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Saturday 8th May
By Claire
Monday, 10th May 2004 18:24

When we went down to breakfast it was a beautiful sunny morning in the desert and the hotel had a swimming pool. Naturally, I went for a swim and, naturally, it being just about winter here, the water was freezing, but there were other people in the pool so I had to be brave. We took travel sickness tablets with breakfast as I'd read about the flight over the lines, and left our bags at the hotel.

The airport was tiny and they sat us down to a BBC documentary about the Nazca lines while we waited. The Nazca lines are a bunch of drawings in the desert made sometime between 1500BC and 600AD, the most recent ones probably created by the Nazca people. Along with geometrical patterns and straight lines, thought to be the South American equivalent of ley lines, they drew giant animals such as killer whales and monkeys, which are visible only from the air. There are plenty of theories about the meaning of and the reason for the lines, which include landing zones and flight paths for aliens (they found deformed human skulls in the area which helped this one), and symbols to help the tribal shaman find their way back to Earth after their drung-induced trances. There's also the possibility that the Nazca used hot air balloons, and one of the pictures shows an astronaught.

The flight itself, in a single engine plane, was mercifully short. The lines were spectacular and something I've wanted to see since reading about them 20 years ago in a book my grandmother had, and unfortunately the pilot was as enthusiastic as me. Ah, you want to see them from the left window? I'll just turn the plane on its side and spin around for a bit? The left window? No problem.

We were a bit shakey when we left the plane, but still intact, for which I am grateful to the sea sick tablets for breakfast. We had a couple of hours to wander round Nazca, a small desert town with little to offer, and I found a stall selling satsumas, which made me very happy and I bought a kilo of them. We checked our e-mailand bought some chocolate and then wandered to the bus station with all our bags, which had miraculously turned into five, not four. Will have to send some things home from Chile, where it's less expensive. At the bus station we were told that we would be picked up from the other side of our hotel so we lugged everything back there. It was very hot, so we stood in the shade, and the bus arrived almost immediately. It then drove to the bus station and picked up a bunch of people there...

The journey back to Lima was exactly the same as the one to Nazca. The films were City of Angels which I quite enjoyed, Spiceworld (which defies description) and Masterminds, in which Captain Jean Luc Picard takes school children hostage, Josh Lyman pays the ransom and Connor form Angel saves the day. We had sandwiches and Ica Cola too.

At 8pm we arrived in Lima and the taxi driver took us to the hotel. Which was in total darkness. The whole area was having a power cut, something the hotel staf were very embarrassed about, and kept trying to reassure us that it was very unusual. They showed us to our roomby candle- and torchlight (our room had separate 'matrimonial' beds) and then we went out for supper. The power had returned when we got back.

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