Written by team member Nicholas Hirschfeld, worthy of a Booker prize perhaps???!
On Wednesday, the third of February, we arrived in Potosi and acclimatized to the 4300 meter altitude. The following morning we donned green jumpsuits, Wellies and helmets with headtorches and went to the miner´s market. There, we drank 96% alcohol and chewed coca leaves to begin our day in the fashion of a typical Bolivian miner. Ross braved the worst bathroom of this trip so far, and perhaps the worst bathroom any of us had ever seen.
After buying gifts of beer, more nearly pure ethanol and coca leaves, we took a dust filled bus ride 200 meters above Potosi to a mine on the infamous Cerro Rico. We journeyed through the mines for about 2 hours along a sprawling web of tunnels that ranged from muddy to dusty and head height to waist height. We ventured to the room of the Tio, god of the mines, and gave offerings of alcohol, coca leaves and cigarettes to ensure our safe passage through the mines. Afterward, Amy lit her birthday candle, which took the form of a stick of dynamite that was ignited near the mines. We ended our day with a llama barbecue and a nice swim at some thermal baths.
The following day we took a 6 hour bus ride to Uyuni, on an entirely dirt road, in sweltering heat with only one functioning window. We immediatly left Uyuni, divided into three jeeps. For the next four days we drove across the altiplano and took in some amazing sights. We saw beautiful multicoloured lakes, flamingoes, we bathed in a steaming thermal bath with the most incredible veiws, climbed huge rocks around the rock tree and finished off with a breathtaking sunrise over the salt flats. Even though we had to get up at 3.50am for the sunrise, in the pitch black, and freezing cold it was still worth it. On the salt flats we took some hilarious perspective photos and saw the stunning effect of water on the salt flats.
Tonight we look forward to a ten hour night bus ride which will take us to La Paz.