The sun glared down and baked the road, sending silvery heat waves up from the broken asphalt. Vehicles were scarce, and the rare one I saw sputtered and clanked like it was in need of a few vital parts. Often, a mule-drawn cart would drive past, loaded with metal scraps and old machines. The people standing on the side of the road stared at me with empty eyes that perused my blonde hair and fair skin. I smiled when they stared, but not a muscle moved in their stoic faces.