Posted in Bolivia, English, South America

Dia del Mar and marching bands in Uyuni

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During our stay in Uyuni we heard marching bands’ rehearsals everyday , and in the evenings there were concerts somewhere in the city. Our last night, when we went out to look for something to eat, numerous marching bands representing schools, various organizations and the military were marching through the city.

Soldiers marched with raised rifles, which had airplanes made of blue, plastic bottles poked into their barrels. Kids were carrying blue lanterns. Sometimes when two different marching bands crossed each other’s ways, one of them would stop to give the second one the right to go. From time to time fireworks were exploding in the air. The next day we woke up at seven A.M. to the sound of another marching band and more exploding fireworks. A little bit later we found out that March 23rd is a day of the sea in Bolivia and for that reason all those trumpets, drums and trombones were playing throughout the whole country.

At the end of the 19th century, during the Pacific War from 1879-1883, Bolivia lost its access to the sea to Chile. Since that day the Bolivian nation loudly demonstrating its pretension to the Pacific coast. In 2014, the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, submitted a motion to return access to the Pacific coast to Bolivia at the International Tribunal in Haga. Bolivians want the sea access mostly for cheaper and faster export and import. Right now all the country’s commercial exchanges go through ports in Peru and Chile, where formalities take from two to three months and cost a lot of money. At least that is what Bolivians told us. The opinions about the day of the sea are also divided. Besides those who are marching in the numerous parades, there are also citizens who think that Bolivia’s sea claims are exaggerated and ridiculous.

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