Day 26 28/10/09
Chris and I went to find some food before our trip to Potosi. We found a good looking Burger restaurant and were promised food in 15 minutes. 45 minutes late it arrived, not bad for Bolivia! The burger was huge with every feasible combination on it. I managed to eat about half before my stomach felt like it was ready to explode, not aided by the fact I had to wolf it down. Chris managed to wrap his up in a napkin and we rushed to the bus only a few minutes late.
Our bus was a private bus which made things more comfortable despite the fact that the roads for the most part were nothing more than dirt tracks. The views however, were spectacular as the bus weaved us along through the mountains. We even saw twisters and numerous llamas. We arrived late in Potosi and had no real time to explore before dinner. The restaurant we went to, called Cafe Mirador, was brilliant. I had pollo picante which although not as spicy as I may have likes was phenomenally tasty.
Day 27 29/10/09
In the morning Dario had organised for us to visit an orphanage instead of the silver mines. I found this a far better option, the silver mines still employed children and the workers suffer dreadful conditions. Personally I found it much better to spend my time and money on an orphanage than supporting the mines. Before our actual visit we met our guide and she took us round the local markets. We bought essentials such as flour, sugar, powdered milk and ice. Then onto the toys! Dinosaurs, action men, Lego and balls. On our arrival at the orphanage we were shown around the facilities. The children at the orphanage suffered different disabilities as a result of the mining so there were rooms for physiotherapy, vocal work and social support. When we met the children they applauded our visit and were delighted by the toys we bought them. After the ladies who ran it showed us the kitchen. Their funds are spent on the medical side of the project, for foodstuffs they rely on charity. The bread the children made was fantastic. From the orphanage we went to a Catholic old folk’s home following on from the order of Mother Theresa. It was a delightful place with an enormous kitchen. The old folks were ecstatic to see us. Some had been abandoned on the street, so they appreciate anyone who actually bothered to take the time to visit them.
That afternoon we went to Casa de Moneda, Potosi's mint. We took the English tour and our guide explained the minting process for coins mainly bound for Spain. The process wet from simple hammer stamping, to pressing, to machines powered by steam and finally electricity. It was quite interesting; at the end we were told that Bolivia now imports its money from Spain, France and even Canada.
After the tour we popped across the road for coffee and cake at Koala Cafe, nice!
That evening we went for a late diner at El Pogon. The garlic bread at the start boded well for the meal ahead. On Dario's recommendation Chris and I both had the Pique a lo Macho. IT was enormous and incredibly mourish. Consisting of a bowlful of beef, chicken, sausage and chips in a thick spicy gravy topped off with a green chili salad, it actually managed to defeat me. By the end I was so full and had to half waddle home.