March 10-12, 2017
What put Nazca on the map are the Nazca lines, which are a lot like drawings you might have made in the sand with a stick, except they’re up to 100s of meters long, and about 2,000 years old. Nazca’s annual rainfall is 4mm, so it doesn’t take much to make something that lasts a long time. Up close the lines look like you could have done something like that with a few friends in an afternoon, or over the course of a few days at the most. It’s a strange mix of impressive and underwhelming.
We first saw the lines from a tower along the main road, where the bus gave us a bit of time to stop. It was actually raining, which is most unusual. The next day we saw them from the air. I’m glad that we knew to take motion sickness medicine beforehand, because in order to show us the lines the airplane spent a lot of the time banking, climbing, and descending. We were mostly struck by how many lines there were, criss-crossing each other and running in whichever direction. The artful figures are actually the old ones, and the majority of lines are simply straight lines or rectangles, with the occasional trapezoid shape.
Our favorite site in Nazca was the underground aqueduct. Since it’s underground you can’t see much of the aqueduct itself, but you can see the holes that were dug 1,700 years ago to allow access to the aqueduct in the dry season, when it needs to be cleaned. The aqueduct itself isn’t very long, but it concentrates water that flows underground from the mountains 250km away into a small canal where it can easily be accessed.
We also saw some Nazca ruins and an old cemetary site. Most of what there was to see of the ruins was restored, and erosion hadn’t left much in the cemetary besides scattered bones. Erosion in this part of the world consists of water (negligible), wind (some), and grave robbers (significant).
We enjoyed our few nights in Nazca, just being in a small fairly quiet town. I continued to struggle with some gastrointestinal issues. I’ve occasionally used Loperamide to keep things under control, and made sure to do so before getting on the night bus to Arequipa. Arequipa is a big city which should have good medical care. We’re staying there until I get this issue worked out (haha!) because I’m getting sick and tired of it.