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  • A great deal of my life has been spent exploring borders - physical, mental and emotional. But in all these explorations I've come to realize that no one knows borders - or how they recede into nothingness as you approach them - as a resident of a border town.

    Today I went to Desaguadero, Peru/Bolivia. Between the two Desaguaderos exist three bridges: One for tourists and commerce that requires a passport and visas. A second for heavy trucks and loads with lots of paperwork to verify, at least officially, that they are doing no wrong.

    And then a third "bridge" composed of a handful of boats and men with poles. Everyone knows of this crossing and in both towns point you to the quay. It exists within sight of the other two, in defiance of a line that purportedly divides the river through the middle.

    Your passport here is 1.50 Bs. or 0.50 Soles. And no one cares about the color of your passport, or the size of your visa. Crossing it is both a thrill, and something entirely mundane.

    Such is breaking a law that is both entirely serious and yet completely irrelevant.
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