Its Mine Mine Mine (pics to come)

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
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42
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Trip End Aug 28, 2011


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Where I stayed
Koala Den Hostel

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, March 19, 2011

After a couple of days in Sucre, and little more to report than a drunken St. Paddy´s day night involving green beer, we headed to Potosi.

This town used to be the richest town in world. Yes, the entire world. More so than London, Paris, Rome, everywhere! Never heard of it? Us neither. This was back in the days when the silver mine here was funding the ENTIRE Spanish empire for much of a period that was more two centuries. Now I´m not sure you´d quite believe it if it was documented by the historians. The place is half living history, half dump like much of the rest of the country.

Still a working mine-town the process of ore and mineral extractions continues. Tours are undertaken at your own risk.

Though potentially hazardous with live dynamite explosions taking place in what could not be called a controlled and organised matter, I never felt in danger. Of the 15 or so levels stretching 2km down into the mountain we only slipped down to level 2, about 60m under, while trying not to think of the recent Chilean mining accident. Plenty far enough for my adventurous spirit once it´d dragged me belly down through some of the access tunnels.

The conditions remain terrible and this was an eye opening tour. The dust is thick and guys only come out when they´ve hit their quota for the day - sometimes 24 hours at a time. We chatted to one of the miners for about half an hour while he was literally waiting for the dust to settle and you soon realised these guys don´t have a choice. It´s a hand to mouth existence and truly very sad.
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