Nazca

Trip Start Nov 20, 2006
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Trip End Jun 27, 2007


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Friday, June 8, 2007

We had another overnight bus to get to Nazca. These are usually pretty comfortable, and this one was no exception. The whole experience was not entirely unlike being on an aeroplane. We had to check in our luggage, boarded through a gate and were served random foodstuffs that were vaguely warm, looked disgusting, but were actually reasonably palatable. As the journey began, the feeling persisted with our fellow passengers reclining as far as physically possible and the television playing some substandard American film designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This of course has the opposite effect of appealing to no one, settling instead for annoying everyone with it's corny 80's soundtrack. Never mind, things were soon to take a turn for the better as we all had the opportunity to play 'bus bingo'. Using our knowledge of Spanish numbers, we managed to fill in a couple of sheets and narrowly missed out on winning the prize of 'a return ticket to Arequipa'. This prize is about as enticing as giving Bernard Manning an all over body massage with essential oils.

The Nazca lines are very bizarre. These are pre-inca so are over 500 years old. There are many theories on their existence varying from astrological to water markings. The most amazing thing is how well preserved they are, as they are little more than scrapings in the dirt. This preservation is due to the average rainfall being 30 minutes per year and the fact that because of the heat, there is no wind at ground level. Also, as it was discovered relatively recently, I guess human interference has not been an issue.

The only way to properly see the lines is by air, so, those of us prepared to feel sick lined up for our 30 minute ride in a 'cessna'. The ride was fairly smooth but did involve a lot of banking as the guy showed us the markings from the window. ('monkey, left side, hand, hand, right side, look, look!') There were about 12 different markings that we were shown - some were clearer than others, although the weather didn't make for brilliant viewing. I have no photos as I was making a video instead - complete with CB 'crackling' noises. Whether this is included depends on the bandwidth at our hotel in Quito!

Later that afternoon we went to a ceramics factory. Jeez, the excitement. The trip was made bearable by the guy at the factory who had very poor English skills, coupled with a grin so cheeky, that I would have paid good money for it. Here is a picture of him and Lou after yet another inanimate object purchase.

We had an opportunity to have a pachahunga (or something very similar) meal at a place near to our hotel. This is food that is buried along with a fire and left to slow cook for hours. They do something similar in New Zealnd which we missed out on. It was pretty good nosebag to be fair but seemed like a lot of effort to me. Still, they did have a fridge there so we had an Arequipena which is one of my favourite beers thus far on the trip.

Our last day in Nazca was dominated by the 'desert adventure' which involved being sped around the sand dunes by a local nutcase before throwing ourselves down the self same dunes strapped to a plank of wood masquerading as a sandboard. Skip did the same activity in January and managed to shatter his shoulder - so we were a bit nervous about it all. Thankfully we were all unscathed and, although it pains me to say it, what a fantastic experience! Sorry Skip!

This was almost put into the shade by our lunchtime entertainment, however. Whilst soaking up the first proper sun we'd seen in weeks, we were joined by a 'magician' who introduced himself as 'Tommy Cooper - Peru!!'. He may have had a full box of tricks but he was definitely a couple of cans short of a six pack. This of course made for the most fantastically entertaining show, especially as some of the group were completely confused by it all. The highlight of the show was when he 'magicked' water out of my ear with the aid of a cup with a 5" false bottom. After telling him that my name was Paul Daniels, he decided to 'magic' water from my crotch shouting 'Monica Lewinsky!'. Sadly in the process he 'magicked' water on to my crotch also. Or it could have been me laughing I guess.

Next stop Pisco...
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