Beyond Uyuni to Potosi

At the foot of the Cerro de Potosí (referred to as the Cerro Rico or rich mountain) lies Potosi. There’s not too much to be said about the small town of Potosi. The basis of its existence, due to the silver mine, founded in 1545, producing around 60% of the worlds silver in the latter half of the 16th century.

The mine continues to operate to this day, despite the horrific working conditions of the miners. The average life expectancy for a Cerro Rico miner is 40 and the death toll is high! Tours are advertised to the mine with an emphasis on exposing the poor conditions of workers, without ever addressing or remedying said conditions (further exploiting workers). The silver lining, being that some ex silver miners run the tours and tourists are encouraged to bring presents in the way of food, coca leaves etc to give to the miners.

I spend time wandering through Potosi, admiring its quaint streets, doorways and beautiful buildings, even making use of its local gym #iworkout.

Sitting at 4090 meters, it’s not surprising I’m short of breath in Potosi after undertaking strenuous activities such as moving from my bed, to the bathroom. Altitude is a killer. No idea how people participate in vigorous sexual activity in these conditions… so probably a good way to manage population growth right?!

At night, a group of us go to the local supermarket to purchase supplies for a couple of nights worth of drinking and frivolity.

Both nights end with Elvar, after a couple of half assed attempts to undertake our sunset/ wine date (only ever fulfilling the wine portion).

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