Hunting for Silver

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Compania de Jesus

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, October 4, 2009

So onto Potosi, our first experience of using Bolivia buses, we had been warned of break downs and delays but was a bit of a surprise when our first journey we had a few incidents!  Having bought our tickets the night before when we turned up at the bus station we found that our bus was not running that day anymore so we were shoved onto another more local bus company...
About an hour into our journey our driver trying to do a three point turn(still not sure why) when the back wheels fell into a HUGE ditch. We all off loaded the bus while some keen Bolivians started pushing the bus only for it to roll back practically ontop of them. Many more attempts we watched in horror as the bus rocked around trying to get out and at one point almost
fell on its side towards us, thats when we  saw that there must  have been about 5 bolivians still up in the bus sleeping!!!!

 After half hour of trying we got free and carried on......but it didnt end there, we had two more stops on the side of the road while passengers happily got under the bus banging spanners around triyng to fix am not sure what, best not to ask i thought! Anyway we still managed to get into Potosi with only half an hour delay (fairly impressive i would say although best not to imagine the speed to manage this!.

We had been told potosi was a complete dump and full of fumes but we were pleasantly surprised and quite liked it....Nice square and little streets and all the churches etc were lit up at night aswell as the Cerro Rico (hill).

So next moring was our mine tour, considering i hate pitch black and small> spaces (Dad, am sure you remember carrying me kicking and screaming into lifts!!) so was a tad nervous but to be fair there was no need. The company we went with was very professional (koala tours), we had very sexy outfits, check the fotos, and very good torches and 1 guide per 6 or 7 tourists. We were in the mine 2 hours in all and level 1 was fine, still air to breathe and could walk with my head high (well short arse Claire could) but going down to level 2 and 3 we were practially slideing down on our bums, not too bad until we hit a stone, owww! At level 3 we could  feel the heat, lack of air and dust everywhere. We met a lot of miners at work and Ben even helped fill up a pot of minerals which left him rather breathless! (Luckily it was unlucky for women to work in the mines!) Clambering up the slopes in the mine with nothing to grab onto and out of breath was fairly tricky and by then end we were looking forward to fresh air. I managed to completely lose my voice, donīt even want to think about what we were breathing in down there or how on earth these miners work for 8-9 hours a day down there when we struggled for 2 hours in a lifetime, makes you realise just how lucky we are....

We had bought dynamite and cigarettes for the miners but had some dynamite leftover so the guides lit them, we all had a chance to hold it before the guides ran down the hill to bury them and run back...the blasts were so incredibly loud that although i took a video (hopefully upload at some point) am not sure how much you can see as everytime i jumped a mile!!

Back to town and absolutely emotionally and physically exhausted we had a wonder before heading off to Sucre in the evening, only a 3 hour journey on tarmac so happy days and sin problemas!!
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