2000 Jungle Journal

Lima Life It's a Jungle out there! Nazca Notes
Titicaca Tidbits Cusco Chronicles Mountain Memories


June 14, 2000

Today we flew over the Nazca Lines!  For a while it looked like we might not be able to fly at all. 

Our tour guide picked us up at 7:30 in the morning.  We hoped to go up right away but our guide said it was too hazy and that we would do our city tour first.

So we set out for the Aqueducts Catallo.  These waterways were built by the Nazca people 1,500 years ago to irrigate their crops.  Portions of them are under ground.  They are lined with rows of river stones and are about 6 feet deep.  Remarkably, they have withstood the earthquakes and floods that have destroyed more modern structures.

After the aqueducts we went to a ceramics studio.  The artist showed us how the typical Nazca style spout and stirrup jar is formed.  They start with a molded bottom and use coils of clay to create the sides and top.  The artist made is look so easy that I'm sure I could do it (ha)!

We arrived at the airport at about 10:30 to find 3 groups ahead of us.  The planes weren't flying yet but we were assured they would be up by 12:30.  The problem was high winds sometimes come up in the afternoons. 

While we waited, we met our fellow travellers.  There were twin sisters from Ireland, 3 brothers from the U.S. and a large group of Israelis.  This is one of the wonderful things about travel.  Not only do you meet people from the country you visit, you get to meet other visitors also.  And like us, everyone was anxious to get in the air.

Well, true to their word, the first planes went up at 12:30.  After some nail biting, we were finally in the air at 2:00.   We got to fly in a "big" plane.  A six seat, single engine plane..  Most of the other planes were only 4 seats and had smaller engines.  Not withstanding a bit of turbulence, we were off to see the famous Nazca Lines.
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The Nazca people created over 150 drawings on the desert floor.  They created fish, birds, trapezoids and other shapes.  The amazing thing is that these designs are not visible from the ground, only from the air.  This has created much speculation about the people.  One thing for sure is they were great mathematicians and could calculate the size of these shapes without being able to see them.  Check out this great site for Nazca Lines information.

While we were flying, the pilot would do his best to let everyone see the figures.  He did this by spinning around in tight circles and by banking the plane sharply from side to side.  Kim was the only person on the plane not to lose her equilibrium.

That night we took the first of our long distance, overnight buses.  The ride was actually quite pleasant and we slept most of the way.  Getting on board was something else.  The bus was delayed 3 hours as the original bus was involved in some type of accident and never arrived. 

We awoke in the city of Arequipa, a large, but nice city located at the base of several dormant volcanoes.  The tallest stands at over 6000 meters, over 18,000 feet tall.

We have just returned from an excellent day trip into the mountains to the Vicuņa Reservation. Vicuņas are a type of camelid, also related to the llama and the alpaca.  While the latter are domesticated, the Vicuņas are wild and only found in the Peruvian Andes.  We were very lucky and saw two herds.  Their coloring and size are similar to the pronghorn antelope we have in Arizona.

The reserve is at an elevation of over 3,800 meters (nearly 12,000 feet).  On our tour we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant that was at 4,225 meters.  The Andes are incredibly tall and the temperature was on the cool side.  We have already bought alpaca sweaters to help keep us warm. 
Outside Arequipa are two canyons which vie for the title of deepest canyon on earth.  We had hoped to see them and judge for ourselves, however, we have run out of time and have to move on. 

Tonight we are taking another night bus to Lake Titicaca.  We were just warned that the temperature there is unseasonably cold, almost freezing.  Guess we'll be wearing our new sweaters a lot.

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