Mining or not mining

Trip Start Feb 01, 2010
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96
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Trip End Dec 18, 2010


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The koala's den

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potosçi used to be the greatest and the richest city of South America when people found huge quantities of silver in the cerro Potosí. Spanish extracted tons of minerals that made them reach exploiting the poor indigenous people. Now that they ran out of silver, the town is smaller than it used to be and casual. In the very interesting casa de la moneda, we got parts of the history of the silver city understanding how the mineral was extracted and processed before invading the whole world with its coins. We also discovered how cheap life can be in a normal Bolivian city. Unfortunately, I got sick too and stayed in bed with diarrhea and fever 24 hours. Once I recovered, I was able to climb the hill of Potosi which is not easy since the city stands at 3800m above the sea. There we could see the miners who still work in the mountain getting few money for harvesting minerals less precious than silver. So I finally decided to enter the mine after mading up my mind for three days. Is it worth visiting a place where children work and people die every once in a while? Not really but that's the main activity in Potosi. The young guide told us many stories about the mine. A lot of them were just bullshit on my opinion. But we got till "El tio" which is kind of miners' god and saw how miners ask him for safety and richness.
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