After taking the night bus to Potosi from La Paz I decided to do a tour of the Cerro Rico Mines. This mine has yielded more silver than any other mountain or region in the world. It is also a place of bravery, tragedy, pain and joy. Although countless people have shared the wealth generated from Potosi, a much greater number of people have suffered as a consequence. The tour started with a visit to the Miners market where the miners can buy anything from torches to dynamite. At this market you are expected to buy the miners a present and to my amazement I was able to buy them some dynamite for about 1 Pound. Our group also bought some extra dynamite for our tour guide to give a demonstration of how the dynamite works, you will see in the photos that I am holding the dynamite. After this we entered the mine and it was probably one of the worst and most dangerous experiences of my life and was certainly not enjoyable. The working conditions must be one of the worst in any job in the world. There is very little oxygen, lots of dust, it is very hot and they work in very small spaces. It was an incredible experience to watch them working for 12 hours in these conditions and frightening to think that the many of the miners start working at the age of 14. I was very relieved to be out of the mine but it certainly made me realise how lucky I am to have my job.
After the excitement of the mine I took the bus to Salar de Uyuni to visit the largest lake of salt in the world. This is another amazing place and is a huge area of white salt that makes for stunning scenery particularly with the added reflection form the sun. We also visited Fish Island possibly the strangest thing you would expect to see on the lake as it is a small desert with lots of cactus on it.
I am currently at Tupiza for the weekend and on Monday I will start my journey into Argentina for the final week of my trip. NEW PHOTOS ADDED SHOWING TRIP IN TUPIZA