Provincia de Nazca, Ica, Peru Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Lots happened today. Don't think I'll remember everything, but I'll try and remember as much as I can. Thought I'd warn you now before you continue on.
I woke this morning at a little after 7am to get prepared to head off to the Nazca lines while everyone else stayed behind to relax by the pool.
I caught a plane with just three other passengers, it was a Cessna 206, a very small plane which only holds 6 people, I had heard the stories of the flying on those planes, but it wasn't until I was on it seeing my second or third Nazca pattern that I had started to understand what people where meaning. The plane kept turning sideways to fly around the depictions only to turn the other way again so people on the other side of the plane could see, all the turning side to side really didn't do my stomach any good.
I somehow had it in my head that these Nazca Lines were much much bigger, then again, I was quite high up so that certainly would make them smaller, I tried to get photos of them all, but to be honest I haven't had a chance to see if I got many good photos of them at all. My favourite one to see was the monkey, although I did also enjoy the Astronaut, which to me just looked like a person.
The lines measure up to about 10kms in length and yet still remain perfectly straight, you can see depictions of birds, insects, and animals which are only recognizable from the air. Still not 100% sure why they were created, some people suggest that they may be part of complex agricultural calendar.
After the flight it was back down to solid ground, although I was still feeling the affect on my stomach during the bus ride back to the hotel for a quick swim before moving onto lunch.
Lunch today was a traditional meal called "Pachamanca" which is similar to a hungi in the way they prepare the meal by burying a variety of food wrapped in banana leaves and then them cook over pre-heated rocked buried in the ground. The food was pretty good, although I'd probably go as far as saying hungi food still tastes better.
After lunch we got ready for our afternoon activity, two large dune buggies picked us up and we headed down the road to see some ancient Aqueducts which had been made hundreds of years ago in order into help get the water from the mountains to the valleys so they could grow food, it's amazing to see they are still using them today and the area around them is still so green compared to a dry wastelands everywhere else.
Back to the dune buggies where we moved onto pyramids, before continuing on to see the ancient Pre-Inca desert cemetery site of Chauchilla. All the bones were just laying there out in the open, there was even a mummified body, I'm not sure if this one was, but some of them are up to about 1500 years old. The entire desert area was also once home to the ancient Paracas and the Nazca cultures, which preceded the Incas by more than 500 years. After feasting on the remains of the dead we got back onto the dune buggies and made our way onto the one thing I think we were looking forward too... Sandboarding.
We all caught took our dune buggies to the top of the sand dunes, while one dune buggy made it to the top quite easily, the one I was in had to take several attempts before it could get to the top. As we pulled up next to the other dune buggy for what we thought would've the spot we would stop at, our driver slammed on the gas and we went flying over the edge of the dune and then hurtling up another, around and around we went with each dune feeling steeper and steeper. Eventually we stopped and it was time to get out ready to go boarding. Lucho went first to show us how he did it. He laid his belly down on the board and pushed himself off the edge of the dune and off he went, setting a goal for the rest of us to beat.
Getting down hill was the easy part, getting back up for another round on the other hand turned into a workout, you would be lucky to get half way up before you would start to gasp for air, but if you wanted another go, that's what you had to do. The next task was to try and get down standing up, while not everyone tried it, a few of us did, but we mostly all finished with a spectacular wipeout at the end. Fredrik had the best success getting down. Unfortunately we only had enough time to get a few runs in before we had to get back in the buggies to head back. While we headed back the sunset and the temperature dropped real quick, and felt even colder the faster our driver would go, and at times... He went real fast.
At the end of it all it was time to have a quick shower and wash off all the sand that we had everywhere before heading off to the bus station to catch the overnight bus of about 10 hours to Arequipa.