First impressions of Potosi
I am interested in the process by which first impressions are made. It is difficult to judge South American towns and cities accurately until you've had some time to get used to them. The experience of arriving at every new South American town or city inevitably involves a journey through the poverty-stricken slums on the outskirts, usually ending at a chaotic bus terminal in only slightly more salubrious surroundings, and the net result of this process is that the visitor has to struggle not to immediately declare: "What a shithole." In some cases that judgement turns out to be accurate.
Not, I am glad to say, in the case of Potosi. Though it is certainly faded from its silver-mining colonial boomtown days of the 16th and 17th centuries, there is still a mountain of character and charm in its layout, architecture, and pace of life. The pace of life has to be slow, at this altitude nothing happens at speed.
I bumped into Peter Hahndorf again, my old friend from the Saltmine days, and we're potentially going to be doing a mine tour in the Cerro Rico mountain which looms over this town later today, if we are feeling up to it. I am a little out of sorts, though whether due to the altitude or the llama burger I ate last night is up for debate.
My netbook hard drive is making funny noises again, certainly glad I have a backup. I am already at 32GB of photos and only halfway through my trip, with several photographic big hitters left in my itinerary (Uyuni salt flats, coloured lakes, Macchu Picchu to name a few). Hope the netbook does the distance!