Maybe it was because the night we arrived, I had a terrible dream involving an ex-boyfriend following me to the Nazca Lines. Maybe it was because I didn´t feel safe in the hostel. Or maybe it was because the place was sad and depressing. Eh, the Tiger Milk (ceviche) was good. Someone told us it was tourist week (yippee!) and made promises of dancing horses in the streets. I saw NO dancing horses . . . but there were lots of old men working on souping up old 1970´s muscle cars . . . maybe that´s what they meant by dancing horses . . . anyway . . .
In my opinion, Nazca blows and should be skipped entirely.
If you decide to ride a bus from Lima to Cusco, the bus will blast through the desert town of Nazca. Everybody is hot for Nazca because of the famous Nazca Lines. I´ve heard that if you take the airplane ride – for minimum US $50.00 – that the Nazca Lines are awesome. But I didn´t want to spend the dough . . . my fault, I realize . . .
The entire Nazca area is a tourist trap that is 100% set-up to promote the Nazca Lines, which are impressive, but in my opinion, a bad idea for building a successful economy around. And everything in town is carved with reproductions of the Lines . . . the monkey and the spider especially. Everything from the sidewalks in the town square to the endless trinkets like rocks, wallets, postcards, clothing . . . anything, you name it . . . will have that damn stylized monkey line drawing painted or stitched or etched into it.
And that´s it. There is nothing else going on in that town.
We arrived at 5AM just as dawn was breaking over the city. The bus dropped us off in a cloud of dust and sped very quickly away. Some guy approached us with a big smile and spoke great English. He offered us a reasonable hostel room and drove us there, too, whereupon we immediately crashed out. (Night bus rides are intense because you don´t get much rest. The tour guides know this and that´s when they strike – in the early morn about two seconds after you´ve stepped off the bus – when you are tired and at your weakest. More on this later.)
When we woke up, I realized that the glass piece above our hostel door was missing. It would have been easy for anyone to get into our room. It´s not uncommon for theft to happen in hostels. When I asked for another room, the management acted like I was asking for the moon and the stars. Then we refused to go on a tour and the clerk got very visibly upset with us. Not a good combo.
I carried my valubles with me all day long.
I had a naive idea that we could maybe hike out to the desert and walk the length of one of the formations . . . like maybe the spider. I thought that would be pretty cool. But we found out, luckily before we executed my plan, that a hike out to the lines will automatically land you in a Peruvian jail for a few years. I was dissappointed, but I understand the need for conservation. So, we decided to go to the ´viewing platform´ where supposedly, you can climb up 60´ above the desert floor and see a couple of the line formations. It was a JOKE.
The viewing platform is in the middle of a no-man´s land that resembles a moonscape. It´s desolate and fairly ugly, the PanAmerican Highway is three feet away with busses and oil tankers blasting past every few seconds. You climb to the top of this viewing platform . . . and . . . and . . . you see a stylized hand glyph and a tree glyph (I think). Both of these glyphs are so much less than impressive, not to mention about five feet square in size.
So, expect good ceviche (served with lot´s of attitude), old men fixing up rusting muscle cars (that was cool – they were putting Nissan engines into old Chevy´s), but don´t expect to see many awesome glyphs, unless you take a flight.
And of course, don´t go to Nazca expecting to see dancing horses.