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The Judicial office told us we were authorized to go with the police into the gold mining camp and said that we would be going the following morning but that they couldn’t tell us what time, just be ready to leave at a moments notice.

At 4am there was a bang on our door and a warning; we leave in 5 minutes. I threw on my clothes grabbed my water bottle and camera and hopped into the white 4×4 with a dirtbike in the back.

There was a 45 minute ride to where we would meet  the rest of the police. half an hour in we found a police van of fully outfitted special ops officers,  broke down but couldn’t offer them much help.

We parked on the shoulder of the road and hopped out just as about 50 other police officers were swarming into the little stilted city of tarp buildings and shacks. people were everywhere looking on but I later found out that it isn’t much of an event to them because it happens monthly.

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We walked for about an hour and a half through forest until the trees began to disappear and sand became the dominant geographical feature. The miners cut the trees to build their shanty towns and structures to support the mining. The mining process contaminates the soil and reduces any further chance at life on the pampa.

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Walking in we found what looked like a little camp where someone was living. there was a cell phone that the police looked at then threw back down after digging through their other possessions.

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An elite group had come in at 12 under cover of darkness and began confiscating keys to motorcycles and forcing all the miners into one corner of the camp to reduce the chance of resistance.

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The miners use Car motors to pump sand and water from pits and then filter out the gold. The explosives experts attached charges to the motors to blast holes into them to make them useless. in total 21 motors and 10 barrels of gasoline were blown up on this trip. They got fancy here and had 7 motors linked to explode one after the other.

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While they were rigging one of the motors to explode i moved a backpack from a stump to the ground and a police came running over and said careful that’s my backpack its got things that go boom inside.

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before each explosion we had to move back 100 meters and lean against a tree trunk to protect against the shock wave.

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The cheif complimenting on a good days work while reeming out a few for being unprofessional, mainly taking pictures with Weronika.

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any of those barrels could have exploded at any time; thanks for the warning guys.

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I keep seeing this written everywhere, “No Votar Basura” I think I could be a misspelling of no Botar basura but the spelling error makes for an ironic read, “dont vote for garbage” instead of, “dont litter”

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when we got back we had some things to take care of before trying to catch our 630om bus. for stupid reasons we started arguing at the hostal. I was going to shower but i was moving too slow so Weronika went to shower. i had given her the key because i thought i was going to shower but in anger she took it off and threw it on the bed. I closed the lock on the door, she finished showering first and asked for the key but I didnt have it so she got all bent out of shape over how we will get into the room. i knew security was crap at that place and told her not to worry. I grabbed the lock and hulked the nail unbent and the door swung open.

After running around to make the bus the shower felt pretty useless and we ended up having to wait about 45 minutes before the bus for Puno on lake Titicaca left.