FEBRUARY 13 Day 18….
Peru or Egypt
well here we are … I am not sure if we are in Peru or Egypt …we are in the middle of the desert and we are being told we are in southern Peru …. seems odd to say we sailed to a desert ….the two just don’t seem like they go together ….
and in fact this desert is actually a 50 mile preserve … even odder…like sailing up to the Grand Canyon…
Pisco is about 130 miles south of Lima and about 1000km (600 miles) from Chile. It is in the middle of the desert and is surrounded by beaches….sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Pisco is a modern village with a population a little over 100,000. Locals are dedicated to handicrafts, fishing and agricultue. (Avocados)….and use the underground water for irrigation. They are also exporters of natural gas to Europe.
Pisco is known as one of worlds most arid and dry desertsUntil now
of the world. It rains about every 10 years and temperatures run around 84 degrees.
Pisco is also route to the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines are a series of ancient Geoglyphs….. another new word for me….a large design or motif that is marked on the ground.
The Nazca desert has a high arid plateau with these ancient markings and spans more then 50 miles between the town of Nazca and Pulpa.
Nazca line’s were designated as a UNESCO world Heritage Site in in 1994.
The Nazca lines were created by the Nazca culture (a civilization pre Inca by 1000 yrs) between 400 and 650AD.
Lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the pebbles and uncovering the whitish /grayish ground beneath.
Living in Pisco ..water supply is limited to 3 hours a day.
The area looks very much like the other underdeveloped cities we have recently seen…. But in this case when we turn the corner ….out of nowhere is a big modern international airport…..very strange juxtaposition
So we head into the airport to take the plane that will fly us over the lines for a firsthand view…
the largest figures are over 660 ft across( that is more then two football fields) so there really is no other way to see them.
BTW. I think the airport may have been built for us ….there was no one else there ….
But our guide handed us a Map of the Nazca lines and the various figures we were about to see.
There are 12 Figures and they range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas and lizards.
Now the important part …to get on the plane …we have to get weighed…not such a good feeling when you have been on a cruise ship for 18 days.
….based on our weight we are assigned a seat ….god forbid we should change seats.
We each have our map to help us identify the 13 figures we are about to see.
we are finally here …
You must be kidding … I feel like we are playing Where’s Waldo?…we are suppose to see these figures through all this.
Hard to believe this was done from the ground over 1500 years ago.
Scholars differ on interpreting the purpose of the designs, but believe there is probably some religious significance
Others think the geometries indicate the flow of water ..like the Chimu symbols from Chan Chan…or connect to rituals to bring water.
Spiders birds and plants may be fertility symbols …. some say irrigation schemes or giant astronomical calendars. But in the end no one really knows.
And by now I don’t really care about any of the theories…. I am doing everything not to throw up…. like the gal behind me…
we are flying at such steep angles and such tight turns I just want off the plane… I’ll read about it in a book.
….we definitely deserved our survival certificate for this flight
Nazca lines are an amazing mystery …how early civilization did this is truly an incredible feat.
Historians do know that the dry, windless, stable climate and the isolation of the plateau have made it possible to preserve the lines hopefully for many years to come.
If you have the stomach then I would go for it.
Next two days are at sea… See you in Chile