Our mansion style hotel with street lights included
After a pretty unbearable bus ride (6 hours, overbooked, and with the worst cumbia music imaginable blaring for the first 4 hours) we arrived to Potosi at 2am. We jumped in a cab, woke up the manager of the Hostel, and got to sleep (or as close as we get to it at this altitude). We stayed at a an old mansion with a glass ceiling, and with three street lights in the hallway (Old London street lights if you will). Much like the rest of the city it was very ornate. The next morning we realized that Potosi is a beautiful place, but at the same time decayed, a scream from a glorious past, ornate buildings in the center, but shantytowns in the outskirts. The city is full of churches with big bells and bright colors. There were definitely more churches than places to eat for instance.
Potosi, located at over 4000 meters
The city during colonial times was one of the wealthiest and most beautiful cities. After the Spanish had pilfored all the silver and gold they could from the place, they split and now the city is mostly in poverty. One example of this poverty is that we rode next to half of a dead goat someone was taking home for supper on a city bus. Wow. We returned from our long walk exploring the city to find two cinemas, one closed and one playing a movie called Contra-Site which was about Che Guevara but not really, truly a bore. The most spectacular thing about the movie was the theater, which seem that was last repaired or dusted in the 70s, but had definitly been build in the early 1900s. The next day we split, Emily went to relax and read at the park while Danilo went to a mine to see the claustrophibic, coke leaf induced life of miners. Among the "highlights" were Dynamite explosions where the mine shook and spewed dust (Danilo was inside), endless tunnels, sweaty miners, and numerous slabs of zinc, tin, and some silver. There was also some underage working: a kid was like 13 but at least he worked outside the mine shoveling and a man of about 17 years of age working an engine. The mine has been worked for 500 years and now few precious metals exist as most were taken by the Spanish back to Europe.
Em and Danilo then met up had a nice lunch together and decided that the previous jeep trip had left them too tired to go to Sucre so we headed to La Paz...