Raining and cold!
Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
55Trip End Jul 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
Hostel Marie Victoria
We took a local bus out to the Laguna Thermal on the Sunday. We had to trek for a bit to get up to it but it was so worth it when we got there. The lake was about thirty five degrees right in the centre and about thirty four or thirty three around the sides. It was gorgeous. Right out in the open with mountains on either side, it was so picturesque. We were quite the gawking site for one local family who were there too (for their monthly wash as Brian so kindly put it). Three of the sons came over to us to just stare, not to have a chat or ask us how we were or anything, just to stare. Nice of them eh?
We got back to the town warm right into our bones and got soup and a sandwich in one of the little coffee shops
We went on a mine tour that day. Words cannot express how horrendous that tour was. We were collected at the hostal and driven up to the tiptop of the town. There we bought coca leaves, cigarettes and pop for the miners. We were decked out in wellies and waterproof/mudproof jackets and pants. They gave us helmets and a torch that clipped on to the helmet. The mines area is a cooperative with each miner taking what he mines and selling it for his own profit. Boys go in from the age of nine or ten and work as an apprentice to one of the older men. They work like that for two years and then move up the ladder a bit and begin mining themselves, still giving a percentage of what they find to their īmasterī. After another couple of years they become a fully fledged miner and can sell whatever they find. The working conditions are just horrendous. I really cannot express how awful they are. The miners have to walk miles into the middle of the mine, where all the ore is found. In there the temperature ranges from thirty three to thirty five degrees. Can you imagine trying to work in that heat? The fumes are so bad down there that many of the men donīt reach the age of thirty five
The following day we got a bus to Uyuni. We left Potosi and it was still raining.