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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Nazca and the Lines

A Peruvian town, alongside the Pacific shore
Yesterday Ingrid and I headed out of Lima via bus, for a trip that took around 6 hours. We passed a lot of Peru along the way - most of it reminded me somewhat of Nevada or some other sparsely populated state.
Peru seemed to be all farmland and pastures
Along the way Ingrid pointed out interesting things, such as little houses where citizens stake their claim on spots of land. It was as if the days of the Oklahoma land rush were still on, just a bit further south.
Little huts that seem deserted but are not

We had to stop and change to a another bus along the way.

When we got off the bus in Nazca - a small desert town, Ingrid went to the restroom while I nervously fended off a half dozen taxi drivers and others who all assured me they were my good amigos and had a great hotel for me and good transportation. When Ingrid returned we chose a couple of likely fellows and after driving to two hotels, that didn't quite fit our needs, we arrived at a third, Locki Nazca Hotel. There we got a double room with a private bath.

 We figure the taxi driver, his friend and the hotelier were all in cahoots together. The hotelier said he could arrange for us to fly over the infamous Nazca lines.

So, early evening I signed up for an flight to take place early the following morning. The guy had me stand on a scale. He then eyeballed me carefully, then told me he, being charitable - could 'cut me a deal' as there were only three skinny Swiss ladies also signed up for a flight, and they would offset my weight so I needn't be charged for two seats. Ingrid looked mortified, but I figured, my weight is not exactly a state secret. I can add, Ingrid had recommended I skip the flight, as a couple of years ago, she & her brother took a flight over the lines, but it amounted to an aerial barf bag party for both of them. I assured her I am motion-sickness proof.

There were NO Swiss ladies on my Cessna flight!

Next morning we were up early for my flight, which was scheduled for 7:45. I paid my previously unmentioned 15 Soles airport tax and then we waited. And waited. My flight didn't happen until around 10:45. Ingrid said I might as well get used to doing things on 'Peruvian Time'.

Looking over the pilot's shoulders

It was a good thing my fellow passengers and I were shown what to look for from the air. The time over each figure was brief, being no more than 2 minutes or so per figure, with the plane tilting first right (my side of the plane) then left for the other passengers. The entire flight was about 30 minutes. I found that interesting as the guy who signed me up had told me the flight was four hours long!

When I first took these photos I could barely make out what I'd caught on digital. I was certain I hadn't gotten more than a couple of the figures. But closer examination on computer revealed I did better than I thought. This Astronaut was probably the easiest to see being carved on a reddish mountain side.
The first picture & easiest to find is the 'Astronaut'
Here is my bird's eye - or ET's - view of the Whale

Here is my photo of the Whale, which at first I had trouble seeing, then it seemed to just 'POP' right off the ground and I could easily see it.

Here is an easier to see version of it I found on line

The Hummingbird was pretty easy to see, as it is on top of a rather flat plateau so there hasn't been any damage done it it by miners or over enthusiastic fans.
Here is the Hummingbird - quite easy to see.
My view of the Monkey's Tail

This is what I call 'the Monkey's tail'. From the air, I couldn't make out any bit of it in the time I was given. I just shot pic after pic, hoping for the best.

The Monkey

Here is how the Monkey used to look in its entirety. I'm not sure if it ever looks that distinctive any more.

My digital of the Parrot

This figure is easy enough to see if you know what you're looking at - The Parrot.

On-line photo of the Parrot

Tinted and easier to see version of the Parrot

The modern or new age view of  the Nazca lines that the lines were attempts of the ancients to communicate with extra terrestrials who had visited them.

The Peruvian view is the ancients, made the lines of tropical rain forest creatures  - Monkey, Parrot, Trees - to attract the attributes of the rain forest to the desert. The 'make it rain here' view makes as much sense as any other explanation I suppose.

This next shot shows at the top center, looking all tiny is a viewing tower that sits right on the Pan American highway. We actually passed it and the figures beneath it as we rode past it on the bus ride into Nazca. I got this photo but didn't actually see the figures when I was over them at all, and didn't see them until I viewed them on a computer. The one of the left bottom is the 'Tree' and the one at the right is 'Manos' or 'hands'.

'Tree of Life' on the left, 'Manos' on the right

<--- The tower view from the ground. From there you can view the lines or get your daily dose of exercise just walking up those stairs.

It was a one time thrill getting to view the famous Nazca lines from the air. The Cessna I took held four passengers a pilot and co-pilot and due to its size, it was able to view the lines from a low height. Ingrid said the flight she took was in a larger plane so they were higher up, and all the twirling they did over the lines were what made her stomach twirl.

I never thought I would ever actually get to see the lines for myself and I'm grateful for that thrill of a lifetime. And as I told Ingrid, even ignoring the lines, any time I get to fly in a small plane is a big day for me regardless of what I get to fly over.

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