Two hours in the back of a freight truck has landed George and me in a small and apparently nameless indigenous village at around 3600 meters above sea level. Our decision to come here was made purely by considering the quality of all vehicles departing the truck stop (a seemingly random open dirt plaza where any truck could come by and stop to pick up passengers), then carefully choosing the worst, and getting in. We were loaded into the wooden bed behind with another 30 or so passengers, all local campesinos making their way back out of town, carrying fares of birds, potatoes, and babies. There was little room to stand, and certainly no room to sit down, I resorted to the gut-wrenching ride one can experience perched atop the wooden walls of the truck bed looking down over the cliff our clumsy truck traversed so well.
After ascending into the mountains surrounding Sucre and penetrating much farther into nowhere than I ever believed to exist in the US, my knuckles began to fade into white as I gripped the metal framing of the truck that I clung onto to keep from falling off the wall, and down the 300 meter drop that lay just centimeters from our wheels.
But, we hopped off two hours later at the first seemingly pleasant and hospitable town, where we ate a meal of some soup and spicy chicken for 10 bolivianos. Notable qualities of our restaurant included their manner of meat storage - on a table by the wall. Really the only difference between this village and any ancient ruins one may find around these parts is that ancient ruins were built long ago. Other than that, the architecture and manners of construction has not changed at all. From adobe mud walls, to stone terraces, to straw roofs, it feels like falling back in time.
We were taunted in Quecheua (or so we came to conclude) by a large group of native Bolivians as we wandered the town, up to a large rock hill about a kilometer outside of the center of the village center, where the entire yellow glowing basin becomes visible under the closer-than-ever shining sun. I told George, I think we've done pretty well for 17 and 18 years old.