Potosi

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
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55
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Trip End Nov 25, 2008


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, May 19, 2008

I was in Potosi for two days. It is a big mining town, and still at really high altitude. The first day I saw the old mint, where they had made coins in the colonial days. It is now a pretty interesting museum.

The second day I took a tour of the mines. It was crazy. We stoped at a mineral purification plant and also at the miners market to buy some things to give to the miners we met. At the market you can buy a stick of dinamite, and two minute fuse with blasting cap, and a pack of amonium nitrate for about $2.50. We got the miners a some dinamite, coaca leaves and soda. The miners don't eat while they are in the mines because it of the dust and fumes, so they all have big cheeks full of coaca leaves. They do drink water and soda though. The entrance to the mine we toured was covered with dried llama blood. the miners sacrafice llamas a few times a year. The idea is that if the devil gets llama blood he will want less miners' blood. Once inside ther is a little room that is a museum, then we climbed five stories down to the third level, through the tiny tunnels the miners uses to go up and down. A few times we had to crawl. Then we had to climb back up. It is really dusty down in the mines and I'm sure I got a good start on black lung. After coming out again we blew up a few sticks of dinamite we saved for ourselfs. It was fun.
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