The South American Adventure - Day 8!!

Day 8 - Running on Fumes, Flying the Lines and Gazing at Stars

Today, we hit a wall.  If there was any day to hit a wall, I suppose today would be a good enough one to do so.  I'm sure we could blame the bus from last night (I do) or the hike up Waynapicchu (that too) or the constant movement from one location to another (sure), but I think it's a general travel wall.  We are officially halfway through the trip (oh yeah...this goes to Day 16).  And with that halfway point, we're bound to get exhausted.  Luckily the next two days are low key.  Cause if they weren't, I'm guessing a hospital stay would be in order.

We had an early morning again today.  Well, not especially, but going to bed at 5a and getting up at 7a-ish makes it early.  Today was a good day, cause it was laundry day!!  I didn't care how much it costs, I was sending my clothes out for some cleaning.  $21 later and the world will be a shiny and new place again.  Sigh...

At this point, I think we're becoming  connoisseurs of the Peruvian Hotel breakfast spread.  3B's (Lima) was fine.  Their scrambled eggs were magic, but there wasn't anything else.  Torre Dorada (Cusco) is the current gold standard in breakfasts down here.  Not only were the omelets very  good, but they always had lovely cookies and bundt cakes that were freshly made in the tiny kitchen.  Here at Casa Andina, the spread was acceptable, but I think we got to it a little late as the eggs looked a bit more sketchy...and seemed more mass-produced.  The next two hotels have some tough breakfast-shoes (slippers??) to fill...

Our main reason for our time in Nazca was finally here.  We were going to fly the lines.  Now, I had never heard of the Nazca Lines before, but Adele was super excited about this and I did a little looking online.  Here's the info from Wikipedia...

"The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the ubiquitous reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are designs of animal, bird, fish or human figures. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but they generally ascribe religious significance to them."

As for when these lines were made...scholars say (again, based on Wikipedia) they were made between 400 and 600 AD.  It's incredible that they are still visible.  And it's incredible that they were ever visible.

We went to a tiny airport and hopped on a 6 seater airplane (well, 8 seater when you count the pilots) with two highly smelly people.  One pilot steered the plane, the other pointed out 10 of the figures - Whale (which I didn't see), Trapezoids, Astronaut, Monkey, Dog, Hummingbird, Spider, Condor, Alcatraz, Parrot, Tree and Hands.  Very cool.  Pictures may or may not turn out.  We'll see a little later...

Just as a side note on the pictures, I promise they're coming.  Each blog post will be updated with pics and links when I return back home.  It's not easy to do right now.

The plane was small enough that we were all seated according to size.  So I was in the middle and Adele was in the back.  Unfortunately, she and her seatmate (a non-smelly one...unlike mine) were both prone to nausea.  The woman next to Adele really didn't do well (did not blow chunks, though she got real close) and Adele...she held it together.

Flying the lines was the biggest deal for the day, but it didn't take long.  Before we knew it, we were back at the hotel.  It was a little early for lunch, but we both knew if we sat down on the beds in the hotel, we would be asleep.  We slowly walked the three blocks back to the bus station to confirm tomorrow's ride (7 hours...confirmed!!) and we made our way towards a place for food.

At this point, we've been eating pretty much all Peruvian food all the time.  We have to stay away from fresh fruits and veggies (or at least those you can't/don't peel) while we're here and man...I need some fruits and veggies.  After our Peruvian lunch, we both came to the realization that we need something different soon.  I'm just not sure what we can do while we're in Nazca.  There's a Chinese place down the street that my guidebook mentions.  That might be an option.

Next, we had a walk around the Plaza de Armas in Nazca.  Apparently, every city has a Plaza de Armas (even Machu Picchu!!).  Nazca was a nice change of pace from the last 7 days.  The other places were very bustly and loud.  Nazca is much quieter and less in your face about things.  Our driver this morning told us that there were about 60,000 people that live in Nazca and that 50% work in the gold and copper mines.  There are a bunch of hard working folks here.

We knew that in our current state, we had to go back to the room for a bit of a nap.  That was probably the understatement of the year.  We slept for 3 hours.  It was worth every moment.  Sigh...

During the last few days when we were reading up on Nazca, we discovered a daily "conference" at a hotel down the street from ours that discussed the astronomical significance of the lines.  After the discussion, we would go to the planetarium and look at the stars.  Sign. Us. Up.

Happily, we didn't sleep through the time we were meant to be there.  We walked the few blocks down to the Hotel Nazca Lines (where apparently the rich stay) and we went into the planetarium.  Good thing we took a nap first, cause it would have been tremendously easy to fall asleep.  But the presentation was really cool.  The lines are a mystery, but there are many ideas why the lines were made.  The speaker said one reason was to point to water.  Even now, Nazca gets 30 minutes of rain a year.  They can turn on water for only one hour per day.  My first thought was that the folks in the suburbs would be pissy.  They like to water their grass way too much.

After the presentation, we stayed to see the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is where we nerded out a bit much.  We saw the Southern Cross and we saw Alpha Centauri...the closest star to us and a star you can only see from the Southern Hemisphere.  Cool!!  Then we all got a chance to see Saturn in the telescope.  Along with it's moon, Titan.

Post-planetarium, we stopped at a Chinese place for dinner.  Super good and super cheap.  It's filling enough to keep us going tonight.  It's going to be an early one, but we have to pack again.  We always have to pack...

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