I was all depressed because it took me about 45 minutes to send an email with a couple of measly attachments and my Ma was chatting me up about food the whole time, too. Want to know what I ate today? Bread with instant coffee in the morning and in the afternoon a plate of pasta with pieces of bacon and a supposedly creamy sauce that tasted vaguely like chewing on wool blankets. A culinary delight, the altiplano! The whole time marching bands were parading past the front door, too, and explosives going off all around the city. As soon as the labored email went through I went out to see what was going on; cold, walking around a city crying fresh streams of piss down it slippery sidewalks, dynamite galore and accompanying car security alarms with each detonation, I assumed that it was a continuation of the morning marches.
Not so. It was the youths!
The plaza was completely packed with short, psyched students in various states of booziness and jumpiness. There were two marching bands at opposing sides of the plaza, one in full military uniform. At some point one band played "Happy Birthday," which was a little confusing, but then the military band took over and the plaza EXPLODED. At first the congealed mass of black heads bobbed up and down in agreed-upon but discordant enthusiasm but quickly the mass rearranged itself, kind of like a Transformer, into smaller circles. Pouring little cups while jumping and singing and waving t-shirts emblazoned with Pichincha, each circle would take turns doing a chant, something that rhymed Pichincha with Papa - you get the sentiment - and ending in a high whistle.
Some belated background: Pichincha is one of the oldest public schools in Potosi and one of the few public schools that's considered decent, on the level of private schools. It is its anniversary, and like an anniversary in South America, it is celebrated a full.
Last night was exciting - being 16 and psyched and a little tipsy is a universal daydream, or as C. calls it, the YouthFunBoat. It's the kind of thing oldheads like to attend; they make their way around the plaza slapping young men on their backs and congratulating them on being young. But then today, the streets washed down after last night's festivities and urine, the whole city has been lining up to see the parades - nonstop parading with nonstop marching bands.
Is it because Bolivia has such a military infused history? Nonstop, bombastically formalized parades on a big anniversary, fine. But to a lesser extent, marching bands and parades are ubiquitous always - the people breathe to the rhythm of the drumline.