The road levels out as it hits the Altiplano Plateau. We plane high, bitch. 4500 meters high, 14,000 feet up, where the sun burns, the wind chills and the colors glow like a cross-processed paint box. Everything that lives this high is woolly and fringed--the long-lashed llamas that have us cooing vowels, the kissing donkeys, the clever farm dogs, even the stone-walled, thatched cottages. Indigenous kids in woven ponchos and goblin hats stare from the roadsides, cheeks stained salty with last night's tears, top lips crusty with this morning's snot. They don't look very well.