Wednesday, August 30, 2006

day of the filet mignon

I just had filet mignon, two pieces, wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce, veggies and french fries for less than four dollars. We are staying in a place called the Grand Hotel and it costs less than 15 dollars each night and it is fantastic but hey, let´s get back to the point, I don´t have a lot of time and Wham´s Careless Whispers just started on the internet cafe radio so...

Potosi was insane. There was a festival called Chútillios or something like that with large brass bands with drums and colorful dancers going down the main streets for hours, people drinking the awful local beer like it was their last day on earth. It was somehow related to the festival in Uyuni but much bigger. We stayed in a pension called Compania de Jesus and for 10 bucks we had a nice room but cold with a tv which we could watch the second half of Titanic in Spanish our last night there. We saw so much crazy shit, but stuff that was becoming commonplace, like young boys wanting to shine your shoes, people peeing in the streets and the smell of urine overwhelming you around some corners and the poorest old women you have ever seen wearing the most brightly colored clothes and people with horrible toe nails sticking out of their old sandals. Trust me, I don´t have pretty feet but these people have been through the spiritual ringer. I would feel bad for them but then it would never stop and I would have to give money to all of them or just sit down, overpowered by the discrepancy of the people with some money who have two maids and others who don´t have jack squat and I don´t mean, damn, I have to eat spaghetti again for dinner, I´m talking about kids about 6 years old, after you´ve turned them down for a shoeshine, ask you for 1 Boliviano which is about 12 cents so they can have a coke. We´ve been giving them little candies lately, but mostly to ease our souls.

We went on a mine tour yesterday morning. That might not mean much to you but remember that 8 million people have died in those silver mines over the past 460 years since silver was found just lying around in 1545. One writer called it the ¨mouth of hell¨and for 15 bucks a person, we got a private tour with a guy named Jorge. We went up the hill, bought some coca leaves for the miners, along with soda, pure alcohol and, are you ready for this, dynamite! Apparently it´s the only place in the world where you can buy the stuff and they are indiscriminate about who gets it. We donned yellow rain pants, jacket, boots, helmet and headlamp and went up to the mines. We went inside and had to get out of the way as a boy of about 14 came running by with a wheelbarrow full of dirt. They collect a truckload of the stuff, about 8 tons and get 800 Bolivianos for that. 8 tons of excavated material, mostly zinc and tin and that is worth 100 bucks. They had a small shrine to the devil in there but they called him "uncle" and they gave him offerings of coca leaves and each Friday drank some of that pure alcohol in his honor. He had a relatively large penis and the guide told us there are only men in the mines and that they are machoistas or some other similar Spanish word. Assiyeah just laughed at my big penis line but hey, it was true! We explored a few different holes and would hear footsteps coming through with a faint light and then whoosh, one of the dudes would go by with a wheelbarrow.

We had lunch at the market, some soup and chicken and soda for a buck total and then waited at the bus station for the Dutch guys who never showed and so we ended up getting a taxi to Sucre with a nice Italian couple. Our brakes were having problems halfway into the 2 hour ride and it sounded like the brake pads were worn down but hey, what do I know? We got into town almost 3 hours after beginning and met our host, Wolfgang but he was already full with guests so he was nice enough to take us downtown to look at a few rooms before deciding on Hostal Vera Cruz for 120 Bolivianos per night, 15 dollars. It was nice enough, with cable tv but then, after a fitful night sleep, we got ready to shower and bam, no hot water. We packed up, walked back to Wolfgang´s and after some coffee and bread, his partner made a phone call for us and we headed back down the hill to our now super charming hotel right in the center but we have yet to try the hot water so cross your fingers!

We have another day here and then on Thursday we are flying to La Paz. There ain´t too much more to add, or rather a shitload more and I wanted to surf the net a bit before our time is up. I´ll be in touch! peace...

p.s. Assiyeah got a kick out of Bush´s speech for Katrina victims and survivors yesterday when he said, "I was struck by the beauty of the beaches." Indeed....


At 12:18 AM, Blogger Moondoggie said...

Good stuff bro! I'll enjoy my hot shower even more tonight. Also, my California King bed.
But I'm the one who is still jealous!
Keep on keepin on Dukes,
Assiyeah you are a trooper!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home