24.03.2012 - 24.03.2012
Enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool at Villa Jazmin last night and the same tonight at Hotel Alegria in Nazca after a very hot, dry and dusty day mostly in Nazca country.
Today started with a visit to the Ica Regional Museum, home to a fascinating collection of artifacts (pottery, fabric, mummies etc) from the Paracas, Nazca, Chincha and Inca cultures. The Paracas were highly skilled in medicine and even brain surgery! Good, since they also bound the heads of their children to elongate them for higher status.
From Ica we drove south and east to the Nazca area, a 120km by 60km plateau between two rivers in this very dry desert land where the famous Nazca lines are found. We stopped at a museum commemorating the work of Marie Reiche, the German teacher who made finding, restoring and understanding the lines her life`s work. There are many theories, including landing strips for alien spacecraft (von Daniken), but most agree the line figures were created to urge the gods to bring water from the mountains to this land. The lines are aligned with underground aquifers on which the Nazca depended.
We looked at some of the figures and lines from 40 ft towers in two different areas - they are very impressive, even today. More are being uncovered all the time apparently.
Visited a Nazca burial site (est 60,000 interred in a huge plateau area some distance from the present-day town of Nazca. Hauntingly, the wind blew very strongly across the plain as we looked down into 12 mummy tomb sites that archaeologists have restored. The entire burial site was ransacked by tomb raiders prior to 1900 and bits of bone, mummy fabric and even hair are strewn across the ground. A sad testament to man's inhumanity to man, even after death.
Here is part of our tour group after dinner at the hotel.
and we are winding down in preparation for tomorrow's 10 hr bus trip east into the high Andes on the way to Cuzco.