Nazca Day II: Day with the Dead

It seems I did have a chance to write again. I´m back at the hotel now after a day of sightseeing, cooling my heels between now and getting on the overnight bus to Cusco. In the conference room next to me an incredibly loud (but good) group of musicians has gathered and is playing for what looks like some kind of conference roundtable. I can feel the vibration in my breastbone!

Still and all, a pretty good day. I got down to the front desk at a little after 8 for my flight over the Nazca lines, only there were two problems. They had no record of the flight reservation I´d made online, and it turned out it was 7 instead of 8. I´m still not sure how that happened, I think maybe my tricky radio clock radioed itself in and reset itself for US daylight savings, undoing the manual time change I´d made. Technology.

As for the reservation, I took a deep breath while they made calls to the agency in Lima, trying to practice my awareness, as it´s developed on this trip so far, that nothing happens quite like it´s supposed to, but it all works out eventually. They verified my existence (something I´ve had trouble doing all by myself sometimes) and informed me that ym flight was at 2. I then did what any sensible person would do- went back to the room and took a bath. Soon after they called and told me I´d been upgraded to 12:30.

We went up in a small plane, the pilot and 5 passengers. Some of you may know I don´t much care for flying (as in sweat, armrest gripping and sheer unreasoning panic), but that´s mostly on jumbo jets. I actually enjoy the small planes, because it feels much more controlled in an odd way, almost like flying a la Superman. I´m super glad I did this, becuase the sheer volume and scope of the miles long lines in the desert was stunning. The figures were great, but I actually liked the lines and geometric patterns better for their vastness and inscrutable purposefullness. I was alos very glad I wasn´t the Argentinian girl next to me, who spent most of the 30 minute flight heaving into a plastic bag. In her defense, there was a lot of banking and turning.

After that, I took a tour out to Chuachilla, a pre-colombian burial site just outside of town. Tour being just me, in a car for hire that the tour öperator¨from the kiosk next to the hotel flagged down and told where to go. The driver did stick with me and tell me about the cemetery, though, (extreme) limits of my comprehension of spanish permitting. The whole field is the sight of tombs of one of the civilizations that preceeded the Inca, which have been extnsively looted since then, but some of which have been reconstituted complete with mummified remains.

It was an amazing scene. Inherently somber, and I was moved by the obvious care with which the burials were done- most were wrapped in extensive linenes, some had decorative wigs, and thay all contained pottery and even dried food offerings. In-between the ropped off walkways leading to restored tombs, the desert snads were littered with bones, pottery and linen frgaments. The real live wind whistling across the dry desert plain and big copper-colored mountains looming in the background gave it the proper stark and yet meaningful feeling.

So now I´m resting and gathering my wits for the 14 hour overnight bus ride to Cusco. I sort of wish more of it would be during the day, since going through the Andes must be spectacular. This is probably the portion of my trip most prone to kidnapping or plungng into a ravine, but assuming none of that hapens, I´ll write more from Cusco tomorrow eveing. See you then!

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