Hello everybody, we are still alive! There has been some panic after 5 tourists died in a flight over the nazca lines yesterday. We are very sad to hear that and it must be awful for their families. We in fact flew over them today (having not been informed of that mishap) and survived, we have pictures to show too.. it was a very bumpy ride in a very small aircraft that tips over a lot to give good views of the lines/pictures(geoglyphs) below so mark was sick but apart from that we are completely fine. They were constructed in the Nazca desert by the Nazca culture between 200BC and 700AD, and mostly depict animals. They can only be seen from the air as they are such large constructions (although not very deep) and were made by removing darkened layers of rocks in the desert. There is a lot of controversy and mystery surrounding the topic of why they were made, that is due to the fact that they are too large to be recognised from the ground yet the nazca culture (as far as we know) couldnt fly. One archaeologist has managed to make a hot air balloon out of the materials that would have been available to the people at that time but no other evidence suggests that they did this, theories include the idea that they have astronomical meanings, the suggestion that they were pictures dedicated to the gods in the sky, and even that they were part of a landing spot of extraterrestrial beings! wierdy! (apparently the construction of them itself isnt too challenging and a university team from the states can make one in just a couple of days) .
The Nazca lines trip we did in a day from Huacachina which has been our base for the last few days, Huacachine is a complete oasis with a handful of hostels and a small lagoon, and it is just surrounded by huge sand dunes! Therefore we have also been dune buggying and sandboarding which was amazing! We have never been so sandy in our lives! after several dips in the pool (yes this hostel has a pool and poolside bar wahey) and a shower, we are still finding sand in our ears, belly buttons etc etc. ! The hardest part is walking up the dunes to sandboard down them, which hurts the lower part of your legs a lot. Views from the dunes of the sunset are beautiful. The buggying was a bit scary, a lot of bouncing up and down and thinking any minute we will tip over as they drive so fast to power up the dunes, however we spent the first 15 minutes of our sandbuggy tour digging it out of the sand when we got stuck!
We also went to visit a winery as they make lots of wine and pisco (which isnt very nice as its so strong!) here. Every year in early March (we just missed it) they pick the most beautiful girls to dance on the grapes and they hold a candle to her bottom to make her dance faster! We all had lots of wine to try and our driver got very drunk and we had a detour over the sand dunes at 2am on the way home (we used the sandbuggys to transport us all to the wineries) which was WILD and very scary!
We went into Ica to have lunch in a restaurant called Hatuchay that was more like a large shack, with a live band and we were the only `gringos`. Rae ate ceviche which is like the ceviche in mexico but with fish or mixed with seafood and without tomato, it was srumptious!
We have loved huacachina despite living, eating, and sleeping in so much sand! and although it has been seemingly risky.. Back to Lima tommorow for Rae`s placement digging at the Huaca Pucllana (she is very excited), photos to follow as camera battery has just gone this second (doh) however most of them are up on facebook if my blog has been so good that you cant wait a couple of days. heehe
Rae (and mark) xoxox