Peru Trip #5 – Underwhelmed by the Nazca Lines

One of the shapes of the Nazca linesWell here’s a turn-up for the books. For the first time in my life, I have
suffered from air-sickness. I got up at 5.30am, grabbed some breakfast, got picked up at 6.15am and taken to the bus station for a 4hr 30m bus journey – again in one of the comfy airline style coaches – arriving in Ica at 11.30am, to find my Nazca trip delayed til 3pm. I could have got a later bus. Not particularly pleased, but acquiescent, I wandered about the gardens of the Las Dunas hotel, a sort of oasis in the desert here, where a big conference was taking place, and then ate a very light salad lunch in the restaurant. Finally taken to the airfield, I and four other passengers and the two pilots took off in the little Cessna at 3pm, for a 30min journey across the desert to the plain where the lines are carved into the ground, 30mins flying over them, and then the 30min return journey. The updrafts from the mountainous surroundings made conditions quite choppy on the journey out there, but nothing worse than my similar Cessna journey from Milford Sound to Queenstown in 2007. But once we got to the lines, the pilot very enthusiastically ensured both sides of the plane got a very good view of each and every one of the twelve big patterns amongst the lines, by turning steeply and sharply in both directions. By the fourth shape I was feeling very hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable, and spent the next 10mins vomiting my lunch into the plastic bag provided. Only by the last little group of shapes had I recovered sufficiently to doggedly point my camera at the ground. I closed my eyes and left my body for the trip home, feeling, as I told anyone who asked, “awful.”

So now I know: I can – and will – get air-sick, in a little Cessna doing wild manouvres. And now I am stuck in a small villa hotel in the middle of nowhere for the evening, where after a long nap recovering I am at last going to have a small dinner, and then a long sleep and lie-in, to get the bus back to Lima tomorrow lunchtime. All in all, I have to say, considering the huge discomfort incurred on the overflight itself, and the 9hrs of bus travel to get here and back, I am distinctly underwhelmed by my trip to the Nazca lines. What photos I did manage to take are not as good as the ones you see in books. One wouldn’t expect
them to be. So why be here to take them for oneself? For the experience? You can keep it.

Update 3/10/10 : “Britons killed in Peru aircrash”
So – for anyone in any doubt that this pilot was displaying typical macho bravado and not only making people feel sick but playing fast and loose with common-sense safety – here is the tragic truth. I count myself very lucky, indeed, and hope that Health & Safety crawl all over that little operation. I feel very sorry indeed for the families of those bereaved – I think it was an accident waiting to happen.

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