Travel Journal

Nazca

(Wednesday 27 April 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 255-7 4/19-21/11
The bus had Lima printed on it which was the final destination but I sorted that out and got on the bus. I fell asleep after a couple hours and woke up at midnight when the bus pulled on the shoulder. I woke up again about a half hour later and realized we were still stopped. Looks like there is a problem. I slept again until about six. The bus is cama which means the back reclines to about thirty degrees and my legs only have to be slightly bent to fit below the reclined seat in front of me. Anyways, I fixed myself a cup of tea and went out to see what the problem was. There was a line of buses and trucks as far as I could see in front and behind us. It seems there was a landslide and the road was closed ahead. I had read to expect delays during the rainy season but I thought that was hyped – obviously I was wrong.
They cleared the road and we were on our way at about nine so instead of getting into town at seven, I arrived after three which pretty much shot that day. I got a room at the Walk On Inn which is a nice enough place. It’s run by a Dutch man who is very thorough with his explanations which is great if you’re on the receiving end but a pain in the ass if you’re waiting for him to finish with someone else. They offer tours and did the two major things I wanted which was a flight over the Nazca lines and a tour of the Chauchilla cemetery which Stephen recommended. The cost was 90USD for the flight which seemed a bit high and I thought I could do better but I signed up for a cemetery tour although there was a two person minimum and no one had signed up yet for the following day.
I went to the planetarium located on the grounds of a fancy hotel for the English program that night. It’s a simple dome with black paper with dots over a bright light but effective with the accompanying slide show. It was good background for my intended trip the following day discussing the discovery and possible purposes of the lines and providing slides of the actual images themselves. While I generally disagree with the astronomical importance of the lines and the purposes, I really have not formed an opinion for the reason behind them. I think lines to water sources is the best explanation as this is a desert and water is vital, but I don’t think there is a single answer to this riddle. After the show, the telescopes were taken out and we saw several stars and Saturn. I final had someone point out the Southern Cross to me. We were also shown Maria Rieche’s room where she stayed at the hotel. She really struggled to bring the Nazca lines to prominence and preserve them though I don’t agree with her conclusions that they were star maps.
I caught a cab the next day to the airport and tried to work a deal but the airlines were rather firm on the 90USD for the flight so I relented and got seat on a plane that was waiting for a fourth. We were escorted through more stringent security than I’ve seen on some major airlines to a six seater and I was relieved to see there was a Garmin onboard. I’m not sure you can really get lost on a thirty-five minute circular flight though!
Here’s a bunch of pictures of the figures though they aren’t very clear. See if you can find the figures in them although some are just lines and geometric figures. I ended up sharing a ride back into town so it wasn’t that much more than the hotel’s offer which included transportation. There is also a picture of the PanAmerican highway which was built across the lines before the engineers had any idea they were there. I had not eaten because I heard the rides could be bumpy but it was very smooth. I got a huge plate of chitiron at a local restaurant and went into pork overdrive.
No one else showed interested in the cemetery so I checked a few travel agencies in town to see if they already had a group I could join but I didn’t have any luck and the rate for a personal tour was too much. I went back to the hotel and offered to pay a single supplement which would still be less than the personal tours offered elsewhere. The owner made some calls and ended up finding a guide taking another group I could join at the standard rate.
The guide was quite good pointing out things outside of the normal tour and conversing in English, French and Spanish to our mixed group. He explained how the desert heat preserved the mummies, how they were prepared, why they were in the position they were laid to rest, and other facts to make the tour interesting. I could have done without the final two stops at a gold and pottery store which had the fa�ade of being educational but were really just trying to sell you their wares.
I had hoped to stay another day and take on some other minor sites in the area but I had gotten word that Dad was in the ICU and in bad shape. The airport which I had gone to see the lines was only for the small planes and occasional charter flights so I figured I should head to Lima in case I had to suddenly cut the trip short and fly to Tampa. The hotel owner arranged bus tickets for the following morning and I caught a bus out at 11:30 to Lima.

 


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