At $100 USD per person, flying over the Nazca lines is not a great choice for those on a budget. Jason figured that the two lines he saw from the viewing tower were good enough for him, and he spent the morning doing car maintenance. Bode and I figured that since we were here, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we should go.
The Nazca lines are ancient geoglyphs drawn (scratched, actually) on the ground between 500 BC and 500 AD by the Nazca culture. They weren’t really known in the rest of the world until around the 1920’s when airplanes flew over them.
No one really knows why they are here, or what their purpose was, but there are many theories including communication with extraterrestrials and giant looms for weaving textiles. Those would be some big textiles, as the largest figure is 650 feet across. The most likely theory is that figures were some sort of religious symbols meant to invoke the gods’ aid in supplying water.
Some of the figures seem to have an entrance and exit, so it is believed that the Nazca would use the figures as a walking track so that they appeared animated to the Gods. But no one really knows.
So Bode and I left early for the airport, where we were weighed and assigned a plane. The planes were small, 4 passenger (plus the pilot and guide). We had been warned about motion sickness, as the pilots bank to each side so the passengers can look directly over the lines. Bode was a little nervous about throwing up, but once we got our headphones on he was fine.
The ride was just like a roller coaster, sometimes we’d drop few meters, sometimes it felt as if the wind was pushing us sideways. Once we were over the lines, we didn’t seem to notice the unsteady plane.
We flew over about 20 different lines, twice each. The ‘guide’ obviously had poorly memorized his English speech, because each new line he’d say and “now on the left we see the dog, at the left wing” and then the plane would turn on it’s right side. Then, we’d fly around in a circle and he’d say the same thing but this time we’d actually see it out the left window.
So, my favorite was the monkey, Bode’s the astronaut. We both swear the guide said ‘astronaut with a bow tie”, but I’m not sure what he was trying to say. Flying over you definitely get a sense of the magnitude of the figures.
All in all, flying in such a small plane and seeing the ancient drawings was a pretty cool experience.