Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Nazca Lines & Dunes of Huacachina

Clean, finally. We were on our way to witness the odd but unique Nazca Lines. The Lines were
made by an ancient culture. No one really knows why and how they were created. Some even
believe it was aliens! The size of each formation is so big, you can only see the whole picture from
a flying aircraft.

Arriving to Nazca, early in the morning. That fact, doesn`t bother at least 5 annoying ``company`` agents to hover over our backs as we lean to pick up our luggage. They didn`t wait one second, and offered us bottom line prices for the desired flight. As always, I tried to dispatch from them by saying the common ``No, Gracies`` - but nothing helped. It was the first time I ever yelled at a local in South America (hopefully the last). Someone should really remind them that it`s South America – and you`re supposed to wake up at 09:00, and not 04:00. Definitely not for harassing tourists!

After getting rid of most of them (some just wouldn`t give up and waited 10 meters away from
the crazy yelling Israeli), I slowly opened the wonderful ``Lonely Planet`` (AKA the Bible), and got to learn that in Nazca – an annoying crowd awaits the arriving (you don`t say!?). Oh, and don`t take any tour from the street agents. Apart from that – nothing useful – as always.

We took our shit and made our way to wait for a proper hour, when the companies (and bakeries!) are open. Mom, Inbal, Kobi & Igal were waiting (dying to pee!) in the main plaza, while Dad & I were searching for a good deal for the flight.

At last, after passing and bargaining our price through all the agencies in town (5). We made our
choice, and went to the just opened cafe next to the plaza, to wait for the time of the flight.

A van took us to the airport. Entering, we got to learn that all the agencies in town, are actually
one, and there is an annoying monopole over the whole business. We waited, watching the NG movie on the screens, and boarded the planes (two of them, 4 per. & 2 per.). The flight is short, and it is highly recommended to stay sharp for the whole 35 minutes given (the time includes take-off and landing).

The ride on a very small plane has its fun all by itself, adding the Beautiful Nazca-Lines underneath is even more exciting! I, personally, felt like a photographer of an army unit back in the times of WW1, taking secret photos in a too small plane. Passing over a Peruvian village brought me back to my army days and the hundred of photos of Palestinian villages I was responsible for. A Bolivian/Peruvian Village usually resembles a refuge camp

The weather was perfect, and the Lines showed themselves with all pride. Each passenger gets
a map showing the order of appearance of the formations. It`s like filling a Bingo-card. ``V on the Astronaut``, ``V on the Monkey!``. The pilot makes sure everyone (on both sides) of the plane saw the Lines as should, and goes on to the next. Over every drawing he ends up making the figure 8, and by the end of 14 figures, even the most experienced traveler gets sick. Good thing it`s just 35 minutes…

The Dunes of Huacachina

The same day, leaving Nazca in the afternoon, we all arrived safely to Ica. No one stays in Ica. We took a 5 minute taxi, and got to perfect-oasis, Huacachina.

Imagine a pool-shaped lake. Now surround that lake with a small town, no more than two blocks of houses in each direction, closing it from all sides. From the edge of the town line, dunes grow wild, 100 meters high, and climbing. Add some palm-trees to that and walla! Huacachina.

It was already dark, and so, we found ourselves a nice hostel, the taxi drivers were extremely
helpful. Knowing that`s what we came for, we made reservations for tomorrow`s dune tour.

The tour is operated by a ``Buggy`` vehicle. The driver first took us up and down the slopes as
fast as he possibly could, and then suddenly, he stops. We all are told to step out. He reveals
the sand-boards, waxes them with what looked like a cheap Sabbath-candle. Gives a short
explanation to each one (in turn), and Weeeeee……

In my original plan for our family trip, I thought this part would be mainly for my younger brothers Kobi & Igal. I was proven wrong. Everyone had fun! We made a little contest between ourselves, who got furthest each time. Inbal won by a mile.

The love for sandy areas always surprised me, because every child learns, after his first castle on
the beach, that he is bound to stay with certain amounts of sand on him for the next following
weeks. And still, you find people playing in the sand all the time! I admit, I too am drawn to it, but I just can`t explain why.

Tips for The Nazca Lines & Dunes of Huacachina:
- All the companies in Nazca are actually the same one. Just find the cheapest and you´ll be alright. 60$US is about the right price.
- Stay in Huacachina - not in Ica.
- Going through the hostel we stayed in to the dune tour turned out to be a good deal. Check out if you can close both the night and the tour in the same bargain.

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