Trip Start Nov 20, 2006
92Trip End Jun 27, 2007
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The journey to Potosi took us from an altitude of 2,700m in Sucre to 4,200m. We were all a bit worried about altitude sickness but on arrival most of us felt fine, just a bit short of breath
Potosi is a mining town and silver, tin and other minerals have been mined from the mountain by the local indians for centuries. The conditions in the mine are really harsh. Small children work alongside their fathers and there are no safety regulations so the poorer miners will work without proper shoes or helmets. Around 11,000 people work in the mines on extremely poor wages but as this is the only source of income in Potosi they have little choice in their employment. Their life expectancy is significantly reduced as most of the miners suffer from lung disease from breathing in all the dust and fumes.
Our tour of the mines started with a visit to the miners market to buy gifts for the miners. Most of all they wanted drinks and coca leaves as well as dynamite and cigarettes. Before we went into the mines we were given a demonstration on how to make dynamite
We also visited the local market in Potosi, including the meat market. Matt and me have seen quite a lot of meat markets on our travels and they have never been that pleasant. This one though has to be the worst I have ever been to and looked more like something out of a horror movie than something you'd cook for dinner. Matt took a few photos (I couldn't even look) but I think they are far too gruesome to put on the blog. If you've got a strong stomach and want to see them we'll show them to you when we get home.
That said we still managed to have some meat for dinner that night and finished the evening with a few beers in one of the locals bars.
Next stop Uyuni and the Salt Flats.......................