24/03/2008 - 25/03/2008
The next town we were staying in was Nazca. However on the way we stopped of at a few other places. Firstly a tour of a Pisco distillery, then we stopped at an oasis in the middle of a load of sand dunes for driving around like idiots in dune buggies and sandboarding down big dunes.
Nazca is home of the famous Nazca Lines, a series of massive lines in the Nazca Desert, created by the pre-Inca Nazca people between 200 B.C. and 700 A.D. The remarkable thing about the lines is that many of them form pictures of animals and creatures far too large to be seen from the ground. You can only see the images if you fly overhead in a plane, which is exactly what we did:
No-one knows exactly why the Nazca people chose to create the lines; they never developed reading and writing so we've never discovered a scroll with the writing "we created the Nazca Lines because..." You get the usual calendar, astronomical and alien theories though. (The top figure above, the 'astronaut', really gives the alien theorists some ammo)
Personally I just think they were trying to fuck with the heads of future archeologists. Which they've succeeded in doing wonderfully.
Next we stopped at the nearby Chauchilla Cemetery, the burial site for a pre-Inca people. This site contains many ancient skeletons and artifacts displayed in their original tombs. Sadly a lot of the remains and artifacts have been looted over the years; you can see lots of craters around the site where grave robbers have started digging.
Lastly we went to see a ceramic workshop where they still make pottery as the Nazca people would have done all those years ago.
Our evening meal was quite different too... We ate at a pachamanca restaurant. Basically the food was a mixture of meat and vegetables; it's the method of cooking that is unusual. Rocks are heated up on a fire and then warpped amongst the food in various leaves and clothes before being buried under the ground and left for a few hours. After a quick ceremony (dropping coca leaves on the ground, blessing the food, that sort of thing) it's dug up and eaten. Quite nice it was too, although it seemed far too much effort for me...
We then jumped on the night bus to head to our next stop, the city of Arequipa...