A couple of days off in Potosi

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
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105
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Trip End Apr 20, 2013


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

We had cycled for 6 days and covered almost 750km in Bolivia, so thought it was time for a couple of days off to rest and recover.  Potosi seemed like the logical stop, as it is a tourist town, with all the usual tourist amenities of restaurants and good hostels.  That was as far as our reasoning went, we weren't particularly inclined to visits the tourist attractions or spend the day in the museums.  We just wanted some good food for a change.

Kory considered going on a tour to the mines, which surround Potosi.  Hundreds of men enter the mines each day and work in some of the worst conditions in the world today.  Their health quickly declines over the next seven to ten years and according to the Lonely Planet most miners die from silicosis pneumonia within 15 years of entering the mine.  Once a miner has lost 50% of their lung capacity they may retire and receive a pension of $15 (USD) a month to support himself and his family.  The description of the mine and their working conditions, with "primitive tools" was enough for me to realise that I had no interest at all to spend my day off the bike down a dark, cramped mine, in temperatures up to 46 degrees celsius.  I felt lucky to be able to opt out of that experience, which is more than can be said for the hundreds of men who rely upon the meagre wage earned by exposing themselves to this deadly environment.  

We did extremely little during our time in Potosi, but enjoyed a few days of rest and I caught up with my blog entries.  Bolivia has very sporadic internet access, and it isn't the norm for hotels to have WI-FI, which we came to expect in Peru.  Kory tried to fix his brake cable, which snapped a couple of days before (luckily whilst we were going along a flat road) but realised that he only had cables for my brake mechanism.  He will have to wait until we get to Argentina to buy the correct brake cable for his bike.  For now he will only have one working brake and we will have to hope that one survives the distance.
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Comments

Gramma on

Gemma, I think you were very wise not going down in the mine. Surprising how little wages are paid in such a hot and dangerous job. I'm always so greatful , that what we have as Canadians, is so much more than they will ever see.Enjoy your days off and make sure and relax!!!! Love and hugs

Meandyouanytime@hotmail.com on

I agree with gramma...how sad for them working for so little, reminds us to be the more grateful!

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