Our 5 hours in Nazca/Nasca (Andy)
Trip Start Oct 04, 2009
70Trip End Nov 20, 2010
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If you are like me the first question you would ask is; how the hell does removing pebbles create lines and drawings that last for over 1,400 years? The general consensus, they are located in a desert with very little wind. The Nazca desert gets very little rain and the lines have been able to withstand the test of time. Although, many experts are worried that due to deforestation in the area there is a greater chance of rainfall which could severely damage the lines. So get there while you can, they might not be around for a while.
The only real way to see the Nazca lines is by taking a small aircraft out of the Nazca airport; the lines and drawings are too large to see on the ground. The Nazca airport closes at 4:30, we arrived in Nazca by bus at 4:15. Eric and I, still a bit undecided about whether or not we wanted to spend the money on seeing ancient drawings, eventually caved in and enlisted the help of a local guide (by enlisting his help I mean caved into his incessant questions) and were whisked away to the airport with Lindsey and Adina in tow. Lindsey, normally someone who is up for new things, bowed out of the flight since it would almost certainly cause her to be sick and unable to actually look out the window.
After being uncomfortably rushed to the flight desk to buy our tickets and not really being given a chance to bargain for the flight, we were pushed to the security check-in. Both Eric and I were feeling pretty taken advantaged of but it seemed the price we would have to pay in order to see the ancient drawings. For most of our trip, Lindsey and I have had time as our weapon; we aren't going to pay this price because we can just wait you out. Unfortunately we didn't have that luxury here and it gives you a bit of an uncomfortable feeling.
All uncomfortable feelings about the price were washed away when we saw the airplane we would be taking. It was a four seater propeller plane. Two seats for the pilot and co-pilot and two seats for Eric and I. Smallest plane you can possibly be on if you aren't a pilot (or in pilot school if you want to get technical).
Now I'm not one to normally have problems with motion sickness. I've dealt with extreme roller coasters, bad seas on a boat, twirling around a baseball bat 10 times before hitting a ball off a tee ... I'm pretty good with motion. But holy crap did my stomach drop when we did a few hairpin turns. The normal sequence of events was to spot a geoglyph, turn the plane to one side so one side would get a good view and then pull a complete 180 loop on a dime to flip around for the other person to get a good view. When we turned the g-force made my face feel like it was melting and my stomach felt like it was going to drop out my backside. Had Lindsey joined us on the trip I am positive a vomit smell would have been thrown into the mix.
Originally I wasn't completely sure if it would be worth it to see just some drawings in the sand. But to see just how massive they were and to think the entire project was done by hand (probably without an aerial view) it truly was an amazing thing. It is extremely unfortunate that the Nazca civilization effectively killed themselves by clearing land for agricultural purposes and, in time, turning it into an uninhabitable desert wasteland thereby making it impossible for me to find out why the hell they made these pictures ... that sounded more selfish than I wanted it to.
After an hour or so flying and twisting around the lines we headed back towards the airport. The pilot decided that it would be fun to play a few games with us after we told him about what our stomachs were doing after those turns. At one point he pointed the plane up and climbed a little only to drop the entire thing out from under us and have us effectively free-fall for a few seconds. It did not help the stomach. Nor did it help the stomach when he did it 3 more times.
We reached the ground in one piece and took a proud picture in front of the smallest plane I have ever been in. We greeted Lindsey and Adina and headed into the city of Nazca to grab a bite to eat.
And so ended our adventure to Nazca. Next stop, overnight bus to Arequipa! I hate overnight buses.