The highest city of its size in the World!
09.08.2007 4 °C
The journey to this city was bumpy and long. We had watched the sun set and continued along some scarey roads in a bus that had really passed its use by date! After a few windows falling out and picking up a few hitchhikers along the way, we eventually saw the dizzying lights on the horizion.
Potosi was once the richest city in the world because of the silver mine here. An extinct volcano that dominates the the city is where all the action was to be had! We were very lucky to be here in the 1st of August as this day was the only time of the year when the miners pay sacrifice to Pachamama (Mother Earth) for all the wealth the land has given them.
Not a good combo
We quickly booked up a tour through the mines and bought gifts for the guys who work in its dingy depths. This was bizarre - it would probably be David´s only chance to ever buy dynamite! With a fuse and stick of TNT in hand we ventured down into the merky depths of the mines and witnessed what these guys had to do....it was all by chisel, hammer and brute force. We were shaken by at least 15 blasts of dynamite from the above and below tunnels. Needless to say this made us feel very exposed! We handed over our gifts (reluctantly!) and made our way outside to the party! There were two llamas at the entrance to our tunnel, looking rather edgy as you´d probably expect. They were dosed up with alcohol and coca leaves before being bundled to the ground. The manager came out sharpening his knife and proceeded to cut each head off. Blood spurting in all direction they gathered the red stuff and began spraying the walls, themselves, us and all the equipment with the warm fresh blood. With the llamas still jerking in the background we declined the offer to a BBQ and made our way back into the town with several explosions around us marking the annual celebration we had just witnessed!
We´ll never forget that! Meat was off the menu for a few hours at least!
The rest of the evening was full of explosions and as you probably expect, alcohol (96% - lethal stuff!) and TNT don´t really mix. It turned into riots and rocks being thrown....a bit scarey as it all seemed to be outside our hostel, which proved rather tricky when we wanted to get inside!