Nasca lines, Chauchilla Cemetery and ancient aquaducts [YQrtw Day 112 Jul 31]

Up close with Nasca lines

Location: Nasca, Peru

After the bus ride last night, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep but the hostel owner convinced me to join a land tour of the Nasca lines.

At breakfast, the tour guide ordered me to the front desk. I was very annoyed since I was still eating. He then tried to sell me his package as I was not pleased with him, I was non-committal.

At breakfast, I met a lady from the US. Her name was Ida* (not her real name). Since she wanted to go on the land tour to the Nasca lines and the cemetery, I said I would too.

Ida said that she did not have a chance to take photos of the lines since her camera batteries ran out yesterday when she was on the plane ride.

Seeing the Nasca lines up close

The land tour turned out to be quite fun and the guide was nicer when not trying to sell his package.

Our first stop was a lookout for the Nasca lines. The lookout was a metal structure with a narrow winding staircase. From that look out, we saw a hand, an upside down tree and a lizard which are part of the Nasca lines.

Height of Nasca lines lookout
Height of Nasca lines lookout
Sunblock and I at the Nasca lookout
Sunblock and I at the Nasca lookout

From that high (which is not much), the Nasca lines do not look that impressive. Up close, I saw that the ditches were really shallow and narrow. I imagined something as impressive as crop circles.

Next was the Palpa lines which had an adorable set of people etched on the side of a sand hill. My camera could not capture the figures so I give you the photo from the exhibit.

Cute Palpa lines figures
Cute Palpa lines figures
Sign at free lookout point
Sign at free lookout point

A long long drive away was the cemetery. During the ride, I fell asleep and woke up to find a desert around us.

The cemetery had tombs of some ancient people. These folks were mummified after they died and laid in little stone tombs. Many of them still had their long dreadlocks which were curled around their bodies.

Mummies at Cemetery of Chauchilla
Mummies at Cemetery of Chauchilla
Cemetery of Chauchilla
Cemetery of Chauchilla

Tomb raiders had stolen most of the beautiful pottery and left some of the bones and clothes above ground. We did see bits of human bones lying around.

Surprisingly, the bodies were left in their crouching positions in their tombs, as if the caretakers do not mind them being exposed in the open air.

Our last stop was the ancient aqua ducts. This was the most impressive since some of the twenty spiral aqua ducts went tens of meters deep into the ground.

Spiral blow holes at Nasca channels
Spiral blow holes at Nasca channels

The total of the tour was 150 soles per person.

To fly to see Nasca lines or not?

After seeing the Nasca lines up close, I am thinking of not spending my time and money on a flight over the lines.

Ida said that the planes do not fly if it is cloudy. This means that people who booked slots in the morning are forced to wait until the sky clears (about 1pm today) and those with later slots will need to wait even later.

Another reason that I do not want to take the plane is that it does a lot of flying manoeuvres so people on both sides and see the lines. After my motion sickness episode, I do not look forward to that.

My plan for tomorrow is to take a morning bus to Ica then if there are cheap buses to Lima, I will head to the capital. If not, I will spend a night in Ica then take the bus on the following day.

Travel safe, folks!

Violently car sick from Cusco to Nasca [YQrtw Day 111 Jul 30]

Oltursa bus

Location: Cusco -> Nasca, Peru

When I started this daily log of my trip, I promised myself not to hide too much from you guys. I want to record the good, the bad and the ugly of a long-term trip.

I am writing this entry in my warm hostel in Nasca. I am glad that the events that I will share is in the past. Some of the more graphic parts of the story will be hidden in white font and those who wish to feel disgusted can highlight those paragraphs to relive the event.

Last morning in Cusco

I checked out of my “hotel” slightly before 10 and went to a restaurant listed on Wikitravel for breakfast. The food was good with local bread, a juice, scrambled eggs and even a latte to go with it.

Morning latte at Victor Victoria
Morning latte at Victor Victoria

Unfortunately, during breakfast, I had reached almost the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Even though I’ve read the book so many times, I still wept over [highlight the next two words for spoiler] Dumbledore’s death.

Afterwards, I did a bit of souvenir shopping at one of the handicraft places. I left with a plastic bag full of things I hope can be used back in the Southeast Asian tropics.

I loitered outside a restaurant Nana* (not her real name) and I went to the day before to steal their Wi-Fi. Nana left a message saying that she’ll be meeting her Swiss friends at noon. Since Nana would not be reading this, I will admit that I had a tiny crush on one of the guys so I happily said that I would go too.

I still had time before the meet up so I headed to a cafe I had marked on Foursquare. The cafe, called Panam Cafe, reminded me of the Capitol in The Hunger Game series. The coffee was alright and I bought a croissant-like bread almost as big as my face to nibble on my 14-hour bus ride to Nasca.

It was time for the meet up and I stood under the shadow of a light pole, waiting. The guys came eventually although Nana was still stuck with her errand.

We headed to San Pedro market. There, I had two and a half glass of juice since I was more thirsty than hungry. Unknown to me then, not eating lunch was a wise choice.

Soon it was time for me to leave. I bade farewell and went back to my hotel for my “muchas cosas” (loads of things).

Ciao Cusco!

The taxi ride to the bus terminal was smooth. I checked in my things and paid for the bus terminal tax.

Oltursa bus
Oltursa bus

I was delighted to find that the bus Wi-Fi worked this time for my phone. On my last Oltursa trip, my phone could not join the Wi-Fi network. I wrote a post on my Facebook Page showing how the interior of the bus looked like.

When the bus set off, I was tired but excited to be heading to a new location. I had a small packet of wafers to tide me over before the dinner on board.

Plus, my school mate from the Arequipa language school, Tasha was going to meet me in Nasca so I’ll have a travel buddy.

A few hours into the journey, I started feeling a little queasy. The bus was rocking quite violently as it turned on the curves of the hill. I few times, I felt my stomach churning but I kept everything down.

When it was dinner time, at about 7pm, I felt even more nauseated by the smell of food. I covered my nose with my blanket and hoped for the best.

When the bus attendant came over with the trolley, she saw that I was unwell and suggested that I do not eat. I was allowed a small cup of Coca Cola which I drank happily. Later, she passed me a plastic bag and a pill for motion sickness.

I rested, with my hand grabbing tightly at the plastic. Then at one of the rocky turns, I knew I could not keep my stomach down any longer.

Being sick on the bus

[Beginning of unpleasant recount of vomiting. Please highlight to reveal the content.]

I have not thrown up in a while so I was quite curious about how it was.

In the beginning, saliva fills up in my mouth, as if my body wants to protect my mouth from the attack of stomach acid. I held the plastic close to my mouth and retched.

Out came a flow of liquid (thank goodness for my juice lunch) and a taste of wafer. With the bag held closely to my mouth, I threw up more liquid.

Even when my stomach was empty, it cramped for many times to make sure that nothing was left inside. It was a most unpleasant feeling as I burped out air.

When the ordeal was over, I rinsed my mouth and tied the bag. I held on to the bag at my side, glad that the man sitting next to me had moved behind so he did not have to see that scene.

I closed my eyes and rested. I woke up when the attendant came over with hot water and tea bags. She even gave me two mate de coca which helps with altitude sickness. I embarrassedly pointed to my plastic bag. Later she passed me two bags.

I sipped some mate and rested. I could feel the bus turning every corner. I imagined that the upper deck was swaying more violently than the lower deck. I also imagined the liquid in my ears churning wildly.

I had to throw up again. This time, there was only the taste of mate. I was horrified since this meant that even drinking liquid can cause more throwing up.

When the bus stopped for new passengers, I brought my two vomit bags to the toilet and dumped them in the trash can that was lined with another plastic bag. I hoped the altitude would not cause them to burst.

When I got back to my seat, I felt a pounding in my head. This usually meant that I did not drink enough water and I was having an effect similar to a hangover.

I took tiny tiny sips of water to pacify my body. Eventually, these five sips of water came back up but that was at three hours before the end of the journey.

When I finished all three plastic bags, I had to go to the back of the bus to wake the attendant and ask for more plastic bags. I threw away the soiled bag as she rummaged through her first aid kit.

She found a plastic bag that held bottles of soft drink. Thank goodness I did not have to use that bag.

[End of disgusting story.]

Arriving in Nasca

I didn’t really sleep but I was woken up by the attendant at past 6am. She told me that the next stop was Nasca. I gathered all my things and waited patiently for the bus to stop.

When I got off the bus, I waited for Tasha’s Arequipa bus to come. The bus did came but she did not. The attendant of that bus was unhelpful when I asked if a Senora Tasha was on board.

In the end, I got on a taxi found by a tout. The tout said the ride was 5 soles (reasonable for tout prices). He told me that my hotel was full. I read about this trick in travel guides and insisted that they bring me to my hostel.

Thankfully the driver did not try to bring me to some strange place. I was left at the front door of the hostel where the caretaker Fernando greeted me a long while after I rang the doorbell.

I picked the dorm room which is empty apart from my bed. I requested for breakfast since my stomach was empty. I was surprised that the breakfast didn’t feel like The Best Meal Ever but was glad for food and a solid ground.

My adventures for the day will continue in the next post!