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2003-01-26 - 7:23 a.m.

I met Roberto, Nelson, and Diego on the way to the Inca-Rakay ruins. I went to the Inca-Rakay ruins because I had spent four hours of the previous day in an Internet cafe - even the person working behind the counter made fun of me (as she was taking my money). I thought a day trip was in order.

So I took a bus to Quillacollo, and another bus to Sipe-Sipe, where I hired two young boys to show me the right road. Roberto, Nelson, and Diego joined us at some point - I thought they would leave when I dismissed the guides, but Roberto assured me that he liked to walk, and he liked to talk to travelers, and he wanted to walk all the way to the top. My "single woman traveling alone" defense mechanism kicked in, and I surreptitiously slipped my Swiss army knife in my pocket. But all my worrying was for naught - I think the boys were just bored. And I had someone to talk to for the two and a half hour walk up to the ruins. Roberto and Nelson were brothers; Diego was their neighbor. I mostly talked to Roberto, while Nelson and Diego scrambled ahead of us. He was a gentle guy, with a quiet demeanor, and easily frightened - of heights, of the steep staircase, of the cows. I couldn't quite figure him out. Then he told me that the exercise was good for him; he'd been sick lately.
"Were you very sick?" I asked.
"I was in the hospital."
"For how long?"
"Two years." Turns out he was admitted for depression. He gets nervous, he told me. He thinks too much.

Most of these pictures were taken by Nelson and Diego. They really liked the digital camera.

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