Potosí

I liked the city of Potosi, even tough some people told me it was not so good. The colonial architecture is remarkable in the center of the city. The first day I went to visit the “Casa de la Moneda”, one of the most organized guided tour from the whole trip. They showed a little of the colonial and religious painting from the time. Later we found out how money was done. We started seeing the first shapes, when all the work was manual, made for slaves. Then the mechanical work, with enormous machines pulled by mules, and also the electric process with machines that run by engines. There is also in the museum a room displaying objects of anthropologists and archaeologists studies. It can be seen mummies, ceramics and tapestry.

In the second day I decided to visit one of the mines in the famous Cerro Rico mountain. Tour started with an explanation about the materials of the miners: dynamite (to blow up parts of the mine), leaves of coca (to bear the altitude and deceive the hunger), tobacco and a drink (pure alcohol, to relax a little from the hard work). It is a habit the visitors to bring gifts to the miners. We stop to buy a little of each thing.

We wear rubber boots, jackets and helmet. They gave up some sort of gas lights to enter in the mine. I was a little anxious, sometimes I faint when in small places without air (we were inside of a cave at an altitude of 4000). I asked the guide get my photo equipment in case I fainted. The paths were very strait, we had to bend to walk through. We were hitting our heads the whole time (good idea the helmets). In some places the path was so difficult that we had to jump dark holes holding a rope. We visit the ¨tío¨, a doll representing a good who protects the miners. We offer him tobacco and alcohol. We smoked and drank with him. We met some miners working. Each one is working alone the whole day in the dark. The place is predetermined by their cooperative. For sure that is a very hard life.

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