Last Friday, I arrived at the bus station a few minutes later than Amanda. We had decided to make a trip to Nasca together and Cruz del Sur was our bus line of choice. Amanda had a partial idea for a story floating around in her head and she needed to see the Nasca Lines up close and personal. The spirituality of this archaeological wonder called to her. I had made a trip and done the over flight three years earlier with my friends David and Brenda. This trip my main goals were the Temples of Cahuachi and the aqueducts built by the Nasca culture at two different time periods in their history. A fact not known to me at the time I did the flight.
Our friend and professional tour guide, Aaron Pavia Leyton, made the travel arrangements and over flight of the lines. His services were excellent and despite our rather last minute request, he managed to put the trip together exactly as we requested. Here is the link to his website, I highly recommend his services.
The bus service was excellent and on time, the hostels (they were really more like hotels) were wonderful and Amanda’s flight over the Lines, “perfect,” in her words.
We arrived at the Nasca Oasis Hostel just after 9 pm Friday evening. The desk clerk made a quip about our late arrival and after handing him our voucher, escorted us to our room. To save money, Amanda and I decided to share a room. The accommodations were large and spacious, the beds comfortable, and the bathroom huge. A few minutes of reading and I was soon asleep.
Rising early the next morning we had a nice complimentary breakfast. The desk clerk, who spoke English, helped me find a tour guide for the Aqueducts in the morning and the Temples of Cahuachi in the afternoon. Amanda decided to join me on the afternoon Temple tour if she was back from her flight in time.
The guide, Orlando (call me Vito) Flores showed up right on time and I was off for my first tour of the day. The first stop was at a Nasca Line built to point out a water source in the nearby mountains. The ground in front of the line was littered with holes dug by grave robbers looking for gold, fine ceramics and textiles. A sight that bothered me and yet I was conflicted in my feelings. Thanks to my travels, the internet, TV and movies; I’ve seen how the truly poor have to subsist around the world. If my family were starving, I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t have dug up one of those burial sites myself. At the same time, I know it wasn’t just the poor robbing those graves. The Spanish and wealthy land owners did their share also.
Vito explained that not all the lines pointed to water, a fact I already knew. Some were trails that led to other villages, some were simply gathering points for celebrations and others built for religious reasons. Satellite photography using a special light spectrum has shown scientists which ones were built to point to sources of water. While I stood admiring the line, Vito pointed out Cero Blanco showing its head above the mountains that lined the valley. It is the tallest sand dune in the world at 2080 meters.
From the Nasca Line Vito took me to the Aqueducto de Cantayoc. Although there is some disagreement in the archaeological community, most agree that these canals were built in the late Nasca period around 500AD. Of the 50 Puquios (a Quechua word for natural spring) discovered only 36 are still working and in use. Vito told me that the farmers in the area have an association. Each farm that takes water from the aqueduct, must supply labor to maintain them. The aqueducts work on a filtration system. There is no mortar in the rock walls. Water seeps into the canals along most of its length. Ojos (eyes in Spanish) were entrances to the underground portion of the aqueducts. These were built so that workers could enter and maintain the canals. They also provided light for the work.
Next on the morning tour was Los Paredones. The architectural remain acted as the administrative center for the Inca after they conquered the area. Built mostly of adobe (mud brick), it has suffered greatly over the years. The Inca arrived in the valley approximately 1000 years after the fall of the Nasca to the Wari culture. This center was occupied by a regional governor and troops to maintain Incan control. Crops, textiles, ceramics and minerals would have been collected and forwarded to the Emperor in Cusco. A temple to the sun was built inside the complex as well as a palace for the governor and quarters for the military. That finished my morning excursion and Vito returned me to the hostel where I found Amanda lying by the pool and excited by her flight over the Nasca Lines.
Vito is an excellent guide, the kind that I enjoy. He’s very enthusiastic about the sites and very knowledgeable. Here is his contact information.
Orlando Flores – Nasca Tour Guide – firstname.lastname@example.org cell phone – 956668730
More about my trip to Nasca will be added to the website over the next couple of days. Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I did going.
All my friends here in Peru are doing well. The writers’ group met last week before I left and critiqued a couple of chapters from my new book. I managed to do a little writing while on the trip. Mostly ideas for short stories to be worked on in the future.