Dynamite at High Altitude

Potosi Travel Blog

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I Ho I Ho its of to work we go....

KBOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Well that isnt the sound dynamite makes but it is a hell of a bang! We are in the highest city in the world Potosi some 4800 metres above sea level! When i first stepped off the bus i was amazed how quickly your breathe was taken away and how thin the air actually is, it makes me wonder how the hell people climb Mt Everest it must be such a challenge!! Potosi is a city steeped in historical artefacts and buildings dating back to the 15th century and has a very colonial spanish feel and charm to it. Many of the streets are lined with murials depicting the ancient bloodshed that the city is renowned for when the spanish conquerers came and enslaved many of the local indigenous tribes too work in the mines.

Duggo holding the lit Dynamite while the boys put on brave faces... Scared shitless!
 At one point in history this was the biggest city in the world and owes this fact too boasting the once richest mountain in the world which produced most of the worlds silver between the 16-18th centuries! Today mining is still the biggest economical spinner in the region but is generally producing low grade silver and lots of zinc! And the best way to extract the minerals is too blow it from the mountain side with DYNAMITE!!

So our main mission was to come to the silver mines, blow up some dynamite and say we spent a night in the highest city in the world this was all achieved and more! Our first night there we meet some kiwis who were going to the local futbal (soccer) match and tagged along to support Real Potosi! It was great not quite the spectle of Rio but just as good because we were in the local area, couldnt gets tickets to the main part where gringoes normally sit! We were like a freak show in a circus, the local crowd actually cheered us from the stadium when we left and were taking photos of us throughout the match it was really quite humbling! Real Potosi won 4-1 so now i can say i watched soccer in the highest stadium in the world, AWESOME! But should any of you intrepid adventurers make it too one of these matches please rug up it is freezing, like super cold the athletes on the field must have some of the best lungs going around!

So the following day we hitted up our silver mine tour, apparently Koala tours are the best but our tour company arranged through the hostel were great! Personally a bit skeptical about a company named after an animal only found in Australia and not the mountains of Bolivia.

What ya thinkin?
.. This was a great tour, you go to the local miner markets too buy dynamite and drinks for the miners, chew on coca leaves which taste disgusting but really are effective in curing hunger, altitude sickness and generally numbing your face! All the miners have massives balls of coca in their mouths all day like a golf ball out of the side of their faces pretty funny buts helps them not to get hungry and work longer hours! The mountain is impressive to say the least but the mines are amazing! In Oz the mining industry is pretty well regulated and mines are relly sophisticated, here in Potosi in is like being in the dark ages again. Everything is pulled out by hand with hammer and chiesel in wheelburrows. The only lighting is from the little lights on the miners helmet and there isnt really any coordinated drilling and tunneling scheme but more like a network of tunnels that sporadically lead off in all different directions like some madmens attempt at building a grasshedge maze! It is just brillant! So we spent the day working our way through a myriad of tunnels stopping to lend a hand and give gifts too the miners it was great! However the highlight was defineatly blowing up some dynamite!

It is just so surreal you can walk into the local corner shop get yourself some dynamite, detonators and away you go to blow whatever you want up, it is crazy! Now since we have been in the country three separate incidents have occurred where one bloke blew up a llama and got arrested spent 9 days in jail, another lad took some with him to La Paz and a cleaner found it on his bag and he was held for 24 days on terrorism charges his passport got sent to interpol pretty heavy shit and just last week a group of english boys blew out the back wall of a hostel smashing all the windows with the shockwave and spent 7 days in jail! So if your going to keep some dynamite for yourself and you can i recommend you blow it up out in the desert or better yet take some props with you on tour like a blow up doll of Britney Spears and the tour guide will be more than happy in letting you blow it too smitherens! Well ill try not to blow myself up and you all have a great day peace!!!

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I Ho I Ho its of to work we go....
I Ho I Ho its of to work we go....
Duggo holding the lit Dynamite whi…
Duggo holding the lit Dynamite wh…
What ya thinkin?
What ya thinkin?
About to enter into the myriad of …
About to enter into the myriad of…
Overlooking the Highest City in th…
Overlooking the Highest City in t…
Potosi
photo by: Biedjee