Saturday, June 17, 2006



I left Uyuni for a dusty drive to Potosi. It took over 5 hours to do 200 Ks. Arrived at Potosi in the early afternoon and found a parking garage, then a hotel. The next day I started looking for a tour of the local mines. As it turns out, it's the end of the month and there is a party at the mine entrance, so at 10am off we go, all eight of us in two taxis. We are greeted there with a liter of beer, which when opened, the first drop must go to mother earth easy. It is some time before the main show startss and all dressed and no place to go...

These people have strong pagan beliefs. This day and these Lamas are the main event

As this was a Pagan event you just stand back and look and see

What these people want is safety in the mine, and by splashing the blood around for the sacrifice this will help (though in a town where anyone can buy Dinamyte for $3 a stick one would question whether this works.)The next part is to BBQ the beast, dance and sing (no work today or the next . To help the afternoon go by, people come around with a jug of clear liquor (home made) and shot glass and the first drop is for Mother Earth. The rest is a very interesting drink, not to be confused with anything fit for human consumption! As this was Saturday I would have to wait till Monday for a mine tour.

This is on the third level down. This guy chips away with a hammer and chisel 12 hours a day at a seam that has silver, tin and zinc. This work will go on till he has some tons of ore. It will then be taken out with help of others, and all by hand at an altitude of 4000 meters! (I have a hard enough time just walking around, let alone work like that, and here in the mine with the dust and heat ???? ) The job from Hell! I'm just happy I get to leave!


Day Six

Once again awoke early, and headed out on the road. This time I took a detour to Rio Grande and a short trip onto the salt water for some early morning pics. I was not sure if this was possible but I was assured that all would be fine. [Editor points out: He survived the world's most dangerous road, didn't he?] I drove about 1 and a half Ks on the water. It was bit like being in a boat.

After a little play in the water, I came back to dry land and set off for Unyie. Just one more stop for the trains. It made me a little sad to see these steel giants just sitting rotting away slowly, but then where in the world can anyone see
som any in one place?


Day Five

Once again the overnight temp went down to -10c, even when we camped near the 40c water of the hot springs! Awakened in the morning to a steady stream of land cruisers that started arriving at 7am, all stopping at the hot springs for breakfast etc before heading on to Laguna Verde. I did just about the same except waiting till they had left before heading in for a dip in the hot water then heading down to Laguna Verde

In the early afternoon, I came back past the hot springs and up to the guises and boiling mud , I was surprised how violent it is. Was just expecting a little slow boil!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Day Four

Awoke this morning and everything was frozen! (What's new?) We took an hour to get going. The road was very rough until it turned onto the mining road for some 20ks before turning back into the rough track again. The road continues on through small passes and on to the petrified trees.

That's me, the little guy.

We continued on for the rest of the day to the hot springs and camped for the night.

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