Even though the hot sun was beating down, the men wore wool sweaters and wool skull caps as though their basic association with the mountains was cold. All day they gazed at the snowcapped mountains above.

We looked below us at the winding mountain road. And above us at about 20,000 feet on a mountain top waved the Peruvian flag.

The temperature was cooler now. The sunshine brilliant, the air pure and rarefied. Then at 15,806 feet above sea level we came to a sign.

A sign beside a railway crossing called Abra Anticona. It said: ‘PUNTO FERROVIARO MAS ALTO DEL MUNDO’ In English: ‘Highest Railway Point in the World.’ Just adjacent to that sign was another one. It said: ‘EXISTEN LOS PLATILLOS VOLADORES CONTACTO CON OVNIS.’ In English: ‘Flying Saucers Do Exist. UFO Contact Point.’

I looked over at David with raised eyebrows. He smiled ‘Well,’ he said. ‘I’m not the only crazy one, am I?’

‘What does that mean?’ I asked.

‘It means that people see lots of UFOs around here and it’s common knowledge and no one is particularly disturbed by it.’

I took a deep breath.

‘Did we come her to see UFOs? Is that why I’m here?’


‘Oh. My. God.’

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Exactly.’

Out on a Limb, Shirley MacLaine, Bantam Books Inc., 1983

Out on a Limb, starring Shirley MacLaine, ABC Circle Films, 1987: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2j2XFY6ZZs