Oruro’s history

October 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here is a last polaroid from Uyuni, just forgot about it.

I then dedided to take the train (one of only 2 still used train connectionsin Bolivia) to Oruro, also a former centre of mining. Oruro was especially famous for vaste tin resources. Simon Piturri Patino was the owner of several mines in Oruro at the beginning of the last century, and by the 1940s he controlled the international tin market and was one of the wealthiest men in the world, having nicknames like “The King of Tin” or “The Andean Rockefeller.” Nowadays, Oruro still has mining industry but fairly small and from the richness that used to be very obvious in the city, there is not very much left ever. I walked around and on the outskirts of the city, I found abandonded production plants. Strange enough, the area you see in the next photo, is still guarded by a police men and aggressive dogs. As I can hardly imagine that they a re-opening this plant again, why do the guard it?


Walking around, I saw this comprehensive illustration on hair cuts…

…and found a great shop with a great story.

Dona Maria Irene Enriquez, 88 years old, has been hand-making and selling kites for 70 years now, always at this location in the centre of Oruro. And if you are a little bit familiar with bolivian 20st century history with all it’s revolutions and military dictators etc, running this shop for 70 years is just an amazing achievement. I said something like this to her, but she only replied: “Siempre tranquilo” – always quietly and relaxed, and it’s gonna be fine. Maybe one could say: take it easy!

There is a college next to the shop (beside from kites she sells everything school kids love, from Coca Cola to sweets), and she just said the next day she would have to deliver 50 kites to the college.

(Dona Maria sits in the middle of the photo, hard to see though )

If I remeber correctly, the biggest kites cost about 15 Bolivianos, around 1,80 Euro maybe. I asked her how much time it takes to make these kites (guessing that it would take quite some time to make 50 kites…), but she said “rapidito”, quickly. Experience wins.

Though when I first entered the shop, she said she doesn’t have time, her sons would come for “almuerzo”, lunch, and she needs to do shopping and cook. But I knew my bus would leave soon, so I did as quick as I could, set up camera and tripod and made her happy with a polaroid – after shooting one role of film for myself.

One more polaroid shows my “privat bathroom”, with open power lines. No shower in this place,amigos.

Photographing bolivian food once in a while I think maybe I should close every post with a food photograph. NOT! As you can see, business as usual: Rice, french fries, some meat. With one soup ahead, 1,60 Euro. For all those hip Berlin boys and girls (yes K., I got you in mind) that are on a no-carb diet right now: you’d starve to death at a bolivian lunch time.


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