Nazca, beautiful city of no taxis

I´m in Nazca now, arriving this afternoon after a 2.5 hour bus ride from Ica. It´s a lovely city! Ica seemed very hectic, and had some bad vibrations emananting from it (I was born in California, I can say things like that), hence camping out by the lagoon. Nazca, though, is much more mellow, it feels like the kind of place you can walk around, and talk to people in shops, etc.

After arriving I checked in to my hotel, and then headed for the local archaeological museum. Archaeology is cool, but the grounds were also home to peacocks and kitties, which is super’cool! I was expecting to catch a cab to my next destination, but there are no cabs, unlike Lima and Ica, where half the cars on the road were taxis. There are collectivos, little cars which go around and pick up and groups of people and drop them off at various locations, but I can´t figure out how and where to flag one down.

All of this led to quite a walk to my evening destination, a planetarium that had a show on the Nazca Lines. For those not familiar, the lines are geometric shapes and figures of animals drawn across the desert surface some time between 220 BC and 200 AD that can only be observed from the air. Whacky those Nazca were. There´s all kinds of theories about why they did it and how, most favoring astronomical observation, key positions related to irrigation, and ritual purposes. There´s also the ever popular extraterrestrial theory. Those of you who know my well might expect I fancy that one, but that´s just silly. Why would aliens teach local people to draw monkeys that only they can then see? My personal favorite is from the researcher who belives that the Nazca people had hot air balloons that thye could observe the figures from. Pre’colombian hot air balloons! Now there´s a theory.

Despite my affection for the town, I´m camping out a bit outside the city center. In this case in a hotel by the airport, from whence I depart on a morning flight over the lines. I´m then going on a desert tour involving an ancient burial ground with mummies (mmm, mummies) and in the evening I´m off by overnight bus to Cusco. I don´t know if I´ll have a chance to write again before then. If not, expect a communication blackout until Friday evening.

I hope to write you all again from 10,900 feet! If only I can first figure out how to get a ride back to my hotel tonight…

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