Trip Start Nov 15, 2008
59Trip End Jun 15, 2009
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So we were now on our own, scary stuff hey! Well everything worked out ok for our first trip, we got an overnight bus from La Paz to Sucre which was a full cama, so very comfortable and we both slept quite well. Unfortunately we were right up the back and an old indigenous was sitting in a cheap seat right next to Dave so when he reclined his seat they were pretty much face to face. He woke up the next morning with her staring at him from 5cms away.
We got a cheap double room in an ok hotel and went to explore. Sucre was nice enough, but a bit quiet. We wandered up to a plaza on a hill where there was a nice look out. Besides this everything was closed because of the up coming election, so there really wasn't anything to do. We were hoping to leave the next day, but the busses weren't running either, so we had to stay put for another day.
The bus we did eventually get was fairly old but made it to Potosi with out any problems. We were meeting some friends of our here, Jo and Jozza, so we were excited to see them again. Potosi was a very ramshackle dusty town, but back in the day it was very prosperous due to the silver mines that were located here. Unfortunately most of the silver is now gone and with it so is Potosi's wealth. Dave and I went on a mine tour, it is still a working mine and was nothing like the slat mine tour we did in Poland.
We got geared up in our mining hats and clothes, and set out. We bought some presents for the miners including soft drinks and dynamite. We also brought a bit of extra dynamite for ourselves to blow up. As we were at about 4,000mts it was already hard to breath, but once we went into the mine and started to crawl around in the 30 degree heat it got a whole lot harder. There was dust everywhere as well, basically it was a hell hole and the miners who worked down there worked for 10hrs a day 6 days a week until either the min killed them for the dust gave them lung cancer.
It was a very interesting tour seeing what kind of life these guys had to live. They didn't eat for the ten hours they were in the mines for so everyone you saw was chewing a huge cheek full of coco leafs. We finished the tour and then got to blow up some Dynamite. The tour guides lit it and passed it round for people to hold and get photos, then ran off quickly and put the dynamite a good distance off. It wasn't a huge explosion, but scared me all the same.
We caught up with Jo and Jozza after and went out for some tea and a few drinks. It was Australia day, but we had a very quiet one. The next day we were heading to Uyuni to do a salt flat tour. We got another very local bus that our bags got tied to the top of, and we had to stop every half an hour or so to pick up locals who would be standing in the middle of no where. An old lady fell asleep on Dave's leg and we stopped to pee while some local pigs sniffed around our bums, but other then that it was an uninteresting trip.
Well unless you are going to do a salt flat tour, there is no reason you would go to Uyuni. There is nothing there, it is in the middle of no where and it is hot. We found a tour called Oasis which turned out to be really good. It was handy having a few fluent Spanish speakers with us, thanks god for Jo and Jozza! We found a cheap hotel that cost only 60 Bolivians a night just a few dollars and got ready for a 3 days tour.