Lines from outer space, Pisco and a landslide!

Trip Start Sep 19, 2005
Trip End Mar 19, 2006

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Nasca, Ica, Huacachina and Lima

Another entry to catch up on what happened next after hanging about in Arequipa.....

Our bus to Nasca was comfy and clearly driven by a Michael Schumacher wannabe! He went so fast that a journey that was supposed to take 10-12 hours only took 8 and a half, and we were dumped unceremoniously in Nasca just before 5 in the morning!

The touts in Nasca were the most aggressive I have so far experienced. Normally on getting of a long distance bus you can expect a couple of people coming up to you offering taxis and hostels, but at 5 in the morning I wasn't really prepared for it! Still, there were several people at the gate of the bus station yelling at us for hostels, taxis flights over the Nasca lines and probably trying to sell their children too.

We retreated to the waiting room until it was light so we could choose our own hostel in relative peace, and ended up at a lush place with a pool! Quite possibly the first pool I have seen on the whole trip, and Emma and I got thoroughly overexcited and checked in and hang the expense!!

After a bit of a snooze and a look around the not very exciting town of Nasca, we booked our flight for the next morning over the Nasca lines. Then it started raining. Nasca is in the desert so this was met with not a little excitement! Then the electricity went out in the whole town (and let me get this clear, this was not torrential rain accompanied by storms, more of what we in the UK would call prolonged drizzle) and it stopped being quite so fun.

It hadn't rained in 3 or 6 years, depending who you asked, so our flight the next morning was delayed a bit whilst the mist cleared. Eventually we got up in a little 5 seater Cessna and swooped around over the desert looking at the lines created by the Nasca civilization (long before the Incas were ever around) somewhere around 200 BC - 600 AD. The lines were amazing, really quite strange. There are lots of trapezoid and linear shapes and also figures such as a hummingbird, a man and a monkey which are quite clear from the air. No one knows why they are there for sure, but it could be to do with star gazing, water locations or as some American nutter insists, alien spaceship landing strips. All in all very impressive and quite spooky. I think my pictures from the plane are going to be rubbish but I will see what they look like on a bigger screen before I inflict them on you!

Next stop was a night in Huacachina, a tiny oasis village outside Ica, where there are huge dunes for sandboarding and not a lot else! Tom and Emma went sandboarding but I thought my ankle wouldn't quite manage that - and I was quite glad I opted out when I saw the amount of sand still coming out of Tom's ears 2 days later!

Then we moved on to Ica, an important grape growing district where they produce a lot of Pisco - something I have got more used to over the last couple of weeks thanks to Tom and Emma! We went round a winery and saw the grapes being squished to make wine and pisco and fermentation barrels you could probably have lived in they were that big! We also visited the regional museum in Ica which was full of more mummies and displays on skull deformation practised by the pre-Inca peoples here, as well as loads and loads of really well preserved pottery.

Another bus then took us to Lima, where we stayed in the posh suburb of Miraflores. The centre of Lima is apparently fairly yuck and what little we saw of it did seem to confirm that!

Tom and Emma are now winging their way home to the UK, and I am in Cuzco. The bus journey on the way here was pretty horrible. It was supposed to take 21 hours but took 25, and about 20 of those were spent going uphill up switchback turns being thrown from side to side in my seat, with corresponding amounts of throwing up by the toddlers in the seat in front of me! Lovely. At about 4 am the bus stopped and switched of the engine, and peering out of the window confirmed we were half way up a mountain, on a switchback turn. There was a landslide on the road ahead and a big queue of buses and trucks built up until about 6.30 when a tractor made it through to clear the blockage. On the plus side, when dawn came I could see it was a very beautiful place to be stranded! Finally we got underway again and left on our merry way to Cuzco.

Anyway, have now had a good nights' sleep and have recovered my sense of humour but am seriously considering flying back to Lima!

So, this afternoon I am going to organize my way to Machu Picchu and have a look around Cuzco, as well as dodging the ever present touts and hawkers......

Also pictures of the last few weeks (months!?) should be up in the next few days!

Hope everyone is well

lots of love Sarah xxxx
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