Desert mysteries..........

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Apr 25, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Maury, Lima

Flag of Peru  , Ica,
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Early start again today, 7am, as the Nazca flights were on after all. Yippee!  This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences we really didn't want to miss. Fortunately, I was equipped with both SeaBands - Sarah for some unknown reason wore only one.  Big mistake - you need two. The flight was rather bumpy and circled and arced over the lines, and even without having eaten breakfast, everyone (except me) felt nauseous as if they'd been on the worst fairground ride ever!  But..... what an awesome experience! It was amazing to see enormous figures of birds, spiders, monkeys and geometric shapes etched into the stony desert plain. The highlight was a figure, etched into a rock, of a 'spaceman' waving which can just be seen in the video below. The lines are thought to have been created by three different groups: the Paracas people 900-200BC, the Nazca people 200BC-600AD and settlers from the Ayacucho at around 630BC. There is also a theory that the ancient Nazcans flew in hot air balloons - based on the fact that the lines are best seen from the air. There are also ancient pieces of pottery showing balloonists and local legends of flying men. Fascinating stuff!
Later that morning we visited the Chauchilla Cemetery an old Nazca burial place discovered in the 1920's. Unfortunately the place has been looted by grave robbers and the whole area is littered with human bones and bits of ancient cloth - its amazing!  The graves have been excavated and the existing mummies placed back inside. They are in very good condition considering they are well over a thousand years old - still with hair, some with skin and their beautiful textiles still intact.  We had the best guide ever to show us round the cemetery, her name was
Hilda and she was awesome.  She was so animated and enthusiastic that we all hung on her every word!  I thought the cemetery was incredible and enjoyed it immensely, unlike Sarah who felt it was ghoulish, eerie, a bit gruesome, grizzly and disrespectful of the dead.  It was all of those, but I still loved it!
The overnight bus to Arequipa was canceled due to the strikes, so in the afternoon we had to return to Lima by bus in order to fly from Lima to Arequipa the next day. The bus trip was a massive 8 hours, so we were over the moon when we discovered that the buses are excellent, with plenty of legroom, reclining seats with foot rests, films and food - it was better than the flight from Heathrow to Lima!  And when we got there we were even more ecstatic to find a hairdryer, shampoo and conditioner in the hotel bathroom - sheer luxury!

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