The Nazca Etchasketch

Trip Start Jul 05, 2011
Trip End Jul 03, 2012

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From Cusco we shall travel to Nazca on a super luxury overnight bus. Let me say that again: "super luxury"! For once it was! We even had a meal on board, pillows, blankets and free head phones to listen to the movies, plus WiFi! Still obviously I did not sleep as the road curved and snaked through the Andes.

We arrive in Nazca at 7am prompt and head over to our hotel where we……catch up with Phil and Nomie again J. Always a pleasure to see them, but this will be the last time we catch upon this side of the world as later we go north and they head south. Still time for one last adventure with our friends up, up and away to see the Nazca lines from a plane.

Nazca itself is not as bad as everyone makes out. We had a great hostel and one of the best meals we have had in South America. Probably need not read too much into that as our culinary expectations have been considerably lowered by Bolivia!

The Nazca Lines are very impressive and I am very happy we came. We had pondered skipping them in order to save a day on the way to Lima. This would have been bad! So what is known about the Nazca Lines? Well, they are old, from 400-600AD(ish) and cover an area of 500 square km. They were discovered in the 1920s and then seen from the air in the 1940s. They are very hard to see from the ground so much so that when the Pan American highway was built they cut right through some of the lines with out even noticing (well so they say!). The largest ones are hundreds of metres long and are in many different shapes including: Monkey, spider, condor, hummingbird, a human, a whale, circle, triangles and so on. These are clearly seen from the air. There is an option to see them from a viewing platform too but by all accounts you can only see two of the drawings, it is too low and is shit! If you are going to Nazca to see the lines, fly!

As for why the lines exist or what they were used for or their purpose? We went to an interesting talk in the evening at the Maria Reiche museum (a German mathematician, ACHTUNG, who dedicated her life to trying to figure out and explain the lines to no avail) to learn that there are numerous theories about the lines. These include, but are not limited to, that the lines were used for: calendars, paths to the mountains, tracking of the stars, tracing underground water, religious connotations or ceremonies, aliens and so on. My own personal theory is that this was the gods Etchasketch.

There are certainly quite a few theories but all that is known with certainty is that we do not know anything for certain and what we think we know we probably do not know! These lines will probably be a mystery til the end of humanity's days and that makes them quite cool as even Google does not have a correct answer for this!
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