A Gold Mine

April 1, 2006
Day 185

Today I took a bus with Leyana from Buenos Aires to a small town about two hours from San Luis. Our first stop was to a giant cave used by native peoples over 7000 years ago. Next, we drove by some beautiful rocky landscape and stopped at several of the formations for a closer look. Finally, we went to the gold mine.

The mine was used back in the 1800's. The first thing I noticed when I started walking through it was how high the ceilings were. Unlike the mine in Potosi, Bolivia, my head remained completely intact throughout the tour. The mine's tunnel was really long, but it didn't branch off very often. Only when large gold deposits were found did the miners feel the need to dig to the sides. Toward the back of the tunnel, we branched off to the side and decided to turn our headlamps off. Never before have I experienced a darkness as complete as that. Even after five minutes, my eyes didn't adjust because there was no light to adjust to. I couldn't even see my hands when they were an inch from my face.

After the tour, it was time to head back. The only bus to San Luis didn't leave for another two hours, but a couple on our mine tour who happened to be on their honeymoon was nice enough to drive us back. The drive back was scenic, and it was a lot more fun driving around the curvy roads in a car than in a bus. We thanked the newlyweds and headed back to the hostel to end the day.

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