The last you heard of me, I was rushing off a posting in the busy little internet of the Lima bus station just before mine departed for Paracas, Peru. That was about four days ago and I`ve been flashing from pillar to post with no chance to blog due to a serious lack of internet availabilities. Now, I`m pretty sleepy, but I`ll do the best I can to check in with you guys.
For a long time, I have been traveling along the Peruvian coastline, or beside the spinal column of the Andes Mountains. It`s warm down there, but not tropical. It`s desert beach which keeps getting warmer and drier the farther south you go. Paracas is a small beach community with the distinction of having two interesting Reserves. One is the Ballestras Isles, which are probably like a condensed Galapagos. I took a motorboat tour there in the morning and we motored around the edges of the large rocks which are simply the eroded tops of submerged mountains. These are filled with Boobys, and Cormorants, Turkey Vultures, Pelicans, South American Gulls and lots more. Barking groups of South American Sea Lions share rock space with various sorts of penguins. It`s just alive with marine wildlife and sea birds.
In the afternoon, I toured the Paracas National Reserve, which is a large desert beach area with its own interesting ecosystem. Later, I headed four hours down the coast for Nazca to see the mysterious desert art which can only be perceived from the air. The town itself is not distinguished at all and I thought of it as the Agra of Peru, since the touts were a wee bit aggressive in selling tours and flights over the Lines. By this time, shingles has claimed my face again and it`s red, swollen and itchy, so I treated myself to a luxury hotel with a beautiful swimming pool to get some rest and recreation. It was a good value at $85.
The next day, I took a forty-minute Cessna small plane ride over the Nazca Lines for $90 and was able to photograph each one. The other couple in our plane was from Tampa, Florida, of all things….just half an hour away from my home. How strange!
Sorry to say, I didn`t conclusively crack the mystery of what the Nazca Lines are, but here`s what I think: They serve as a great big Ingredients Label for our planet for any passing curiosity seekers from Mars or Venus. As if to say: “On this planet live species represented by these pictures – whales, monkeys, dogs, humans, birds, plants, etc. and here are their math tools (triangles, right angles, straight lines, etc.)” Now, wouldn`t it have been lovely if a few ancient Martians or Venusians had thought to scratch a message on their planets for our probes to record and send back to us?
At least, that`s an idea that Maria Reiche didn`t come up with. She was a German scientist who devoted her life to figuring these things out. Her conclusion was astronomical. That they coincided with constellations in the sky. At best, all the theories have proven to be only thirty percent accurate. Who will give me thirty percent for mine?
Anyway, I left Nazca last night at 8 p.m. on another luxury bus cama and had a very comfortable trip across the twisting road into the Andes. Thereby climbing laboriously again to the top of the Cordillera Spinal Column I`m theoretically examining for my fanciful travel study. I even thought of the raging river beside the highway as being the nerve carrying life and health deep into the rest of the body.
The bus shifted so much on the switchbacks that I now feel like a sailor does after getting off the sea. I`m still feeling the motion. We arrived in Cuzco at 12:15 p.m. and I chose a hostel out of the Lonely Planet. Not always a good thing to do, as this one is musty smelling and chilly. I`ll check out tomorrow. It`s been raining a lot here, but the sun did shine this afternoon. Now I have to figure out my next step. Machu Picchu – yes. Inca Trail – no! I wanted to do it just to see if I could, but not in the rain and the cold. It`ll be the choo-choo to that mountaintop for me.