so good in all my life, for the mixture of dry goat's meat and oats made an excellent soup. It
was late when we finished the meal, and then we squatted around the fire to warm ourselves,
became livelier once the stomachs were full, and when I produced more coca leaves and even
a few cigarettes, the men's eyes fairly sparkled with joy. Many were the tales of mystery I
heard that night whilst sitting near the fire in that lonely hut high up in the cold andwindswept
mountain near the Bolivian border.
When the time came to make our beds it was no easy matter to make everybody fit in the
small space available, but soon we were all rolled up in our blankets on the floor, and as the
glow of the embers became less and less, the cold became more intense, and outside I could
hear the animals munching their fodder, every now and again giving one of those peculiar
snorts horses are accustomed to give when the cold penetrates their nostrils.
FortwodaysIhadthepleasantcompanyofthese arrieros ,withtheirsmall,shaggyburros,
and although the trail was bad and dangerous in parts, I am certain that I saved a considerable
number of miles and probably avoided worse travelling along the route I had originally inten-
ded to follow. I was sorry when my companions had to take a different direction from mine,
my two faithful horses.
Further north we passed through several small villages and settlements, where I noticed
a very different type of people, most of them being half-castes or pure Indians. The women
high white hats that look like over-sized 'bowlers'. Some of the people make their sandals out
of old motor-car tyres, and before I knew this I was puzzled on several occasions when I saw
what I took to be tracks of cars, and this in places where no automobile could possibly move.
We passed Indians, men and women, who were travelling along our trail, probably on their
way to some distant market. Whilst they were trotting along they were continually spinning
woollen thread. This is done by twirling a piece of wood, not unlike a wooden toy-top, but
through which another piece is driven, about as thick as a pencil. The top-like wooden piece
acts as flywheel, whilst the thread is wound around the stick that is stuck into it.