After leaving Sucre, we stopped in Potosi, Bolivia, a town at almost 13,500 feet, to take a tour of the silver mine there.
Lookin’ good in some mandatory mine gear!
No, no that’s not a giant tampon – it’s a stick of real dynamite! Our crazy guide threw some on the ground right in front of Pat and scared the hell out him. Luckily that doesn’t make it explode. 😉
Before we went into the mines, we took a tour of their facilities where they extract the silver from the rock … involving these giant crushing machines (a technical term).
Miners were coming in and out, since it’s still a very active mine. Our guide even suggested we go a different way at one point because “they are using dynamite down there I think”. Yes, let’s please not go down that way then.
The entrance to the mine painted with bright blue colors.
Midway through our trek through the mountain, we had to climb a series of ladders to get three levels above. It was terrifyingly janky, especially when I can barely maneuver on and off a ladder under normal circumstances. It was an interesting combination of claustrophobia and fear of heights.
For a good portion of the tour we had to bend over quite a bit – those tunnels were so tiny! I can’t believe the miners can navigate them day in and day out. I was glad I had a helmet on quite a few times, too.
It looks like I’m threatening him with my hammer, but I assure you I’m not. His mouth was completely full of coca leaves. He was a very friendly guy!
Ohhh this guy. Midway through the tour we came across this shrine that miners built to the powers that be inside the mountain – protecting them from accidents. They present it with coca leaves, cigarettes, beer, and this insanely strong basically-nail-polish-remover alcohol.
The literal light at the end of the tunnel!
He’s a BIG DEAL. (That was the name of the tour company we used)
Well that was just adorable.