Blogs from Potosi, Potosí Department, Bolivia, South America - page 5


South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi November 1st 2011

This blog is called "Bus Diaries" for a reason. We got really spoiled in Argentina, riding first and second class buses and we knew that in a country like Bolivia which is a lot poorer, the general standard would be lower. So we braced ourselves for our nine hour night-busride to Potosí but we could not imagine what we were in for. The bus was quite run down, the seats were worn out and the covers were broken so that the filling was hanging out. The slideable windows were provisionally held together by strings and would actually slide open during the busride. We could have managed all of this but the horror started on the road. We drove almost the entire way on a super bad gravel-/dirtroad and our driver was speeding like an insane person. ... read more
Snapshot of Potosí and the mountains in the background
Our guesthouse "La Vicuna"

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi October 3rd 2011

Tina Writes The bus journey to Potosi was 5 hours long. The bus stank, was covered in litter and the windows didn’t close properly so it was a tad cold at 4000m. The roads were not as bad as I had come to believe, I think Bolivia have done a lot of work on their roads in the last year or so. Some idiot played music out his phone for most of the journey but thankfully that was drowned out by the rattling of the windows. The bus stopped for a toilet break half way through at the side of the road. Pull down your troosers and pee basically. We stayed on the bus! We arrived to a flurry of taxi drivers vying for business. As it was midnight we would be giving them some. We ... read more
Miner Rob, Potosi, Bolivia (5)
Mine tunnel, Potosi, Bolivia (2)
Miner making Dynamite, Potosi, Bolivia

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi September 25th 2011

Saturday In the morning we got a bus from Uyuni to Potosi where the famous Cerro Rico mine is located. The bus journey would have been fine had it not been for two colluding babies located very near us who seemed to synchronize their shitting patterns for maximum effect. After changing the nappy of her incontinent brat, the lady behind us opened up the window and launched the fecal matter out of the bus. Now i´m not saying i would have preferred the lady to keep the nappy as a souvenir but i hope that there wasn´t a poor old sod who was quietly mulling over what he had to do that day when all of a sudden a shit strewn nappy entered his thoughts...literally. We finally arrived in Potosi and were completely caught off guard ... read more
Ben ready for work
Tiny mine tunnel
Statues of Tio

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi August 3rd 2011

As most of my dear readers will be aware, many of my blogs include hair-raising stories of travelling by bus in Bolivia. Sadly, this tale does not include any such words. In fact, the only problems that were encountered were the fact that the company we booked the bus through did not actually have any buses running on the day or time booked for and a puncture in a small town en route to Potosi. The puncture was a thing of wonder. At no point were the passengers asked to leave the bus to facilitate the changing of the wheel – in fact, most merely opened their window and peered out at the driver, the conductor and a sturdy female struggling to raise the bus enough to remove the punctured wheel. A few on the bus ... read more
Changing into our sexy protective gear!
Hmmm, maybe it wasn't so sexy!
Still not doing anything for us!!

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi July 9th 2011

There are a few towns and certainly a few villages found higher in the world, but they are all small. Potosi is the worlds highest city, with a population of 163,000 at a brain melting altitude of 4000m. Alongside it’s epic height, it is well known for its crippling mine system, which reaches throughout Cerro Rico a mountain looming over the city at 4824m. Potosi was founded by the Spanish in 1545 after they discovered indigenous people mining silver. During subsequent years colossal amounts of silver was mined, during which an estimated 6-8 million indigenous and African people died, directly and indirectly from the abominable conditions inside. Potosi had the banner of largest city in the America’s during the early part of the 17th century until the heavily mined silver supply began to deteriorate and the ... read more
The Many Mines of Cerro Rico
Dynamite for Sale
Mine Entrance

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi July 9th 2011

Saturday From Uyuni we drove across the mountains to Potosi at nearly 4000m. Some of the road was almost brand new but the engineers had underestimated the amount of water that can flow through a dry gully and most of the culverts under the road had been washed away with the result that every few kilometres we drove off the road and around a gaping chasm. The rest of the road wound over mountains, through gorges, across and along sandy valleys. The wind is howling and any snow is streaked with dust. Dust follows the bus and runs down dry river beds. Rocks, llamas, cattle, sheep and donkeys flash past the windows. The bus stops for lunch and a loo break. I edge around the side of the building to the toilets and when I emerge, ... read more
lunch stop somewhere between Uyuni and Potosi
road between Uyuni and Potosi
that's sand, not snow

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi July 6th 2011

Uyuni didn’t look any less depressing after a nights sleep - it was just much muddier as the thaw was well advanced, It was actually the first large town in Bolivia that we had been to that had predominately dirt streets - we had been expecting to see many more then we had, The roads connecting all the main towns were mostly surfaced as well, It wasn’t long ago that only 200 kilometres of main roads were paved. The bus was late leaving and we spent the time trying to dodge the drips coming from all the roofs - they were heavier than rain. There was total chaos on the street which served as the bus station as the previous day most of he buses out of the town had been cancelled due to road closures ... read more
The main plaza - fascinating spot to people watch
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Cathedral restoration

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi July 2nd 2011

Potosi, about 500 years ago, was once the town that funded the Spanish Empire. It has been said the Spanish could have built a bridge made of silver to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and still have had plenty to spare. Today, Bolivian miners willfully go into the sheer depths of hell in hopes of the one big strike of luck. Boys start around age eight to ten learning the ropes. They work as the "runners", helping with jobs outside the mines. By age fourteen or fifteen, they are ready to descend below. Deep down, the mines go as far as seventy levels, some of those accessed by shifting and rickety ladders straight down. Here, waits their fate. Work in these places has not changed much in the last hundred years. The earth dug by hand (and ... read more
Early morning.
Closet lady.
Coca leaves & cigarettes.

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 3rd 2011

It was as cold as we had been yet in early morning Uyuni. We walked down to the bus station, or at least the area of the street the buses leave from. They had been threatening to build a terminal for a few years now and it remained just that – a threat. A giant deep fried pancake bought on the street for about 20 cents brought peace to our complaining stomachs, and it was tasty too. Pretty simple – take a piece of light bread dough, not quite as runny as a pancake, roll into a ball then out flat, drop it into hot voila. The bus to Potosí was mostly gringos. It cost a whole 25 Bs for the trip, all five hours of it. We bought the ticket off one of the ... read more
Mercado Artesanal, Potosí
Potosi market

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 1st 2011

Next stop was the mining town Potosi at 4070m it's the highest city in da world. The main reason we went there was to do a tour of the mines which we sorted through the hostel. It's also quite a nice town and we spent some time exploring the busy market. The mine tour was pretty cool but hard work. After getting kitted out we went to the miners market where we bought them some presents (fizzy drinks and a stick of dynamite). I also had a taste of the miners' favourite drink, a 96% spirit which must be close to poison. We saw a refining plant before heading to the mine itself. The miners work in a cooperative, renting their bit of mountain and keeping all the profits from the minerals they mine. Some of ... read more
Dodging sexy mine carts
Miners working
Sweaty Betty

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