Lines in the Sand

Monday, July 29

The bus to Nazca was scheduled to arrive at 6am, which would give us time to get to our 8am Nazca lines flight reservation.  But once we were on the bus, the guide was concerned that there would be another blockade around 1:30am.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.  It arrived just after 6am as planned, and we walked to our nearby hostel, who we’d warned that we’d just be using for a few hours during the day.  For some reason, we were the only two people on the bus that actually got off at Nazca, everyone else continued to Huacachina (with a stop at a tower where they could view three of the Nazca figures).  We took with us all the junk food that had been given to us by the bus company, that they had stockpiled in case there was a labor action and an arbitrary delay.

Aeronasca picked us up at the hostel, and took us to the little Nazca general-aviation airport.  There must have been a dozen little companies doing Nazca lines flights.  We weighed in, paid the airport tax, went through security, and got into a Cessna 207 with four other passengers.  They gave us little maps, and explained that they would go over each figure in a right curve so people on the right could see it, then they would go back over it in a left curve.  It was quite a delightful flight, and interesting to see not only the figures, but all of the other triangles and spirals that were out there.  Definitely my favorite Peru Hop tour so far!

We went back downtown, and met at Mom’s Cafe to catch a shuttle Peru Hop had set up at 1 PM to take us to Huacachina.  The bus driver had a favorite bpm.  He played the actual “Beat It”. I think I had only ever heard Weird Al’s version, as with so many movies of the 1960’s that I knew only from MAD parodies illustrated by Mort Drucker.  Disco is an OK art form, if you don’t hear it more often than once every fifteen years.

Somebody was fencing off the desert-paved desert.  It’s hard to imagine what out there needs containment.  Nothing for cows to eat.

It was nice to be in the tropics again. Three hundred meters, 15°S, and in the 20’s. 

It took about two hours to get to Ica, and then maybe a half-hour to go the final kilometer to Huacachina, a crazy little oasis outside of town.  There are big sand dunes with a lake in the middle, and somebody decided to build a bunch of hotels and restaurants around it.  It was the day of parades after Peru’s Independence Day, and the area was teeming with locals in addition to the usual flow of tourists.  People go walk on the dunes, and slide or “sandboard” or take buggy rides on them.  They paddle board on the lake.  What Lonely Planet was to Gen X, Peru Hop is to Gen Z, and this is their demographic and their chosen South America Experience.

I wasn’t optimistic about finding any good food, but as I walked around scouting restaurants I noticed a dish I hadn’t heard of, “calacabra con sopa seca”.  We ended up going to Huacafuckingchina, the restaurant of the Sand & Lake hotel, and ordered that and anticuchos de corazon, the beef heart skewers we’ve often had at Peruvian restaurants elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 30

Our bus to Paracas wasn’t until 7pm, but we were kicked out of our room at noon, and there were no “day rooms” available.  So we sat by the pool, blogging and writing postcards, our clothes drying in the sun.  A bright orange little bird was flying around, which turned out to be a vermilion flycatcher.

The bus ride was fairly short, and we were picked up by our Airbnb host who took us to his businesslike condo configured as a full-time four-room Airbnb space.  We went off to a lovely generic fried fish restaurant along the beach.