Direct From the Imperial Capital of the Inkas

Well, I survived a bus trip to the desert kingdom of the ancient Nazca people.

A feat I cannot take credit for as I was brought low with “High Altitude Sickness” which some of you may unfortunately, know about.  But, kind readers, as I was informed by my seat-mate on the bus, “Don’t worry, thousands of people have taken this journey.” I must say, that was no comfort to me! The size and weight of the enormous bus, its various bald tires, its near continuous high speed through NEVER ENDING high mountain hairpin turns, well, you can believe I was happy to arrive at my hotel and firm ground - 14 1/2 hrs. after leaving Cuzco. 
Being only a few hundred meters above sea level was relaxing and the warmth of each day was enjoyable.  Taking a small 6 seater aircraft flight over the Nazca Lines was a fabulous experience and despite seeing pictures of the lines many times, I was just not prepared for their stunning beauty and powerful simplicity.
The Nazca people lived between 200BC and 400AD very successfully in the searing desert climate.  Enginners par excellence constructed aqueducts that brought mountain stream water

down enormous distances and some of these constructions are still in operation today, providing precious water to the desert people today.  I was able to see a couple of these true works of art, the stone walls still intact, the system of stone spirals set deep in the ground for ariation of the underground water source.  It was truly impressive.
Another experience that made a deep impression on me was the trip deep into the desert and walking among the 1,000 year old tombs of the ancient Nazca people.  These tombs had already been opened and ravaged by looters so there were many skulls, bones and backs strewn everywhere.  I have never seen the color white as I saw it in the desert - bones bleached pure white, yet often there were skulls lying on the desert floor with full heads of hair still attached, waving in the constant desert wind.  An experience I won’t soon forget.
The desert mountains had a singular beauty - tho vastly different from the mountains that surround the Cuzco valley where I live. 
Needless to say, I didn’t take the return bus trip across the top of the world.  A six hour night bus ride North got me into Lima, the capital city, in time for a late morning flight to Cuzco.  A Dios gracias for airplanes!

Posted by Carmen on 05/16 at 01:37 PM in International

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