Upon reawakening we returned to the bus station to book our onward bus tickets which were for only 36 hours post-arrival. After an exploration of what of Nasca had to offer it dawned on us that we had probably allowed about 24 hours too much
! Now it might seem a bit rude to suggest the town is a one trick pony, but when you've seen the trick all is forgiven. Derek & Sarah both had a long-standing desire to see the Nasca lines, and we booked our flight for the following morning and spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping for tacky souvenirs and baking in the extreme heat. Nasca is in the dessert, so it’s baking hot and dry in the daytime and then rapidly cools off in the evenings. Dinner was a surprising highlight of the day; everywhere that we have been in Peru seems to have an abundance of "Chifas" or Chinese restaurants and so in Nasca, we decided to try one. The result was really good Chinese food at very reasonable prices, accompanied by beer and Inka Kola. Yep, Peru is so dominated by the Incan history that it’s number one soft drink takes their name, or maybe it’s a recipe passed down through the ages. It’s certainly not a cola in the traditional vain of Coke or Pepsi, but a bright (almost fluorescent) yellow concoction that looks like Mountain Dew but tastes like Cream Soda. It has, however been a real hit with the Moody family.
Wednesday morning started bright and early with a breakfast of Gravol and the donning of anti-nausea wristbands. We had been pre-warned that most people become ill in the small planes they use for flying over the Nasca lines and to avoid breakfast
. Then it was off to the small airport for our overflights of the Nasca lines. Our vessel for the flight was a Cessna C-206, a small single prop six-seat (incl. the pilot) airplane, where everybody has a window seat, a pair of headphones and a paper bag…… During the flight, the pilot shows everybody each geoglyph on one side of the aircraft and then turns 180 degrees to circle it the other way so that everybody has a good view of all of the pictures (Whale, Monkey, Condor, Hummingbird to name but a few). Needless to say there’s a lot of swaying, turning and twisting involved. Thankfully our pilot was very good (or the Gravol/anti-nausea wristband combination works really well) and we all survived without any hiccups or worse!
The Nasca lines themselves are fascinating; They were created very simply by moving the myriad dark grey rocks aside to reveal the white sandy desert below, and although they are huge (most are hundreds of feet long) it is conceivable that a small scale version and a rope could be used to scale up to the dimensions. However, seeing them with your own eyes demands an answer to the more fundamental question of “Why?”. Many theories abound from elaborate irrigation systems and water divining to worship rituals and even alien interaction. The last one sounds crazy until you’ve seen the 100 ft tall “Astronaut” created 3000 years ago by an ancient civilization and which can only be seen from the sky..
. So which theory did we subscribe to? You’ll just have to wait and ask us in person as we each have our own thoughts on that topic….
We had planned to spend the rest of the morning hanging out at the pool of the hotel that the flight company uses as a base, however upon arrival discovered that the water was covered with a mysterious layer of white “stuff” and as the water level was too low to be using the filtration system we opted to stay dry (much to Alex’s dismay). Back in town, our Chinese dinner had been so successful that we tried another “Chifa” for lunch and weren’t disappointed. We also got a taste of what might be in store for us in Asia as the restaurant owner walked past our table and stopped to stroke Lauren’s “blanco” arms and talk to the kids, though with limited Spanish on both sides, communication was quite a challenge! About two minutes later she was back with the chef in tow. Every few minutes she would reappear, smiling, chuckling and touching the kids hair and skin! Still, the food was good and fast and we were soon on our way again.
Next stop Lima, via Cruz del Sur bus …
It seems that when it comes to buses in Peru, you get what you pay for. Our Olthursa VIP experience has been the best (and most expensive) yet, right from check-in in Arequipa (they actually have a private waiting area at the bus station unlike most of the other companies) to our arrival in Nasca. The seats were significantly more comfortable (think three across the width of a bus instead of four), they provided a hot meal, blankets, pillows, etc (more like an airline) and even had WIFI on the bus. Better still, we were all actually able to sleep reasonably well! We were still bleary eyed when they woke us at 6am upon arrival in Nasca and relieved to find the hostel owner waiting for us; thirty minutes after arrival we were fast asleep again in our hostel.