Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nasca lines and sand boarding! -13th October 2007

So in the end I did manage to convince myself that sand boarding down a 2078m sand dune was a great idea! In the meantime though I was up at 6.30am to meet Abdon at 7am for my flight over the Nasca lines, when he then tells me that the weather isn´t the best at the mo so we´re gonna leave it for about 40 mins.

When we arrived at the airport you can really tell its the low season as there´s only me and another waiting to go up! We were ushered into a small room to watch a video on the lines that seemed to go on and on, during which we could hear other planes taking off and landing, but still we waited! I was beginning to see the disadvantage of traveling alone out of peak season!

(While we were waiting there was an earthquake (which again I didn´t feel) apparently it was a Magnitude 4.5 but was centered 1000km out to sea at a depth of 28km!)

After another hours wait Abdon ushered me off to another part of the airport which was for VIPs (!) and said that I was going up with one other couple and to exaggerate about how much I had paid for the flight as they would have paid more! Now I was beginning to see the advantage of travelling alone in the offpeak season! I also got to ride shotgun with the pilot which was a lot of fun.

The flight over the lines was truly amazing, apparently a lot of people get sick on the flight as its only in a small Cessna plane and they do swing it about a bit but we were all fine on our flight, it was a bit like some of the rides at Islands of Adventures or Disney!

The views were truly incredible, the flight lasted for half hour and we saw all the major drawings, the astronaut, the monkey, the condor, the humming bird and spider etc.

The afternoons activities were then taken up with sand boarding!! And this one I really hadn´t thought through to be honest!

To get to the top of the dune was gonna take 3 hours of tough hiking! Some described it as a brutal hike to the top, well it was that and then some!

The peak in the far far distance is where we were headin for!

The organised tour that runs sets off very early in the morning as its too hot to hike after that but as I had been flying in the morning and had booked the bus ticket in the evening we didn´t set off till 12.30, and it wasn´t till I got in the car that I realised it was just me and Abdon again!

10 minutes into the trek, it´s 1.30pm and I´m seriously wondering what on earth I´m doing, but hey it is the largest sand dune in the world (isn´t it?)!!

Every 5 minutes I´m looking at my watch hoping an hour or even 3 had gone by but no chance. Abdon, kept saying to me, don´t worry you´re not going to die, but until that time I hadn´t even thought about that!

On top of the world!

The last 1 and half hours of the trek was just on the sand dune making hiking even harder, although I did find a trick and that was to walk in the footsteps of the person in front of you, it works honestly, and it also helps that my guide was 4" nothing and had little legs also!

By the time we got to the top I had firmly decided that there was no way I was gonna be sand boarding down and invented the very popular, at least with me, sand sledging sport! Hey it worked for me!
The other part of the trip I didn´t quite know about was the 1 and half hours trek out of the mountains! By this time it was getting dark, it was a new moon, and we still had quite a way to go. Abdon had bought a torch which reliably run out of battery power and the only other thing we had was the light on my mobile phone and the battery on that was quickly running out!

We happened upon a rock in the middle of nowhere, in pitch darkness and here was were Abdon said the driver would be meeting us! We waited for him for 45 mins before thankfully he eventually turned up, boy was I pleased to see him!

After that it was a quick dash back and shower before my bus.

The bus to Arequipa arrived half hour late but that was ok I was just looking forward to sleeping in my front row seat.

Getting on the bus at Nasca I was the only person, all the others had come from Lima and were fast asleep when I got on, including the person in my seat! So there I was a couple of rows back next to a large Peruvian man who snored for the next 8 hours!

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