it was a missed opportunity for us to spend time with them. We did go to O’Hare the next morning to see them off. And I remember Javier asking me what the heck had happened. He said they were expecting us to come to the hotel with them. I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t get the memo.
It was such a quick trip…too quick. I wish we had been able to hang out with them more. After they came to Chicago, the group later ended up dissolving. As far as I know, none of these guys ended up pursuing careers in entertainment, at least not Richard or Javier. I ran into Wigui years later, 1997 to be exact, when I made a trip back to Puerto Rico, but I don’t remember what he was doing career wise. And I never had contact again with Robert or Carlos. This was a great time in my young life and I’m happy to have met these guys.