Leaving the border, I stopped to change money, very thankful that I knew exactly what the exchange rate was so I could get a good deal. Who knows how the guys out here know what the rate is, but they do. I walked the 1km past dusty truck-loading areas, goats, and abandoned houses. The final 100m before the main square more semi-shops lined the street. Upon reaching the square, I went to the first bus-stand and bought a bus ticket for a bus due to leave in an hour or so.
The bus actually left 6 hours later (read about the trip here). In that time I:
had the second-best haircut of my life, including head massage
a meal that I had to fight street children, flies and dogs to keep, and eventually lost
did not walk more than 50m from the front of the bus ticket office (actually just a desk in a tent) for fear of never coming back, and no-one ever noticing
Seriously, this was my favourite town so far. It will forever remain in my mind as the ‘wild west’. Most of the buildings were unfinished and barely standing. There appeared to be no power or running water. The barbers were also the town’s only place to have a shower. The bank was five five old guys sitting side-by-side in the dirt with plastic bags full of cash. Two utes drove past (fast) with maching guns mounted on the back, and they didn’t look like police. Almost everyone sat in the dirt. Everyone warned me to put my camera away, and not to walk around. There was just a serious vibe that anything could happen, anytime, and everyone was watching out for it.
Brilliant! But I was not sorry to leave.