Flight over the Desert

June 5

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I can't remember the last time that I've slept for 11 hours. Well, it did feel good, let me tell you. My health improved, even if not by much then definitely enough to be able to go on the tour of Ica and of course the overflight of the Nasca lines. With some delay we were picked up by our driver and guide. Interestingly, the driver spoke vastly better English than Marlene, our guide. We were told that the airport will call them once the other two passengers for the overflight are present, and that until then we would visit Ica. Off we drove, and through the windows got to see the stadium, private school (not on strike), public university as well as the hospital. About there the phone rang and we were summoned to the airport. With some amusement we turned right back, only to eventually find out that the other two guests would not be coming until tomorrow. Oh well - we would get our own private little plane and tour. We paid the $5 airport departure tax and looked briefly at the poor condor that lives in a cage at the airport's mini-zoo while we waited for the plane to get ready. Essan commented that the condor looked like a big turkey, and indeed a certain resemblance could not be denied. Most notably, though, the condor looked very sad to be locked in. I definitely didn't approve.

With pilot and machine ready, we embarked on the 90 minute flight. I got the co-pilot's seat, while Essan made herself comfy on the rear bench. After about 30 minutes we arrived in the Nasca vicinity and were pointed by the pilot to look down at the first lines. At first, it was hard to make them out, especially since we didn't know what to look for. But eventually we saw the whale. The pilot made a few turns around the area, which marked the point where Essan started doing worse than me. We continued from one landmark to the next, usually making one loop around it, and Essan was getting quieter and quieter on the back seat. Eventually, she was just sitting there waiting for it to be over. She did fine in Hawaii in the helicopter; heck, she can do all rides at Great America, wants even to sit in the front because anything else isn't "fun enough" - but here she got an upset stomach.

Click on the first image to start a slide show for this day (57 pictures)
Images shown below are a small selection.
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The lines were fascinating, and so was the flight back over the desert, this time "with" the light. The landing was very smooth, and Essan was happy to see a bathroom. With this big event over, we could now go off for real to more timid places such as the museum or a winery. The museum was full of pots and art from the period of the first people in this area, about 4000 years before now, up until the Incas, about 1500 A.D. Just about five minutes into our visit at the museum a large group of Japanese guests arrived like a storm, looked at an exhibit or two, and before we finished with one exhibit they were gone again. Probably they still have to fly over the lines, go to Machu Picchu, and to Lima by the end of the day.

Our next quick stop was at the main square. Here we learned that pretty much everything was leveled by the past earthquakes, and what still stood was flooded in 1998. This was a bit a puzzling stop, as if Marlene wanted to show us the lack of interesting buildings. So we drove off to the local winery, which is reportedly very famous, for the Pisco, named after the nearby town. We got to visit one of the three wineries which make this wine. It was a winery true to history, where everything is done manually, or in this case, with feet. It looked quite different from what we are used to from Napa, or me from my home kanton of Wallis.

Back at the hotel it was time for lunch. Essan was feeling better again after the flight, and my stomach was giving me mixed messages between being upset and hungry; so I fed it some light chicken. This was warmly received, and Essan stated that my usual goofiness was coming back. That's good, I guess. After lunch we took a very long nap, and then it was already time to download images, sort them, and for dinner.

Unlike in the other places I've visited, in Peru, the soap operas are on during prime time. Picking between the four choices at our disposal, we saw remarkable overacting, very manly manliness and of course the mandatory expensive cars and large breasts. Fulfilled, we now could go to sleep.

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