Camino de la meurte, monkeys and mines

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Left La Paz for the first of my epic bus journeys through Bolivia. The buses really have seen better days and the drivers are mental. Still I made it to a place called Villa Tunari where there is an animal refuge. Originally the plan had been to volunteer here for 15days (the minimum time) but when I saw the accomodation and got two hundred bites from the mossies I decided against it. They were overstocked with volunteers so I didn't feel too guilty.

Still I visited the park for a day and it was great. The monkeys are really cute and affectionate (once you get past the fact that they smell). They also try to rob everything you own and I heard a story about one guy that had his wallet nicked. The monkey took everything - including credit cards and returned the next day with a couple of chewed bolivianas by way of an apology.

After that I headed to Sucre (which is the real capital of Bolivia). It is gorgeous. Spent over a week there and went to Spanish school. Met Michelle (from London) in my hostel and we managed to turn our dorm into an explosion of clothes. We had a complete laugh and we met quite a few people in Sucre! We even did ourselves proud and went to karaoke one night. Top performances by all!!

We decided then to go to Potosi and see the mines there. They are still being worked in by co-operatives and you can tour them. First you got kitted out in some sexy massive waterproof jackets, trousers, wellies and a torch. Then you got to the miners market and buy gifts for the miners cos they have to buy all their own things. So we bought them drinks, cocoa leaves and lots and lots of explosives. When you go into the mines you have to climb through holes that are a half a metre in size. It was incredible. Kids start working there at around 13 years old. We chatted to them and gave out all our gifts before heading back up to fresh air. On the way we had to stop in a tunnel cos they were blowing up explosives in the tunnel above us. I was really pleased at that as you can imagine.

When we got outside we were allowed blow up our extra bomb. It was brilliant.
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