Potosí, Bolivia
19° 35' S 65° 45' W
Apr 12, 2007 09:10
Distance 270km

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Text written in: English

Potosi

We arrived to Potosi after a 5 hours` bus ride from Uyuni.  Potosi is the highest city in the world, at an altitude of 4,000 meters above see level.

The main attraction in town is the silver and zinc mine. The city is basicly a miners` city, and most of the people have relatives working in the mine. The main products of the mine are, as said, zinc and silver. Although in the past couple of years the silver level has dropped and now the main product is zinc. We took the mine tour in the morning and first of all tried our new gear, and checked that everything is fit. Then we went to the miners` market to buy some stuff for today. We bought dynamites for only 17 Bs, which is something like 2 US Dollars. we also bought coca leaves to give to the miners and some sodas as well. Then we finally got into the mines. We just couldn`t believe that in the 21th century people are still working like that. It`s impossible to imagine what are these poor people have to do to survive. The work at an altitude of 4,000 meters, deep in this dungeon is very very hard. The air is very thin and after every little movement it`s hard to breathe. We tried to dig for a little while and it was horrible. These miserable men work there for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. They don`t eat while they`re inside, just chewing coca leaves and drink sodas.

After about two hours inside this dungeon, we finally got out to the open air. Honestly, I think it was the first time I trully understand what my brother was always speaking of. Then came the funnest time of the day, Dynamite time. We took the Dynamite we bought in the morning and made a real bomb out of it. First we made a shape of a ball out of it, then we put the wire and the detignator, and finally we put it in a nylon bag with other chemical powder that makes the explosion bigger. Then we just lit the wire and the guides took it and put it in the ground, letting us take some pictures and wait to the explosions. It was so cool !  To see something like 10 or 15 bombs explode one after another is something very impressive.  But all this time we just couldn`t stop thinking about this poor country and the stupidity to sell this stuff for so cheap in the city`s market. For us it`s very cool, but for those poor men it`s a reality. Not just to wake up every morning to this work, but also to live in a country that selling bombs on it`s markets is a common thing. I don`t want to think how the protests here look like and how many poor, innocent people died from this mentality.

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