Fer, Ash, and Group:

Saludos from a tiny internet joint on Calle Illampu in La Paz. The stickiness of this keyboard will shorten what I want to share. Mostly– Welcome Home! and I miss you!

I met a fellow traveler, Gustavo, in the Juliaca airport. Gustavo is from Santa Cruz and was determined to make it to the Bolivian border and onto La Paz for his 10pm flight home. We shared a taxi and hours of conversation about Bolivian politics (among other comments, he said that both coca leaf cultivation and cocaine production are up; that the Santa Cruz autonomy movement will take years; that Bolivian migration to Europe has doubled…he was not a total pessimist nor exclusively critical of Morales, but he remained true to his Santa Cruz roots. Santa Cruz is the economic power-state of Bolivia and they are constantly fighting for a little of La Paz´s hyper-centralized political control) and food (he admitted that ceviche outdoes any Bolivian dish. He also questioned my ¨chickaterianism¨). We drove the shore of Lake Titicaca as the sun set (Illimani and Huayna Potosí decorating the horizon) and, with $20 under the table to compensate for my lack of yellow fever card, crossed the border. I met my folks at their hotel by 10:30, exhausted and incredulous that there were no meds to hand out, no rooms filled with boots and bodies to say goodnight to, no morning plan.

I think of all of you. Enjoy your ipods, burgers, summer heat, friends and family. Stay in touch. And, as you will, Remember. You are phenomenal people. It is a great privilege and joy to have shared a July of Peruvian adventures.

Love from La Paz, where my lungs again burn and the cancha is dry, delicious, and is sold out of 3 feet deep wheel barrows….

Ellie