Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
152Trip End Feb 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
Residencial 10 de Noviembre
Potosi is one of the highest cities in the world at 13,400 feet (4,070 meters) – brrrrrr-cold. And I thought we were high when we were in Quito at 10,000 feet. Our room in Potosi had 5 thick wool blankets on the bed (we typically choose the less expensive places to stay – hence no heater). We bought a $3 hotplate at a hardware store to make hot water for coffee in the mornings, it doubles as a little heater too ('cause getting out of bed when it’s so cold isn’t easy).
It was lunchtime when we arrived in Potosi, the narrow sidewalks and streets were swarming with people, hundreds of kids in school uniforms (and plenty in plain clothes too) were milling about while we were looking for a place to eat. After we sat down and ordered (Steve got llama steak, I got quinoa soup), we realized that our camera was gone… I remembered taking a picture of the crowded street and putting it back in my pocket, probably forgetting to tuck in the little string, making it easy for some sly, opportunistic pick-pocket to pull out without my noticing – ggrrrrr! It took some time, but we got over the loss, it helped immensely that we thought to bring our little, old camera as a back-up.
Walking around town one day, we heard an explosion – we would have assumed it came from the mines, but it sounded very close… then another, even closer, the type of boom that is felt in the body as much as heard by the ears. Then we saw them, thousands of miners, blowing up sticks of dynamite ahead of them as they walked into and around the plaza. We made sure to stay on the opposite side, but couldn’t help but watch, I imagine it was a march for miners rights. I thought it a novel way to demand attention from everyone within earshot, but maybe it’s not uncommon in Potosi.
On our way out of town we enjoyed a parade with elaborate, colorful costumes, music and dancing. A nice send-off before setting out for desolate southwestern Bolivia.