The mine (Part 2 – inside)

After chewing some coca leaves (the local custom… or maybe to get in the mood for what was to follow) we got inside.

The first mines opened in the area around 1670 and, as you can see, not much has changed since then. All work was performed by manual labor. Carts weighing 1.5 tons (loaded) were pushed by teams of two miners who were paid around US$1 per round trip. Another pair of workers were spinning the wheel to lift the ore from galleries bellow and so on. There was no lighting (except for head mounted lamps) and the only piece of power equipment was the compressor used for breathing air delivery. We asked about some power machinery and, after some searching, our guide was able to show us a winch that was, of course, never used because manually lifting was in fact cheaper.

After coming out of the mine, we stopped once again at the gift shop were we acquired for US$2 one meter of fuse, a dynamite and a bag of ammonia nitrate. I will try to find out later how to use this new toy. And if you don’t see any more posts coming, that means something went wrong…758 mina760 mina762 mina763 mina764 mina765 mina766 mina768 mina769 mina770 mina771 mina

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The mine (Part 1 – preparations)

The visit to the mine was very informal. The guy at the agency had a brother who used to work at the mine. There were no entrance tickets, instead we stopped at a gift shop to buy two bags of coca leaves for the workers and some juice and we were in.749 mina750 mina751 mina752 mina753 mina754 mina755 mina756 mina757 mina757.5 mina

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Once in Potosi, we left our clothes at the laundry and then we began looking for fun. They had a visit to a local zinc and lead mine in the offer. Since this sounded interesting, we decided to accept!745 potosi746 potosi747 potosi748 potosi

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From Potosi to Uyuni

From Potosi to Uyuni the road goes around some hills and through many canyons, occasionally accompanied by the railway tracks of the Ferrocaril des Andes. But even after a long riding day, there is still energy to entertain the local kids 🙂740 andes741 andes742 andes743 andes744 andes

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On our way to Potosi we met Bjorn, from Germany. He has been traveling for two years now. See his very interesting website here738 bjorn.

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