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Thursday, 3 July 2008

Nearly Nazca

3rd July 2008

Three days spent as couch potatoes was as much as two normally active people could handle, and conscious of our forthcoming flight out of Lima we decided to move on to Nazca, Ica and Huacachina. Nazca is famous for the nearby Nazca lines, a series of enormous geometrical shapes including designs such as a dog, a monkey, a spider and a tree, cut into the desert. There are numerous theories on why the lines were created and by whom. Latest thinking is that they were created by three different groups – the Paracas people (900-200BC), the Nazcas (200BC-AD600) and the Huaris (AD630). And why? The most popular belief is that they represent some sort of astronomical pre-Inca calendar, although many others would argue differently. The best way to see the lines is from the air, by means of a small 4 seater Cessna plane.

We arrived as usual from an overnight bus journey, at some ridiculously early hour of the morning, 5.30am and spent the next two hours by the side of the road (in the shelter of a hotel foyer) waiting for the sun to rise and the airport to open. By the time we arrived at the airport the thick early morning mist that had surrounded us since 5:30 seemed reluctant to shift. We waited in the lounge of one of the airlines, which at the time we mistook for the main departure lounge itself…and waited. After some time, one of the agents approached us and told us that due to adverse weather conditions the price to fly would increase to $70 from the usual $50, due to fewer passengers wanting to take a flight that day. At this point Ady scoffed and said he wanted to check out some prices with other airlines. We were promptly thrown out onto the street, backpack and all and left to hike up and down the airstrip in search of somewhere more reasonable. We did actually find a couple of very helpful companies but both were fully booked for that day. As the thick fog still showed no sign of lifting, flights already booked for that morning would be shifted to the afternoon slots in hope the sky would clear. No use for the likes of us though; having rocked up without a reservation at all. As seemed to be the nature of our trip at the moment we decided to knock the Nazca lines on the head and travel to Ica, both more than a little disappointed at not being able to ride in the cool little planes…

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