Tuesday, 7 January 2014

272 Lima & the Nazca Lines

Friday 3rd January 2014
Miles Today  272  Total 32,728

An even longer ride today. There were no sensible places to settle for the night so we had a 270 mile ride in the boring and hot desert to Lima. Fortunately, the temperature had dropped a bit and settled at around 26C. Oddly enough we are obviously getting acclimatised because we felt cold and closed up all the vents on our jackets.
There was lots of this....

....and this....

.......and quite a bit of this.

Did I mention there was a lot of this ?......snooze....

Finally something different. An ancient tomb probably Mochican.

If something comes along that is not quite so boring it has to be photographed.
I took this picture for two reasons, one, how much can you load on the back of a lorry?, and two, I was waiting for my husband, who was about a "gnats", from being arrested by the Peruvian Police.  Apparently, doh, overtaking on double yellow lines isn't on.  The fact that they didn't know where we had done it, wasn't prohibitive of us getting a ticket for 650 Soles's.   Anyway, I can only put it down to my husbands sweet disposition and family album picture showing, that we were let off with a warning, and a small contribution to the "widow's and orphan's" fund, Peru style.  ( Something for the boys. There were three of them in the vehicle.  I can just imagine me saying, "I won't give you a ticket for not wearing your seat belt, if you  buy me a beer".  It would go down a treat in Britain. Not.)

Rays Version......
We were stopped by the police. I was aware that gringos can be extorted from and was prepared for it. Once we got through the pleasantries I was told that I had crossed a double yellow line at the approach to the traffic lights about 500m back. Now I knew I hadn't done that. It was where I first saw him in my mirrors anyway. I had been doing it earlier than that but then again so was everyone else on the road. It is the only way to get passed all the lorries.
So the officer looked over my documents again and again and then announced he was going to write a ticket. He started to write it and once he had put my passport number at the top, kept writing over it. Despite the fact that he had my license held beside it he just kept re writing over the passport number. I was then happy that this was likely to be an extortion attempt and asked how much the ticket was. He said 650 Soles, about £140. I then thought the best thing I can do is pull my trump card and embarrass them into caving in. I announced that Karen and I were retired police and showed them the photo of us in full uniform.
It did the trick they caved in, gave may documents back to me and said I could go. As I was about to walk away they said something that understood to be "how about a tip for the boys". Now those that know me know I have had very favorable dealings with the Peruvian police and know they earn peanuts. 1n 1998 we paid for a bunch of them to have a free holiday in the UK as a thank you for their help in the Amazon the year before. In fact if it was due to my interactions with them that Karen and I got together. So I gave them 100 soles, about £22.

Typical edge of town settlements.
Karen said something very interesting today. She said it looks like the Peruvian people were given a lot of money to build houses and develop their towns and when they were half completed, the money was taken away. It was like this all over the place and gave the country a very sad appearance.
I was last here in 1997 and I do not remember it being so desperate. I seriously enjoyed my last visit. This time we are both struggling with it.

Entering one of the smaller towns.

We stopped at a roadside cafe for a snack and saw in the TV there that Machu Picchu had been hit by 15 days of heavy rain and many peoples homes had been washed away. The landslides had stopped the railway to it, the only real way of accessing the place and lots of tourists were stranded there. Oops. We were due to go there in 2 days time.

Clearly I am going to have to speak to Karen about her pillion photographic skills..Doh!
(Karen)  Not enough beer and boredom lead to games with the camera.  He won't sack me though!
The lighthouse and the still on Christmas decorations.
For once in a while we had a quiet night. We were clearly in the posh residential area of Lima and there were signs prohibiting the use of the horn. Finally. One of the things that is tainting our experience in South America is the constant and unnecessary noise. After a while it just gets to you. It is mainly the cab drivers who constantly (and I mean constantly) whilst driving down the road to attract attention from pedestrians. Sadly for some reason I awoke a 2am and stayed awake from then on.

We do not like cities so it was off toward Nazca the next day. Another long one.....and I was knackered before I set off.
Saturday 4th January 2014
Miles Today 185 Total  32,913

We headed off for a stop over about 2/3rds of the way and ended up at a place called Ica. It was so boring that we did not take any photos. It seemed pointless to take pictures of flat sand and bush. We found a hotel, went for a bite to eat and hit the sack.

(Karen) It was a dull day on the road today, and even "I spy" was over with four goes. We are beginning to sound really fed up with the trip and we don't mean to be.  I personally think it is a combination of things.  We are both very tired, I don't think we realized how much we had taken on when we set off.  Although brilliant fun, we have worn ourselves out. We are also suffering with a big dose of home sickness especially at this time of year, and we are at the point of, we really only have a month left to do before we go back to freezing cold, wet, damp, grey Britain, okay lets keep going.  How long will we be home before we are missing this?   Peru has been very hard for us both.  I wanted to really like it, because I knew it had been special to Ray, but it has not been anything like we expected.  We missed out on Machu Picchu due to weather and time running out for the Dakar rally, which is a passion for us, but from what I can see personally, if you are not on the tourist spots, the rest of Peru seems to be fairing badly.

Sunday 5th January 2014
Miles Today 92  Total 33,005
An early start as we woke early and we had soon covered the 80 miles to the 'Nazca Lines'. Most people have heard of these but not many people know how they were made and by who. In fact, to be exact, no one knows !!
Their construction is a complete mystery to modern man.

Essentially they are huge drawings and very straight, very long lines in the desert where rocks covering the sand landscape have been moved exposing the sand. This sounds simple till you realise that some of the lines are over 6 miles long and viewable from space.

The landscape on route to Nazca

Looking down into an oasis in the desert

We have arrived

The watch tower which we climbed to look down on a couple of the "lines".

some of the Nazca lines
We stopped on the road, and managed to see a couple of them up close and personal, from a viewing tower.  We have decided to stay in Nazca town in the Nazca Hotel for a couple of days and plan our next moves.  Happy pills are a must, (literally, not real ones Mum, just in case you were worried), fridge magnets and stickers for the bike are also essential.

We wandered into town once we'd got our hotel booked and  had a look around, before retiring early.      
What, no cats?  Just the usual run of the mill pets!
Papa Noel and a Polar Bear, haven't heard that one.

Monday 6th January 2014
Miles Today 0  Total 33,005
Poor Ray finally got a good nights sleep, and we just took today very quietly and slowly.  Our biggest issues were the washing, and that includes cleaning his computer, it appears we may have picked up a virus, and having a stroll in the sunshine and deciding where to have lunch. 
We found this lovely little family run restaurant and and the owner was really sweet.  He was interested in us, as "gringo's" but was also very proud of his Peruvian heritage.  It turned out to be the nicest food we have had in Peru too, always a bonus, up till now, it has been rubbish. 

Manuel and Ray
New take on take away food (Aeropuerto is Spanish for Airport !)

He showed us where one of the museums were and we walked to it and had a pleasant couple of hours there.  Some of the artifacts are amazing, and some quite grotesque, like these skulls.

A model of the area in our hotel.

A couple of skulls from the museum

Strangely, all but one of the skulls was female,
 In the grounds of the museum there was another model of the Nazca lines, showing the location of the different drawings, and the road going through them.

A burial chamber

Artifacts on display

This is one of the very first dolls houses.

 Our walk back enabled Ray to take a couple of pictures of the buildings that look half finished, and the architecture. 
We are back on track and are heading towards the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca as of tomorrow. It will take us a couple of days, so we are just going to knuckle down and get on with it.

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