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Nazca: desert and lines

flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines, Pachamanca ceremony

sunny 27 °C

The journey from Ica to Nazca was one of my favourite sceneries yet, purely for its bizzareness, very vast and dry and lunar and mountainous. After coming out of the sand dune desert around Ica we were on a very straight road for over an hour and a half which was flanked by a mountain range of reddish grey shades in the far distance on the left, and a grey lunar desert on the right. The landscape was very alien to me and very exciting. Id recommend this onto the list of cool routes to do on a motorbike. I might compile a list of cool routes from the whole trip at the end of the blog later on.
my route in southern Peru

my route in southern Peru


nazca bus

nazca bus


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As we got closer to Nazca the sun was going down and the road grew closer to the mountains so we ended up crossing through them, then on our right we started to get glimpses of a green valley down below. The colour was really contrasted to the sand everywhere. This was not yet Nazca, we still had another hour to go. It was pitch black when we arrived in Nazca, there werent many lights as we drove through the town to get to a dirt road on the outskirts which would lead us 20mins past huts and fields of corn to our hotel San Marcelo. Got there about 8pm. We had dinner at the hotel and then played a bit of ping-pong, including a very entertaining round-the-world version, which Tara captured in slow motion video. The entire hotel grounds (outside) were absolutely covered in ants, it was like they were taking over Nazca. My tummy troubles were back AGAIN which really annoyed me at this point, id really had enough of them.

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ping pong

ping pong

The next morning at 1030 those of us going on the flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines left in a minibus for the Nazca airport, very excited and intrigued. I had read alot about these sites and the theories behind them and find it so curious that it is still not really known why or when or by who they were formed. I had bought a book on the Nazca lines a few days earlier for Dave which put forward a new theory of their existence, relating to the worship of mountain gods. It makes more sense than previous theories relating to water cults or astronomy. I was also excited to see the town in daylight. It was all VERY dry and shanty-townish. At the airport they organised us as passengers in the light aircraft by our weights, there were only 4 seats per plane, it was very squished. I went with Ian, Karen and Anna. The two girls were very scared and upon take off Anna nearly broke the bones in my hand through squeezing. The ride was pretty darn bumpy and jolty which made me feel quite nauseus, unusual for me. We circled around 16 of the Nazca Lines, the pilot taking turns to tip each wing point far down as a guide for where to look, very topsy turvy. My first impressions were that the Nazca lines werent as big and impressive as id imagined, and that the landscape was soooo weird. It looked like a sandplain with alluvial deposits stretching out in ribbons of different colours all over the place. Very cool. Upon exiting the plane after landing, i threw up. There were a couple of market stalls outside the little airport so i bought some souvenirs.

Nazca airport

Nazca airport


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We went to explore the town afterwards, while some of the others from the group went to a cemetery site which they said was pretty creepy. We had a nice lunch, but a rather sweaty lunch upstairs at a grill place where the power went out and the so the fans couldnt cool us down. It was like a sauna. We planned to go back to the hotel for a swim and laze about but i fell asleep when we got there and woke up just in time to pack ready to head off to our next destination, but we were going somewhere on the way: to a Pachamanca traditional food ceremony. We got there a bit late, the others had got there an hour before us straight from the cemetery and were starving. We went round the back of this quaint little place where a man and a woman dug up all this food roasting under the sand on stones and told us about the significance of this tradition in Quechua life. The food was very simple, meats and vegetables, a bit like a western roast. There was also some cheese roasted in leaves and dips and things. The room we ate in was really cute.

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Pachamanca ceremony meal (after we dug it up out of the ground)

Pachamanca ceremony meal (after we dug it up out of the ground)

We headed off from our meal to the bus station to get our overnight bus to Arequipa (about 11hrs). 9 of us talked Guido into upgrading our seats to the downstairs ones which can recline but unfortunatley didnt get hardly any sleep as the roads were really curvy and i was just rolling from side to side. These night buses have a toilet for peeing but they tell you not to do number twos (even though the toilets can take it) and that the bus will arrange a stop for you if you need to do number twos. But they dont. I asked for a stop when we woke up in the morning and the lady told me they couldnt stop and that we would be at Arequipa in an hour and a half. Well i was really angry because if you need to go you need to go. you cant not go! you dont exactly control these things. I really needed to go. So i just went anyway and low and behold halfway through the bus lady starts hammering on the toilet door shouting and shouting at me in Spanish!! "no numero dos lady!" Somehow she knew i was going, it was hilarious. I kept shouting back "un momento por favor", aggrevating her more and more, until i was done and gee was i glad i went :) I came out of the loo rather sheepish with her yelling at me and everyone wondering what the ruckus was. I pleaded ignorance. Days later when i went in a public loo Bec started hammering on the door shouting at me imitating the lady, and i got stage fright.

Posted by boocy 04:24 Archived in Peru

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