A September 2000 trip
to Potosi by Anne Silver
Quote: Spain mined enough silver in Potosi to support itself for over 300 years. Today the locals still mine in much the same way they did hundreds of years ago.
The mines consist of small shafts going as deep as 6 layers. When the miners saw us they held out bags hanging from their waists like trick or treaters on Halloween. They were dirty and sweaty but grinned widely at the sight of the coca leaves. They have used coca for centuries to numb their senses so they can continue to work in these conditions. There is no ventilation and the only light comes from gas lanterns. Make sure you visit the diety in the underground museum.
Hotel | "Hotel Jerusalen"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 23, 2000
619 Georgetown Crescent
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Most of the 13 hours was on dirt roads with lots of unscheduled stops. We stopped for every stray person and had more than our share of flat tires. At about one o’clock in the morning the control police boarded and turned on all of the lights and demanded passports. We were a little concerned because Jim had already lost his visa, but they seemed very uninterested in the only Gringos on a very Bolivian bus.
The next stop a few hours later was a little more exciting. Bon fires and loud gunfire heralded it. Huge squads of military surrounded the bus. We all sat in stunned silence. After about 45 minutes our bus along with a long line of assorted other vehicles was guided through a field and around a huge bon fire with lots of locals in the middle of the road. Seems like the locals are tired of low wages and had created a blockade. Once more we were on our way.
The sun had risen over dusty villages and we were wondering at our sanity since we still didn't know how we were progressing the rest of the way through the country when we came to a town we didn't expect to see. Somehow the bus had diverted itself 3 hours south to Potosi. Jim grabbed my hand and our baggage and we departed the bus. So much for our planned destination of Sucre. We were getting off.
Of exceptional value are dynamite and explosives that are used in the mines. For about $1.50 you can blow up a small building if you are so inclined. We were amazed that these things were being sold with no questions asked.
When finished, wander around the main square. It is very pleasant for people watching.
Taos, New Mexico