The Nasca Lines

Trip Start Jul 12, 2012
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Trip End Jun 21, 2013


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Flag of Peru  , Ica,
Monday, July 16, 2012

Think twice before living the dream. I had always wanted to fly over the Nazca Lines, ever since watching some BBC documentary many years ago. The mysterious lines and drawings were drawn in the desert by the ancient Nazca people (c. 1000 AD) and nobody knows why. Among the theories: they were a reflection of the constellations; they pointed to water sources; they were aligned with the sun rise/sunset on significant calendar days; or they were the product of some alien influence. They were made by scraping the top layer of earth and stones away to reveal the paler rock, and they can still be seen today because it almost never rains here - one of the driest places on earth.    
 
So I went out to the airport, along with many other tourists, and booked my flight in a 6-seater Cessna. The plane dipped from side to side in order to give every passenger a great view of every Nazca drawing: hummingbird, dog, whale, monkey, E.T, etc. Amazing as the drawings were, 10 minutes into the flight I no longer cared. Instead, all of my focus was on keeping the contents of my stomach inside me. At this, I failed. 

Back on firm ground, Marie (my hostel buddy from Montreal, Canada) and I went to a nearby museum. It was tiny and I guess they didn't get many visitors. A laid-back Nazca-Indian type, high on something, showed us around. He explained in rapid, excitable Spanish about the mummified heads on display - they were Nazca people who were sacrificed, probably to beg for rain. Our guide's answer to most of our questions about the lines was: "It was because of the aliens".  

I stayed a few days in Nazca. Other highlights included an adventurous local bus trip with my English friend Rhian to the mirador (viewing platform) over the nearby Palpa LInes. The bus dropped us on a highway in the middle of the desert, just us and the juggernauts passing by. I also joined a tour of Chauchilla Cemetery for more Nazca mummies, only these were sitting up in their tombs. Most weird. 
 
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