Potosi Travel Blog› entry 35 of 54 › view all entries
Potosi, once bigger than Paris and London, now a busted mining town, still the highest city in the world though...esta bien. I haven´t met another travelling in these parts that isn´t here to climb into the silver mines, delivering soft drinks, dynamite and coca leaves to the miners and bail out as quickly as the thin air permits.
This place is struggle town. Sure there is a bit of cash lying around but it sure has seen better days. Relative to a cop, you can triple your income working in one of three hundred mines to a not so staggering 1,500 Bolivians. That is a pittance especially considering your life expectancy is around 50 years.
15,000 miners work in the mines. The families group together following the mineral seams for generations. Apparently when two families encounter each other and the seam is of significant value the spoils are sorted the old fashioned way, with sticks of dynamite. Our guide told stories of limbs all over the place.
The conditions down in the mines are appalling, hot, hardly enough air and super dusty. I wouldn´t do it again, sure it´s worthwhile but......