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Published: March 18th 2007
Sugar and Spice
Jude checks out all the spicy goodies at the Sunday market.
Nasca just keeps getting better and better and today has been no exception. Last night when we ate at the Los Angeles, the owner told us about a Sunday market that happens every weekend in Nasca and suggested we go down.
This sounded like an excellent idea so we got up reasonably early and made our way to Calle Maria Reiche by 9am. It was absolutely heaving but the atmosphere was just electric. There were local people everywhere and not a single tourist in sight as we made our way deeper into the labyrythine collection of market stalls. The narrow passages twisted and turned and we found ourselves hemmed in by excited shoppers searching through the endless rows of second hand clothes stands, as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of stalls selling all manner of fruits and vegetables, many of which we have never even seen before. Did you know that Peru has over 3,000 varieties of potato? Well, I reckon we must have seen at least 300 of them on our way round!
The best part of the experience in the market for us was how incredibly friendly everyone was. We were greeted with big warm
Glynn makes a new friend at the market. Check out the cheese in the middle of all the veggies!
smiles and curious looks accompanied by the same question wherever we went: "De que pais?" (which country are you from). Many people were genuinely surprised to learn that Glynn is English while I'm German but that we are married and it only seemed to fascinate them more. We chatted to loads of people on our way round, some of whom asked to have photos with us or simply just wanted to see what they looked like on our digital camera (without doubt one of the best ever inventions!). We had so much fun that we easily whiled away a good 3 hours before we bought anything!
My favourite moment of the morning had to be when we were just leaving the market and an indigenous elderly woman walked past us and I couldn't help but watch her as she passed, all dressed up in the typical Peruvian style of dress complete with big felt hat. As I watched her, she was watching me back and then came the gleeful cry of 'Gringa!' (foreigner) and a massive toothless grin appeared on her face. I wish now that I had rushed up to her for a photo as I think she
Look, black sweetcorn!
would have been as thrilled as me to actually meet face to face. Awesome.
Our only purchase of the day was for a small backpack as we have decided to pick up a few souvenirs while we're here. The post is relatively expensive in Peru so we'll more than likely be carrying stuff back home with us from now on. Anyhow, we popped over to one stall selling bags and found a cool little backpack with a bear on the front that looks a lot like our Jish so of course we had to have it!
This afternoon we met up with our new friend, Jordan who had offered to show us around a bit more as he had the afternoon off work. We had been hoping to go to the Cahuachi ruins and to the Chauchilla cemetary but no taxi would take us. Apparently the roads to both places are dreadful so the only taxis that would take us wanted to charge a fortune (by Peruvian standards any way). We eventually found a willing driver but couldn't believe how tiny his taxi was - no bigger than a Fiat Panda - but he would only take us
More fish than you can poke a crab claw at.
to Cahuachi for 20 Soles an hour. As it had taken so long to find a cab, we wouldn't have had time to see both places anyway so in we climbed.
Well, it's no exaggeration that the road to Cahuachi is bad. Our little taxi bumped and skidded across the dirt track for 25km but our driver handled it all magnificently. We were particularly lucky to find him as he has driven the road many times and knows what to look out for. After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the ruins which I have to say were nice but a little disappointing. Cahuachi is a sacred site where the ancient peoples built pyramids for worshipping their gods. The whole area is still being excavated although the shape of one 7-tier pyramid is slowly being revealed. The reason I was disappointed with the site was purely because the archaeologists there are reconstructing the temple walls as they work and this takes away some of the magic for me. I like to see old stuff in its original form, no matter how it might look. Nevertheless, it was well worth the visit just to get a taste for such a
Piggy in the Middle
We were surprised by all the livestock on sale, everything from these wee piglets to guines pigs (a popular Peruvian dish) and ducks.
very old civilisation.
Back along the road, we passed a burial area where grave robbers have essentially plundered every single grave for anything of value. Some of the bodies were buried here inside clay pots and this is what the robbers stole, leaving bones scattered around and exposed to the elements. There are small fragments of pottery lying around everywhere and we even found a few pieces with patterns and drawings on although these we left behind out of respect.
It was really windy in the desert and we were being steadily lashed by sand and dust in the air so we were glad to get back in the taxi and head back to Nasca. We ended up taking 2.5 hours to get there and back, which cost 50 Soles (about Â£8). We're glad we went there instead of to the Chauchilla cemetary as it gave us a wonderful insight into ancient Nasca life.
We had been hoping to take Jordan out for dinner as a thank you but alas he had to attend a meeting. Instead, we made our way back to the excellent Los Angeles Restaurant and tucked in to another great meal. Tomorrow we'll
As you can see, there were hundreds of people everywhere - it was awesome!
be leaving Nasca and I have to say that if the hotel had been a little bit cheaper, we would have been happy to stay here for far longer. Most tourists only stay one night in Nasca which I guess explains why so many of the locals were more chatty with us than other visitors. Perhaps they just don;t waste their energy on people they'll only see once. By spending a few days in this lovely town, we felt very much like we were becoming part of the community already. I can guarantee that we'll be going back to Nasca again!
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