Peter and I walked a mile or so to a traffic circle where the road border met the main highway. We came to a gas station and made friends with the attendants. Peter spoke excellent Spanish and was outgoing. There wasn't much traffic at the gas station, so the guys were bored and ready to talk to us. One guy was visibly drunk and wielding a shotgun. "Why does he have a shotgun?" Peter asked. "He's security." Somebody answered. We found that kind of funny. The security guard would try to participate in conversation, but he slurred and was hard to understand. "Don't listen to Carlos," another guy said. "He is crazy." Carlos also kept gesturing with the gun until somebody said "Fuck, Carlos, quit pointing that thing at me."
It didn't seem like there was enough traffic for us to get a ride that night. We asked if it was OK to camp behind the station. Our friends said the boss might not like that. But somebody suggested going to the transit commission office down the road. Lots of trucks stopped there, and if we camped behind there, we might get a ride with a truck in the morning.
At the office, there were a few guys standing around in military outfits. "Aha," Peter said. "Military guys! We can ask them where we can sleep." He went up to them and I followed.
"Good evening!" he said to the surprised men. "I am Peter and this is my friend, Keith. We are hitchhiking around the world and are looking for a place to camp tonight. Is there a safe place near here where we can pitch our tent?"
The guys looked at each other. One (who I presume was the highest rank) replied. "Sure. You can camp back there. It's no problem."
"Excellent," said Peter. "And is there a place where we can fill our water bottles?"
"Yes, there is a spigot over there, next to that framework."
"Ah. Thank you very much!"
"You see?" Peter asked, as we walked away. "Military guys are awesome. They get it. We could never ask cops for help like that."
I thought about my experiences. "You're right. Cops would be like, 'Oh, you are traveling? You must be trafficking drugs.' They'd search our bags and leave our shit spread on the ground."
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