02.06.2007 - 03.06.2007 17 °C
Saturday 2nd June
Annoyingly the overnight bus, for Paul at least, wasn't a good nights sleep at all, though he must have been relaxed enough that we didn't get off the bus at our stop in Nazca, and stayed on for a further two hours, arriving in Ica, which is not on the list of places to visit.
Not a good start to the day - Paul half thinking that we might as well now just stay on until Lima (saving a few bucks on the fare), though of course Chris wanting to get up into the air and see the lines. More annoyingly, by the time we'll get back to Nazco, it'll be too late for a flight today.
A taxi takes us from the bus stop, and we're told the bus we need to take us back is far away, which turns out to be less than a kilometre. Had wished for better spanish to have a pop at the driver, but, instead, spoke the international language of 'hard cash' and gave him half of what he had asked for. Thankfully no knife of gun was pulled on us to cough up the rest.
Luck also follows into the terminal, and there's a direct bus heading back to Nazca, and we arrive just after 9.30am, tired and stressed.
The bus stops right opposite decent-looking Hotel Alegria - score a nice room for $27. There's a nice pool here, though unlikely to be warm enough that we'll use it.
They do the Nazca lines tour from here, as well as other trips, so Chris books up for a cemetery tour this afternoon, and a flight over the lines for tomorrow morning - $50 for both trips.
Relax in the room for a bit, after the nightmare journey here, before tracking down some lunch, and find a chinese place.
Paul catches up on some internet after, whilst Chris goes back to the hotel to sit by the pool and catch up with the diary.
Chris's (Chauchilla) cemetery trip heads off at 3pm, just 3 of them in the guide's car. The cemetery is an impressive collection of mummies, most of which still have their original hair (some 2 metres+ long), and their funerary ornaments. They belong to the pre- Inca Nazca culture that was responsible for the famous 'lines'. On the way back we stopped off at a ceramics/pottery shop/workshop and a gold processing workshop.
Not many other restaurants that took our fancy in town, so back to the Chinese restaurant from earlier - great portions.
Sunday 3rd June
Nice breakfast by the pool, though it's too chilly to brave a morning swim.
Chris heads of just before 9am to go out on her flight over the Nazca lines (organised via the hotel). The coach gets us to the airport (need to pay 10 Soles departure tax), and before we're in the air there is a short (BBC) film about the Nazca lines.
6 of us go up in the small plane and straightaway you start to see the lines and triangles. Soon after you come across the various shapes - spaceman, monkey, hummingbird etc., though it's quite bright this morning and not the best view. The morning is still the best time to go as conditions deteriorate in the afternoon, strong winds causing turbulance.
Whilst it's only a short flight (30 minutes) it's very much worth it. Some of the designs on the ground look quite small from the plane and before you know it you are going onto the next.
You can visit a small tower at the side of the main road through to/out of Nazca and get a 'part' view of a couple of the markings.
Whilst there was a fair bit of banking/circling, certainly wasn't a rough flight and no one was ill.
Chris is back in time that we can just make it in time for the bus leaving at 11am for Lima, though we have to change in Ica, a couple of hours up the road.
As promised, the connection bus to Lima does leave 5 minutes after we arrive, which on this occasion is a bugger because we both need a wee, and there's no facilities on the bus. However, we do seem to have an empty water bottle - at least one of us could have a comfortable journey. Not telling you if it was used or not...
As we get nearer to the city the clouds come in, and you can sense the smog in the air.
The bus station we arrive at, like many town/cities, is outside of the centre, so we get a taxi to Hotel Kamana, and manage to talk down the price from USD45 to USD35, which is thanks to mentioning that we're with Exodus.
The room is plain but fine and pleased to have a safe to keep our things whilst we're in Lima - we're a little wary of the city, as far as safety goes, though not because we've heard any firsthand stories of woe.
For dinner we find a quiet pizza restaurant, near the buzzing pedestrian street, so quiet that when we pay they don't have change of 100Soles (about GBP16). More importantly, empty stomachs have been well filled, though perhaps not quite enough for Paul who stops at McDonalds on the way back.
Watch some TV before bed.