Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lines and lines and lines and lines

Its been a busy few days, then. Having left the jungle last Wednesday and updating you, I have now got as far as Nazca on my way back to Cusco. That'd be 2159km or there abouts in less than a week, with about 600km left to go. Its been through jungle, up mountains (well I'd call 4500m a mountain even if you wouldn't), across alti-planos, back down mountains, along coasts and through deserts.

The fantastic road I took to get to Santa Maria was marginally less fantastic in the low cloud and drizzle, but when I got some moments of clarity I tried to take a couple of photos. Nothing like the real thing, obviously, and my plans to video part of it were thwarted (now there's a word that doesn't get enough use these days) by the rain. I made it to Copacobana and did get some video of the ride into there, and then instead of heading back to Cusco, I went south-ish to Arequipa, finding my way with ease into town thanks to being led by some bloke coming out of a quadbike store next to where I had pulled over to check the town map. I had a rest day, jumping a tourist bus (will Rich ever forgive me?) at 2am (I actually got up for 1am as I'd forgotten to change my watch when I crossed the Bolivia-Chile border. Doh.) out to Colca Canyon. This, as the name suggests, is a canyon, about 3400m deep, making it deeper than the Grand Canyon, though not as wide. It has a view point at its deepest point called Cruce Del Condors (Cross of the Condors) where on a good day you can see double figures of condors at eye level as they are under the impression they are 2000m up a canyon cliff face. Which, I suppose, they are. They just aren't expecting to see people up that high. Although by now I suppose they might be. Anyway, needless to say I didn't get a good day, but did see several nonetheless, albeit further away than I'd have hoped. Impressive and spectacular it was though, so no complaints here.

From there it was up the coast to Nazca. I had been warned that the coast road was a bit on the dull side, but the person doing the warning had obviously done it in a bus, because it was far from dull. Very winding, very dramatic scenery, with coastlines, craggy bits and big wide open spaces, all leading into the typically scruffy desert town of Nazca. Towns this far out in the desert can't help but be scruffy, with winds blowing across open plains, not enough water to go round (but strangely always enough to keep a beautifully lush and well maintained Plaza), and populated by people tough enough to survive here, even given the presumably large amounts of tourist money coming in. The Plaza de Armas was a nice surprise - not because it was especially fantastic in itself, it just had about a dozen nightjars flying around as dusk fell, chasing the flies that were drawn to the lights. Very pleasant surprise, that, although probably only Mother will really appreciate it!

Anyway, I got hijacked (in a good way) as I came into town. I pulled over to try and decipher the inadequate Lonely Planet town map (or maybe the map was fine and it was the inadequate town signage), and a woman trotted over, offered me a room and board in a hotel on the plaza with parking for the bike for only S/.15 a night. Bargain, and her driver led me through the streets to find the place. All very convenient. She also conveniently ran a tour company and could offer me a flight over the lines in the morning, but all the reservations for tomorrow stopped in 10 minutes at 5 o'clock, so better hurry and choose. Good job my brain wasn't at all befuddled by 9 hours of driving through hot deserts and windy coastlines all day. I coughed up probably more than I needed to, but just as probably not by much, and then, due to lack of communication or bad planning on their part, ended up going on the wrong plane. Saw the same stuff though, I expect, and apart from the briefness of the flight, it was all very impressive. The line shapes are huge, and there are far more of them than the tour companies let on, they're just not all of animals and stuff. Many are just shapes and patterns, but the famous ones are easy enough to pick out, although photos are a bit trickier. Hopefully got some of them on film. I mean chip...And that's the last few days. I reckon its a 2 day ride back to Cusco as I don't want to rush the gravelly bits, where I hope to catch up with David and Judith on Sunday, and Rich on Monday. Or something. Plans are flexible, as always.

So, until I get the chance to add some more photos while I'm in Cusco, fare thee well, and mind those dark lanes on the full moon. Stay off the moors!!

1 comment:

ed said...

Missed you at the HK 7's this year bruv. You would have enjoyed watching my two visiting welshmen 'taking it down'. But like you, they were broken by the end...
Delighted you've been spending just as much cash on tourist events - planes, birds and buses.
Looking forward to the photos!
ed x