Monday, 2 March 2015

The Devils miner...

  Hard at work in Potosi
I made it back to Potosi a few days ago, while waiting for my buddy to arrive i decided to go on a tour to not waste any time.

What to do? Do the mine tour again of course, it´s what people come here, they made a movie too, its called ´The Devils miner´, more information here, or just watch it here

Its not just any tour, its rated the most dangerous tour in the world, for a good reason too i think.

All ready?

I went to Amigos de Bolivia and off we went.

The mountain, over eight million died in this mountain

The last time i went, we went to the top of the mountain, this company took me to the bottom of the hill, in the top its cold, at the bottom its room temperature, you go down deeper, it gets hot, very hot!

We walked in about 500 meters, then we went up ladders, up ladders, down ladders, reminded me of snakes and ladders, and we got to where the mine boss was.
I was near a 200 meter hole at one point, no barriers, no warning, you go in, its bye bye buddy, you´d be a statistic the eight million plus one, person to be taken by the mountain.

 Not a single sign like this

We could hear blasting on the tour, no problem, no problem!
 In my previous roles in Gas and Electricity companies, they were mad about health and safety, it would drive you nuts, a little cable on the ground, you have to write a report, i wonder what they would make of this mine? I think no way a bat would be allowed into these caves, no way!!

Mine boss (sounds German?)

We go to witness the mine boss pulling up one tonne buckets of ore from below, tough work. Rock with minerals is very heavy stuff, he would make $500 per week if he is really lucky

Machine to pull up the rocks

Workers pulling down one ton of rocks and dust from the shaft above

Workers pushing out 1 ton of rocks

The workers doing all the heavy pushing get about $30 per day, they start at 2am until noon, then back at it in the afternoon, they work over 12 hours of this, not much of a dream there.

The mountain has 500 entrances and employs 16,000 people, when the mine runs out in 15 years, they will be moving the operation down the hill, to follow the veins of silver, down into the earths core

We saw one guy that had to load about 140 wheel barrows and move it 30 meters per day, heavy work, i loaded one wheel barrow, i´m going to stick to my day job!!!
Whats funny is the people there look happy, and they got happier when we gave them juice and coca leaves.

The mine boss at work

Since they cant eat in the mine, there is so much poisonous stuff down there, one of them being arsenic, they chew coca leaves.
The last tour i did i was told they have to pee (Bear Grills style) on their hands to put the leaves in their mouth.

You´d think there would be showers for the miners, no nothing, you probably wouldn't want to sit next to a guy covered in dust on your way home in the bus either?

Uncle Tio (or the Devil)

Every mine has a Tio, or Devil, introduced by the Spanish to get the slaves to work hard, underground they work for the Tio

The miners gay test

The miners on Fridays go to the Tio and have a smoke with him, they light a cigarette for him, place it in his mouth and drink Ceibo, 96% proof alcohol, they do a big ´Aghhhhhh´ and beat their chests, if you don't do that, your gay

Our tour guide

She was the only one that passed the gay test, i would have settled for a Pina Colada

A little gift

As part of the tour, they stop, we give them juice and coca leaves, before we gave them TNT and Dynamite, oh how times change, the last time i was here 6 years ago, some guy bought TNT, Dynamite and blew up some hostel, talk about a bad hostel review?

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