Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Potosi mine trip Part 1

Photos are from the Atakama desert trip from San Pedro to Yuni

So, i ended up paying 40 Bolivianos for a mine tour ticket, others paid 60-100, first we stopped off at the market to buy coca leaves. The miners have a drink thats 96% proof, they do not mix it, they think it is lucky to drink it straight, fair enought, they are all dying quickly anyways.

When i arrived in Potosi the miners had a festival of ´Pacha Mamma´ or mother earth. you see guys all over South America when they drink Alochol, they tip a bit on the ground for Pacha Mamma, i´m thinking all this global warming business it that mother earth is after having a few too many and needs to dry out a bit, could be :)

So when the mines finish on Friday, some of them sit by the Altars in the mines for the Tio, or the Devil and they make him offerings, like American cigarettes, he only smokes American, the guy has class me thinks, but you´d think when they finish they would want to go home or to a friends place might be the thing, but no.

He is called ´Tio´, because in the Quechua language there is no D, so they couldnt pronounce Dios, so Tios became Tio, Tio means uncle in Spanish.

The reason the devil for the devil is because the native slaves refused to work in the mines, so the King of Spain had a giant devil made up and said, you now work for this guy and if you dont work hard, bad things will happen to you, and none of the Spanish wanted to go into the mnes to whip the slaves, and Spain did really well, there is only 12-13 years left in the mine, around 8 million people have died in the mountain, 4 guys died last week from gas poisoning.

Some of the slaves didn´t see daylight for 6 month´s.

The altar the miners have underground is an altar to the devil, overground Jebus is the man. Althought i´m not sure about that one, the church built in 1910 i was told is now a TV transmitter station.

One of the reasons the miners live so long is they chew Coca leaves, the indeginous slaves that did not like chewing coca leaves died very quickly, coca leaves and not Weetabit boys and girls!!!

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