Globalization is nothing new – the indigenous peoples slaving away in the Potosi mines 500 years ago could tell you all about it, while Europeans cracked the whip in order to buy Asian-made goods at affordable prices. Add in the fact that the mines were supplied with food and coca by African slaves laboring away in the low lands, and you have a template for the modern integrated global economy – exploitation, unequal rewards, and all. Continue reading “Potosi and the Globalization of an Empire”
This may have looked like a blog about some dude’s vacation. And I won’t lie, I’ve absolutely enjoyed myself out here. But it has been so much more than just a trip through South America… The reason I wanted to be here – and the reason that Fund for Teachers so generously funded my research – is that there is something seriously lacking in the historical and cultural education of our students, at least in the United States where I teach. Continue reading “July 27, 2016: New Horizons in South America and Beyond”
Author Charles C. Mann has called Tiwanaku a combination of the Vatican and Disney World, and he may be spot on in that description. Just check out the stone megaphones for working the massive crowds of pilgrims that, in pre-Inca times, once trekked here to pay their dues, or the 25 foot tall megalithic being recovered from the ruins here, only to spend decades as a target for beer bottles in front of La Paz’s soccer stadium, rescued only when he achieved UNESCO statues along with the rest of Tiwanaku. Now that is religious entertainment…. Continue reading “July 26, 2016: Tiwanaku, Aliens in Ancient Bolivia, and the Ruins of an Old World”
There was nothing deep about today… except the steep canyon, its greedy mouth open wide to my left hand side. My mountain bike skids in the dust, but I’m alright. It’s just the Death Road..
This morning, I woke up on the bus from Potosi, just as we entered La Paz, and two million little lights called out in the darkness to welcome me. I was going to spend this day with the city. Continue reading “July 24, 2016: Cable Cars, Folk Masks, and Fighting Cholitas”
Inside the mines of Potosi, it is hot and the air is thick with silica and other particulate that will leave you with a nasty set of respiratory disorders if you stay here a few years. I’m just visiting to the morning, but it is telling that the guys who work here seem to be firmly between the ages of 18 and 35 or so. You don’t get old doing this job. Continue reading “July 23, 2016: An Offering for Tio”