July 21, 2006
Our bus out of town left today at 3:00 AM. I'm not sure why it left so ridiculously early, especially considering that the ride was only twelve hours, which meant that we would get back to La Paz in the middle of the afternoon.
After a few hours, when we were near the border with Peru, we stopped in the middle of nowhere. It was pitch black outside at first, but when the sun started coming up, I noticed a fair amount of activity outside the bus's frosted windows. I asked around and learned that every Friday at sunrise, there was a market for all of the neighboring communities in the middle of nowhere at nearly 5000 meters. I walked around for awhile, but it was so cold, my fingers and toes quickly became numb. The most interesting thing I saw was a bunch of guys melting gold with blowtorches, and Craig bought a poncho right off a guy's back. I'm not sure if it was for a souvenir or just for warmth. The market at that time and place was the most bizarre thing I've seen in a long time.
The ride back to La Paz was long but beautiful once again. After we got into town, Craig got the drugs he needed. I wasn't able to sleep much on the bus, so I was too tired to do anything else today. I'll work on my plans for the next few weeks tomorrow.