We said goodbye to Cusco in the only way appropriate, by drinking pisco on the street with a couple of Chileans!  It was a pretty random and fun night, and one that we paid for the next morning.  In fact, we paid for it all the way to Nasca… the bus ride was about as unpleasant as they come, and not even the expensive ticket saved me from staying up most of the night, bracing myself for every highspeed corner (and there were a lot).

The desert is really pretty, even if Nasca isn’t… Barely visible behind the mountains is Cerro Blanco, the world’s tallest sand dune.

Nasca isn’t really an attractive place (and in that way it is similar to other desert towns we’ve visited, like Arica).  The dry air and lack of rain have a way of extending the construction season out indefinitely… it is common in these towns to see half constructed buildings, with their bricks piled on the unfinished floor, and their walls half covered in plaster.  And even though the Nasca lines are ancient, the town itself is quite modern.  There are no Spanish colonial churches on the Plaza de Armas; one only encounters s./7.00 menu placards and roast chickens.  In spite of it all, we’re kind of enjoying ourselves here.  Our accommodation’s nicest feature is the shaded rooftop terrace, and the 80-degree weather is such a welcome change.

Most people are in Nasca to see the lines.  Since it costs between $80-100 USD for the plane ride, we’re enjoying some of the cheaper options, like visit pre-Incan aqueducts and viewing the lines from some pathetically short platforms.

The Acueductos de Cantalloc were especially impressive.  Ancient Nascans constructed miles of underground aqueducts to bring water from the mountains into their town.  In order to build this, they constructed these spiraling terraces to access the planned water level, and then tunneled between them.  The most amazing thing is that the water is still flowing today (with fish in it, I might add).


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