That was the first thing the tour guide Andre told us. ‘People went down to mine Galena, not lead‘, he said. And Galena could make people rich – was what I remembered – which was what caught me off-guard, because I have always thought that mining was a job for the poor and unmotivated.
And so was my assumption a complete bungle, because these miners, apart from deserving utmost respect from the unknowing public, revealed a strangely determined and adventurous spirit; to venture southwards and resurface with treasures from and near the centre of the earth. The highly intrepid process of feeding dynamite powder to a most pernicious pit makes me wonder if there can ever be a scale generous enough to measure the level of audacity they have in them to have carried out such a task.
And for this lesson learnt (complements to the compelling narratives of the tour guide), I salute the 33 Chilean miners who, just a week or so ago, re-emerged from down-under and brought along a spark in them to rekindle all beliefs in hope on earth.
A pity we couldn’t take any pictures inside the mine itself, as it was wet, not only from the condensation of the stream we were walking in, but also due to the rhythmically dripping water from above our heads. One bad move and there goes the camera.
These photos were taken along the ‘Spooky Trail’ (it is almost Halloween season), which wasn’t that spooky – the autumn scenery overwhelmed the spookiness of the forest with its calming serenity.
Lastly, we were presented with 2 rather unexpected souvenirs by the tour guide himself – a piece of Galena and Fluorspar right from the mine itself! I’m definitely going to keep them safe with me and eventually bring them back to Singapore, where they could be ensured of a polished and happy ending to their story.