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Published: January 28th 2007
For our overnight trip we again chose Ormeno because the buses are nicer and have a restroom. The trip wound through switchback roads and narrow passes. Sitting at the front it became obvious that driving this route at night at least allowed the driver the ability to see lights of on-coming trucks because they weren't visible around the twists and turns. Several places the road was washed over with sand and gravel from the steep hill sides. The town of Nazca is extremely small and obviously exists for tourists. As you enter you pass a small airport and several billboards advertising flights over the Nazca lines. Next to Machu Picchu this was my main reason for coming to South America. As soon as the bus stopped at the terminal Sam ran to the ticket counter to by tickets back to Lima on the first available bus. In the terminal we were approached by a guide offering flights over the lines for $ 40 each which was actually less than our book stated. We quickly piled into a minivan and taken to a waiting hall across the road from the airport. We were informed that we would be taking off in 30
to 45 minutes and should wait in the rest area full of souvenirs and snacks. After an hour Sam became cranky wondering when we would get off the ground. At 9:15 we were informed that we were next and should follow our guide to the airfield. Here we were introduced to our pilot and shown to our small Cessna plane. The plane only had room for the pilot and five passengers. This was my first time in a small plane and our guide book said that they get thrown around easily here and airsickness is expected. Needless to say I was a little nervous as the plane vibrated like mad as it taxied down the runway. Thankfully there was a sticker on the control panel to remind the pilot that spins and aerobatics were not allowed. The lines were everything I could imagine. It is amazing to see them stick out so plainly against all the other tire tracks and roads in the area. The straight lines that created the triangles looked exact. From the air you can see complete figures that are massive as well as the hundreds of directional lines radiating outwards. The pilot would slowly fly by
on one side and then dip back around so the other side of the plane could view the sites. Probably the best known figure is the hummingbird as it appears on all Peruvian logos. The Hummingbird sits by itself on the crest of a plateau and is more distinct than any of the others. The cartoon like figure carved in the side of a hill nicknamed the astronaut seemed surreal when you think that these were created between four hundred B.C. and seven hundred A.D. The bird figure called the Alcatraz was so large that even as we flew over it we couldn't fit it in a single shot. Some of the lines are over nine kilometers long. There are over 10,000 different lines and 300 figures that still defy understanding. Some lines are easier to define than others but since these are little more than a small clearing of darker stones to show the white sand beneath, it is amazing to realize they have lasted for over thousands of years. It is a shame that the very highway, the Pan-American, that brings you to Nazca to view such wonders actually runs over and bisects the figure called lizard. After
our thirty-five minute flight we were back on the ground to soon. We quickly caught a taxi back into the city in search of food. A restaurant was recommended and we walked the four blocks from the bus terminal. We arrived at 10:00 a.m. hoping for a good meal only to find we were an hour early. Across the street a concrete room with six tables and chairs and nothing else offered coffee and breakfast. We decided to have coffee and wait while we reflected on our tour. At the restaurant Sam had baby goat stew that was actually chunks of goat sans stew adding to Sam's never-ending search for a good meal in Peru. After lunch we walked back to the terminal to board one of the three buses there for our trip to Lima, paying little attention to the fact the two were up on blocks with their transmission removed. If two out of three ain’t bad that means by probability that this bus should be O.K., right?
Well we were almost right. Apart for double booking our seats the seven and a half hour trip back to Lima was relatively uneventful until the bus stalled in the
middle of downtown fifteen minutes from the terminal. After several attempts the driver was able to restart the bus and finish the journey. Maybe we should have paid closer attention to the broken down buses. From the terminal we caught a cab to the Miraflores area of Lima. Our hostel, Loki (formerly Incahouse) is around ten blocks from our previous hostel. The Loki overlooked the main plaza in Miraflores and definitely caters to backpackers looking for the night life. The next morning was Friday and we went in search of the Brazilian embassy to get visas for the next leg of the trip. We also tried to find a Cathay Pacific office so we could reroute a few flights and get our visas later in Buenos Aires when we have more time. After bouncing from Cathay to American we finally landed at LAN Peru and were able to get a flight first thing Saturday morning. That meant leaving the hostel at 4:00 a.m. whereby we passed many late nighters still on the town.
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