So we´re in the capital of bolivia which doesnt really mean much in this country except there are a few more streets selling the same tacky bits and a lot more beggars hitting your arms with caps and cups trying to get money! Great fun!
So since uyuni we got a bus to Potosi to visit the silver mines. They were the most horrific working conditions i have ever seen. Kids from the age of 12 work in the mines for 10-15 hours per day 6 or 7 days a week. The hours have got better recently but the conditions are still awful. We got dressed up in overalls, boots and helmets with head torches and went on a tour that went 2km into the mountain. The mines changed from being really dusty and stony to soaking wet as we walked through water up to our ankles to a mixture of the two with the occasional spot of aspestos.
We had to crouch down most of the way but occasionally we crawled on our hands and knees. The workers in there chew coca leaves in the side of the mouths thyat provides them with energy and surpresses their hunger whilst numbing their mouth! They generate huge balls in the sides of the mouths which makes them look extremely gormless! They also drink 96 per cent alcohol which we tried!
At the furthest point in the temperature was unbearable and the miners were shovelling barrel loads of rocks and dirt every minute. I gave it a go as a bit of a toursit photo op and it was really hard work! On top of the conditions every now and again a cart goes by carrying dirt and you have to jump out of the way - we had some very close experiences!
Outside of the mines we had bought some dynamite with some additional immonium nitrate (spelt wrong!) to make a bigger explosion! Before i knew it the guide had lit my stick and I was running down the hill to place it in a hole. After a short sprint to the top again to watch it explode the dynamite went off and despite knowing it was coming we all still jumped! The sound was deafening - even louder than Boca´s fans in argentina...well for that brief moment!
From potosi we travelled to sucre where we relaxed for a few days, ate in a local market which was a real experience as we ate something called ´mondongo´that we still don´t know what it was! I also had a whole 2 litres of fruit smoothie for a pound! The only notable thing we did was go to a dinosaur park where they had discovered a few foot prints but they had made into a massive atttraction! Being in a silly mood it was really good fun as they had huge dinosaur models that ranged up to 30m long!
From sucre we arrived in La paz - had a full english on our first day, checked into a 3 star hotel for our stay and relaxed watching tv! On saturday it was emily´s birthday so we went quad biking around the hills looking over la paz and went for a really good dinner!
On sunday it was time to mountain bike down death road (google this now!) It was crazy!! roads made from rubble, sheer 400m plus drops and as wide as my punto in some areas! It was extremely scary but worthwhile! I nearly fell off a couple of times but all was good. However, a long the road there a re a number of sites with memorials for those that have fallen in the past which was a very strange feeling as your hurtle down a small road with huge boulders!!
The last couple of days have been about relaxtion - a long massage for 8 pounds, tv, a good curry and some sightseeing! We also had an ice cream that was around 600g for 1 pound!
All going well and leaving on our tour tomorrow! Hope all is well! Internet time running low byeeee xxxxxxx