alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals


The Nasca Lines, Part II

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Nasca pilot Jose
Nasca pilot Jose

"The mysterious drawings known as the Nasca Lines have puzzled archaeologists, anthropologists, and anyone fascinated by ancient cultures in the Americas. For just as long, waves of scientists—and amateurs—have inflicted various interpretations on the lines, as if they were the world's largest set of Rorschach inkblots. At one time or another, they have been explained as Inca roads, irrigation plans, images to be appreciated from primitive hot air balloons, and, most laughably, landing strips for alien spacecraft." —National Geographic, March 2010

Nasca Lines astronaut
Nasca Lines astronaut

I was warned NOT to eat breakfast before the Nasca flight, as the dipping and swirling of the small 4-6 seater plane can make one's stomach react violently. One of my fellow voluntarias, here from Ireland, told me that when she went on the flight during a previous trip to Peru, not only did she get sick during the plane ride, but another person on her plane got sick too. Ugh. Perhaps I should have checked this out more carefully before making my reservations. When I checked into my hotel in Nasca and asked what time breakfast was served, the hotel clerk gently reminded me that it would be best not to eat before the flight. Everyone was so serious about the empty stomach thing that I decided to not eat dinner the night before either.

Nasca Lines hummingbird
Nasca Lines hummingbird

There were 3 other passengers on my flight, plus a pilot and co-pilot. The co-pilot thing is relatively new, due to the fact that there have been seven airplane accidents over the Nasca Lines in the past two years, resulting in 12 deaths. As of March 15, 2010, all planes must have a co-pilot, and no aircraft in service can be over 30 years old. Although I already knew about this new regulation when I booked my flight, I was still relieved to see that both Jose AND Alejandro would be our pilots.

Nasca Lines tree
Nasca Lines tree

The flight itself is about 30 minutes long—enough time to see quite a lot. I was able to see figures of a whale, monkey, dog, condor, hummingbird, spider, parrot, heron, a tree, and something called the “astronaut," a funny-looking figure that does somewhat resemble an astronaut. I also saw geometric shapes of a rectangle, trapezoid and spiral. And lots and lots of lines. It was fascinating. I couldn't get over the fact that these etchings have been here for almost 2,000 years and have not eroded away. And since it never rains on the southern coast of Peru, which is considered one of the driest places on Earth, they can't wash away.

The plane ride can be difficult on one's stomach because, besides the fact that the aircraft is a very small propeller plane, the pilot has to dip and tilt the plane at some precarious angles in order for the passengers to get a good view of the Lines. I did not get sick. But the girl sitting next to me did not fare as well. She had a great attitude though, and after we landed she said, "It's all just part of the experience." Indeed! Everything in Peru is an experience.

Read the rest of the blogs in this series here.

Today's Events

View the work of internationally recognized Laguna photographer Lee Marmon, New Mexican photographer Sondra Diepen and New Mexican painter Carol L. Adamec. Runs through 6/25.

Orgone • funk, soul • Monophonics at Launchpad

Beerland at The Lodge at Santa Fe

More Recommended Events ››

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.