Arequipa and Nazca
Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
21Trip End May 05, 2008
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Where I stayed
After a six hour bus ride from Puno, I arrived at Arequipa. I was able to get a room at the Colonial House Inn and set out that afternoon to explore the Plaza de Armas. This is a beautiful plaza with a square shaped park, and at the heart of the plaza is a fountain topped by an angel known locally as ĻturututuĻ because of the trumpet the angel carries. There is a cathedral on one side, and colonial style two story buildings on the other three sides. At first it was hard to walk across the street because of the aggressive driving of the numerous cabs. Around 6 pm the streets were closed to cars, and people began marching into the square in a giant rally against abortions. It was Friday night and everyone was at the plaza, chatting with friends, marching in the rally, waiting for the catholic priests to make speeches
City and Country Tour
The next day I went on a city and country bus tour. I saw some interesting places, though they were not always photogenic. I found the use of volcanic stone, in both white and pink colors, to be interesting. The local church was built in the 1700s but it has been rebuilt a number of times due to earthquakes. So I am not sure how much of that stonework is replicated from the original, I know the facade was totally rebuilt in the 60s, so they may have expanded on the original designs. There is a local push toward having this type of stonework declared itīs own architectural style. It includes Inca designs, and animal figures like the monkey.
I took a picture of the guy in the costume at a childrenīs party. Can you imagine having to wear that costume at work every day? He was clearing used plates and glasses from the tables.
I took the photos of the llama and Vicuņa at a local fabric shop
I have to admire the way the driver wove our double decker bus through the narrow streets. They warned us not to stand up or stick our arms outside the bus, and there were many spots where we only had a foot or two clearance.
That reminds me of an incident that happened while I was touring the Sacred Valley. We had been on the bus for 5 hours and had seen the Pisac market and temple sites. It was hot outside and we had left the windows open for ventilation while we napped in our seats. A large truck overloaded with corn stalks drove past us from the opposite direction. The corn stalks were hanging over the sides of the truck, and they hit our open windows making a loud ripping sound as they flailed and tore, suddenly surrounding us in a cloud of shredded green corn stalks. After the initial shock of being rudely woken up we all laughed at how silly we felt while picking corn stalks out of our hair.
That night I began the first of two night trips by bus. I got on the bus around 9:30 and pulled in Nazca at 7:30 the next morning.
Of course the main reason to go to Nazca is to see the ancient lines. Apparently they were made as part of shamanistic rituals. An interesting part of the animal figures is that you can follow the lines all the way through the animal without crossing another line. The Nazca culture moved away (or died) because of a 30 year drought. To this day it is desert surrounding a single strip of green around a small river. I saw the lines by plane that morning, it was a bit of a gut wrenching experience because the pilot tilted the plane back and forth so we could all get a good look at the lines. Now the linear lines, triangles and trapezoids are large and easy to see from the air. The animal figures are smaller and the lines more narrow. It took me a little while to recognize them, and I am afraid most of my pictures donīt do justice to them.
I spent the rest of the day in town, then caught the night bus to Lima. This time it was a nine hour trip
After a lunch with Antonio, I caught the plane to Panama City. That was an expensive ticket, about $700 because I didnīt know my travel plans and didnīt prepurchase way ahead of time. I did spring for a 20 minute back and neck massage at the airport. That helped my backpackers muscles relax.
Next stop Panama!