BootsnAll Travel Network

Lima and Nazca

The flight from Baton Rouge to Atlanta took off nearly 30 minutes late due to thunderstorms that kept cropping up around the airport.  We managed to take off between storms as one could be seen rapidly approaching on the horizon. Once airborne in Atlanta, I settled in the for the 7 hour flight to Lima. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I each seat had its own LCD screen and a normal plug in. The bathrooms on the plane had wood flooring which was a first for me. I was seated next to lady who was traveling on a diplomatic passport for the Mexican government. After arrival I had to get my sleeping bag from the baggage claim (I just couldn’t make if fit in my bag no matter how hard I tried). Passing through customs, I emerged into a sea of people holding up placards with names and taxi signs.  I managed to find the driver who I had arranged before hand to take me to my hotel.

The drive from the hotel went through an interesting mix of affluent and poor neighborhoods. The streets were full of people even though is it was near midnight. Lima apparently has a very active night scene. The traffic moved with a typical developing world disregard for the rules yet it seems to work and no one ever wrecks.  The route to the hotel went along the ocean. Away from the ocean is a long series of high cliffs upon which Lima sits. I was dropped off at the Hostal Gemina at (in the Barranco district of Lima) about 1:00 am and went straight to my room which was sparse yet clean with two beds. I would be getting a roommate the next night.

The next morning I met the first people who would be on my tour at breakfast which was very minimal consisting of bread and butter.  After breakfast, I had to a bit of bank hopping before I finally found an ATM (2.94 Peruvian Soles = $1 USD) which would work with my card and found a supermarket where I could get some toiletries I forgot at home. After handling the necessities I and several other people from my tour signed up for a city tour through the hotel. We boarded a bus and drove through the affluent Miraflores neighborhood full of modern apartment blocks before reaching the main downtown plaza of the city which was where the city was founded by Pizzaro. The square was surrounded by the presidential palace, the main cathedral, and several other government buildings.  Our guide remarked that in addition to Spanish influence the square also had French aspects. At this point I looked around and saw several couples sitting on benches “making out”. I am not sure if this is what she meant though. The highlight of the tour was the Franciscan monastery which is still in use today.  There is a catacomb under the monastery that was in use up into the 19th century. As there was limited spaced, many of the grave niches were recycled and the old bones would be dumped down a well. Today the bones in the well have been arranged in an artistic pattern with several layers of femurs surrounding a center full of skulls. It almost appears as if they are engaged in synchronized swimming. In the evening we met up with everyone else in the group. The group consisted of about sixteen people. It was a mix of Canadian and English with an Australian, a lady from New Caledonia, and me rounding out the nationality mix. My roommate was a seventeen year old Englishman doing the tour with his sister and father.

We headed out in the morning to an oasis near the town of Ica. Peru is can be divided into three main climate zone. There is the desert coast which is one of the driest places on Earth, the relatively moist and verdant Andean highlands, and the tropical Amazon jungle beyond the Andes. Upon leaving Lima and its surrounding shanty towns, we entered a harsh desert environment. We occasionally crossed semi fertile valleys with farms made possible by small rivers on the way to the oasis.  The oasis itself is a popular vacation spot with Peruvians as it provides a sunny break from overcast Lima.  The oasis is situated amongst massive sand dunes which rise over 400ft. I was mystified as a to what prevented the sand from just blowing in and filling in the area.  At the oasis several of us went up into the dunes in a dune buggy. The ride could best be described as a roller coaster as we went roaring up and down over these massive dunes. We stopped and got the opportunity to sandboard which is like snowboarding except on sand. Not ever having snowboarded in my life I went down on my stomach as some of the slopes dropped over 100 ft. Leaving the oasis we headed to Nazca which home to the Nazca lines. The desert here is full of mysterious lines that spread out over the desert in various animal and geometric shapes. They are so massive that the shapes can only be really be made out from the air. No one knows why they were made.

To view the Nazca lines, we flew over them in light Cessna aircraft from the local airport. This was my first time ever being in a plane this small and you could really feel you were flying. I ended up getting a little green around the edges but it was worth it as we got great views of the lines. I spent the afternoon wandering around the small town of Nazca by myself looking in various shops and going to a museum that contained artifacts from the local area including some mummies. The mummies were placed in the fetal position instead of being placed flat like the Egyptian mummies. One exhibit contained skulls with ropes coming out of their heads. The warriors in the region used to take the skulls of people they had killed and attach them to their belts with these ropes. I then returned to the hotel and got ready to catch our night bus to Arequipa.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Lima and Nazca”

  1. Dad and Mom Says:

    Where’s the rest of the story?????

  2. Posted from United States United States

Leave a Reply