I am now in San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile.
The past (and last) two weeks in Bolivia have been incredibly interesting. I spent a few days in Potosí, the world's highest city (4070m) and once also the richest in America for the apparently inexhaustible silver mines of its Cerro Rico.
There are many tours to visit the mines but I decided not to go. I put myslf in the miners' shoes ad I don't think I would appreciate seeing thousands of tourists every day while trying to do an incredibly hard job.
The thought of being with a bunch of tourists who may use the dynamite (unbelievably provided by the tour agency) only because they think it's cool made me shiver, so I watched "The Devil's Miner" instead. It's a documentary I strongly recommend to anyone interested in knowing more not only about life in the mines but also about Bolivian culture. It's a tough movie as it's the story of a child miner but it's very informative and sadly also a living matter.
Alter Potosí I went to the Salar de Uyuni, which is the world's largest salt flat (12,100 sq km). I can't find the words to describe it, this impressive white nothingness is such a surreal sight! Not to mention la Isla Incahuasi which adds hundreds of thousand-year cacti (is cacti the plural of cactus???) to the immense white desert. Have a look at the pictures, when I say it's surreal I mean it!
At the Laguna Colorada and the geysers I also managed to survive a staggering temperature of minus 20 degrees…I must admit it felt very cold but not as cold as I imagined -20 would be.
After the Salar de Uyuni the landscape towards Chile is not less breathtaking with stunning lagoons and deserts of impossible colours.
Arriving to Chile after Peru and Bolivia is a bit like coming back to civilisation, but unfortunately at the price of civilisation! Everything costs twice or three times as much as in the neighbour countries. San Pedro is a very nice tiny village close to geysers, salt flats, the beautiful Cordillera de la Sal, fairy-tale lakes and other wonders. The sunset at the Valley of the Moon (so called for its surreal lunar landscape) was one of the best I have ever seen. In my opinion, the Valley itself should be one of the 7 natural wonders.
I have planned to travel towards south and see as much as possible in Chile for the next three weeks and then I'll go to Buenos Aires where I will be working for CELS (Centre of Social and Legal Studies) as well as for th City Government. CELS offered a job that has to do with human rights and mental health (they deal mainly state terrorism, so with the rights of the victims of torture or of the families of the desaparecidos and the like). I am not sure what makes me qualified for such a position but I am well excited!