Wednesday, January 28, 2004


How can it be that the longer I travel the closer I get to England?! Who's idea was it to make the world round anyway? If it was flat I could keep on travelling until I reached the edge, and I rekon that would be a spectacle to rival even the mighty Iguazu Falls in Argentina. I suppose I could do a spiral, always just missing Northern Europe, which let's face it, sucks. I guess Africa's in that direction... maybe get off the plane in Madrid and hitch to Morroco.... Mmmm, nah, I need a job. Not just for the money. I need a purpose. One whole year of directionless wandering is more than enough thank you. Don't get me wrong, I've loved every second of it, but now I need to stay in one place for more than a week and do something that earns me money and maybe even some respect. I'm still planning on becoming famous, even in the smallest possible capacity, for playing guitar and singing and improvising shit. But Hereford doesn't really seem like the ideal place to do it.... anyway, any suggestions are welcome.

So, I'm not home yet. I'm currently in La Paz, the world's highest capital city. After Uyuni I got the bus to Potosi, which is a mining town. All the gringos go there to pay money to be taken down a hole in the ground and blow up dynamite. It's really quite an eye opening experience. Here's some of what I learned:

Back in those fabulous days of discovery when Britain, Spain, France etc were busy introducing the newly discovered continents of Africa and South America to the concepts of slavery and exploitation, Potosi was the most populated city in the world. The reason? Silver. Potosi has a big mountain sat next to it, which was discovered to contain the biggest silver deposits ever recorded. So all the "developed" nations of the world went running out there to grab a piece of the action. But how to extract all that lovely shiny metal? I mean obviously we couldn't do it ourselves! We tried using those animal people we had discovered in Africa, bringing them over by the 1000´s, but they proved to be pretty useless, dying far to quickly due to the cold and the altitude, neither of which they were used to. The solution was found in the form of the local Indians, who had been annoyingly inhabiting all these great new countries we had dicovered. So the Spanish Administration decreed that all Indians had to serve at least one year down the mines, for which they were rarely paid, and invariably suffered enourmously.

So what about today? Well Bolivia is it's own country now, so the western nations have no say in the matter. Or do they? The silver is long gone, and now the miners work for themselves, extracting rock which contains a mixture of Zinc, Silver etc. They work about 9 hours or so a day, without a break, and without food. Their only sustenance is chewing coca leaves, which apparently supress your appetite and give you energy in the high altitude. They work like animals, using basic primitive equipment, namely shovels, dynamite, trolleys, and their hands. And how much do they earn? On average about US$100 a month, depending on how much they extract and how good the quality is. The average life expectancy of a miner is about 45. And what happens to all this raw material they extract? We buy it of course, at amazing bargain prices! Hooray for world economics!

Potosi is a really nice town, and I wish I could have stayed longer, but my flight from Lima is literally days away.... I'm currently trying to figure out how best to get there on time and see as many things as possible on the way. I hate it. I hate this speedy travelling! I want to just kick back in each place until the guy in the corner shop knows my name and I actually want to leave and see something new!!

By the way, have u seen this?

Wake up people. You were being lied to, you still are. But hey, at least we're gonna go to mars! Woo Hoo! U...S..A...U..S..A!!!!!

By the way, does anyone actually live in Hereford anymore? And all those who live in London... can i come visit you? I'm flying in on 6th Feb.... Jess, I'm looking in your direction... :)

ok, laters brus.

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