25.06.2009 - 29.06.2009 18 °C
Onwards south to Lima, Peru's capital city.
Things you see around Lima
The offices of the national coca company
People juggling at traffic lights for tips
A distinctly Peruvian approach to watering plants
Traffic marshalling sponsored by Inka Kola (the drink is yellow and tastes nothing like coca cola... more like liquidised parma violets)
A news stall: 'gentlemens magazines' on the left, printouts of various legislation on the right, and the supreme court in the background
The semi-mythical Bembodog, available exclusively at Bembo's, Peru's answer to McDonald's. But for various reasons Laura and I never managed to obtain one, despite our numerous attempts
The archbishop's house, where Laura played knock-and-run (or doorbell ditching, as she calls it)
A statue of the virgin mary crowned with a llama (this is what happens when your language has the same word for 'llama' and 'flame')
And the happy trio leaving Lima
Flight over the Nazca lines
Further south from Peru, and more than half way down the country towards Chile, lies the town of Nazca and its neighbouring desert. Most of Peru between the Pacific coast and the Andes is desert, with a consistent climate across the days and years (i.e. very hot and dry). Surprisingly, rivers flowing down from the Andes and through the desert sustain some of Peru's largest cities. Nazca is one such dusty town, famous for the nearby geoglyphs etched into the desert surface: giant geometric shapes and depictions of animals, drawn by removing the red desert pebbles to expose the white rock underneath. The lines are perhaps 2000 years old, and of mysterious origin. They can only be appreciated from the air.
So the thing to do is hop into a 6-seater plane and fly over the desert
Our English-speaking pilot was proud of his plane's 'Air conditioning'. Yes he actually taxied around with the window open.
Laura ready for takeoff:
Here we are climbing up over the town:
Once we were over the lines, the pilot began pointing out the lines with the aircraft's wingtips. It's hard to convey the feeling of wheeling around nearly perpendicular to the ground, but here's what the view ahead looked like:
There are around 70 figures of animals, and hundreds of geometric shapes. Here's some pictures of the lines themselves. You might have to look closely. I've just figured out how to make the pictures really big. Shame it took me 6 months to figure this out...
The bird and tree
The further towards Bolivia I went, the worse the buses. I leave you with a typical scene waiting for our onwards bus to Arequipa.