Come See The Mountain

In Deca Originals

First you get the dynamite. You can buy it openly and without any paperwork for about a dollar a stick.

This neighborhood in the Bolivian city of Potosí is one of the only places in the world where such a transaction is legal. Dynamite is a common workplace implement here. So is booze. You have to buy that, too—preferably the purest kind, even to the point of flammability. A brand called Ceibo, named for a type of flowering tree, does the job. The liquid is colorless and burns the esophagus going down. A few swigs will intoxicate . . .

 

 

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Tom Zoellner
Tom Zoellner is the author of five nonfiction books, including The Heartless Stone, Train, A Safeway in Arizona, and Uranium. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Time, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he has reported from Rwanda, Angola, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, India, South Africa, Israel, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Serbia. An associate professor of English at Chapman University, Tom lives in downtown Los Angeles.