Over it in in the Mine

Potosi Travel Blog

 › entry 72 of 79 › view all entries

AFter successfully scaling Hauyna Potosi, it was time to complete the double, and head to the town of Potosi.

The main attraction of the town is an old silver mine that is now open to tourists. It is still operating, and tourists can interact with the poor bolivian men working in the mine. It was quite an experience, albeit, another tourist routine. You start the trip off buying gifts for the miners, although they were definately expecting it, but you can think of it as part of the tour price.

Then you spend a bit of time trying to understand the spanish speaking guide as he tells you about the mining history of the town before going into the mine for an hour or two...

...and it is cramped, cold, then hot. the shafts are made for short bolivians bent over a cart... pushing it in and out of the mine. I was just a lazy tourist, but it looked like horribly hard work, and everytime they asked for a bottle of soft drink, or anything else, I had no dramas in giving it to them from my sack of ´gifts´. I felt guilty just being there..... lets just say that those conditions wouldnt pass in Australia, or many other countries.... but a steady diet, of coca leaves, soda drinks, and 96% alchohol seems to get them through the 12 hour shifts underground....

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photo by: Biedjee