Filth of the Potosí mines
I really did get absolutely filthy from my tour of the Potosí mines today. They gave us special protective clothing, which we wore over our own, and then gave back to them at the end of the tour. I had a long and thorough hot shower, when I got back to the Koala Den this afternoon. And I took all my clothes to the lavanderia this evening, for an emergency laundry wash (making a special exception to Jaza's law of washing). And even with all that, I still can't get the nauseating smell of the mines off my person, or the taste of the mines out of my mouth. Really, really filthy place.
Blowing up dynamite at Potosí: video
After we finished our tour of the Potosí mines today, we had some fun outside. Our tourguides got three of our packages of dynamite, ammonium nitrate, and fuse; ran about 50m down the road with them; and then ran back before they exploded. One of the packages got stuffed inside a cute little teddy bear. Poor little guy left this world with a big bang. Check out the video here.
Potosí mines tour
Today, I went on the famous tour of the mines of Potosí: the No. 1 thing to do here in Potosí, and the main reason why tourists come to this town at all. The tour was very dark, very cramped, very asphyxiating, and very disturbing. The mountain of Cerro Rico currently has 15,000 miners working in 400 mines, in positively hellish conditions. The mountain has been constantly mined for over 400 years. Experts predicted about 10 years ago that the mountain had about 7 years left, before the whole thing came crashing down, due to its foundations being literally "undermined". And it's still going.