Published: February 13th 2006February 2nd 2006
Mining in Potosi!
From my last entry we were actually delayed leaving La Paz.
We boarded our bus and packed up at 8am, only to hear that there was a protest from locals in a town called Ureros, which was 4 hours away, and the main road to our next desination of Potosi. They had closed the road because of this protest, which are apparently quite common. So we spent an extra day in La Paz, which was fine by me, so me and a couple of lads found an English bar and had a great breakfast and an English cuppa, and we watched football, Man Utd v Blackburn on tv. Then just went shopping again, its very very cheap here, and then had a good night out, ending a great day.
Te next morning we were up and heard our blocked road was now clear, so we left at 8am to make the journey to Potosi. It was Fri 3rd, we arrived there around dinner time, a long drive. I felt tired so just got a Pizza and an early night, not much to see in Potosi after walking around the main square once we had arrived.
Saturday morning, and we were up early, as I wit te others had chosen to do an excursion to the local silver mine. The Silver mine is around 400 years old, and is still in operation. Its located in a side of a volcano, and goes underground some 350 meters! Not for the chlostrophobic.
First we got changed in to our miners clothing, a yellow jumpsuit, with hard hat and flashlight! Then we went to the miners market, to buy dynamite and some coca leaves to give to some of the miners to help with the altitude ( there mine is approx 4,000 meters a.s.l).
We arrived, and the first point of call was to blow up some dynamite, which was great fun! Then in to the entrance and down the mine. The tunnels weren't as small as I thought they would be, but the air is quite dusty and tight. The miners that work here are as young as 15, and the life expectancy after working the mines is just 20 years. It was a great experience, a real eye opener.
After re-surfacing from the mine, we headed back to the hotel at lunchtime for a quick pack-up, as we were back on the road, to head to the town of Uyuni, home of the largest Salt Lake in the world.