Thursday 11 Mar
Major updates ahoy!
Sorry for lack of recent updates since... erm... 2nd March(!)... been spending my days either getting mauled by mozzies in the Amazon (where there was no 'net access obviously) or been bussing around Peru, or preparing photos for upload.. or just.. well.. doing nothing! It's quite exhausting having to log everything that happens when so much happens on most days But for posterity I persevere as I'll be grateful for the hard work put in now.
I have a rare window now for about 4 hours where NOTHING is going on, or no flights have to be booked, so I can finally try to update ya on the goings on.
As per the title of this entry, I'm now in Nazca, the town that's situated beside the famous lines (that were put there by rock-n-roll lovin' aliens!). The lines were created by the Nazca people about 800 years before the Inca empire arrived on the scene in C16th. The tribe has since disappeared, having been assimilated into first, the Inca population, and consequently becoming mestizo once the Spanish settled.
The lines are still here though. Perfectly intact over the centuries due to Nazca region's remarkably low rainfall (30cm per annum) and gentle desert breezes that essentially "clean the desert" and prevent the lines from filling in. The reason the lines appear at all is that the top layer of sand is darker than the underlying soft-sand. Unfortunately it´s not possible to drive out and see the lines up close, although you can go a viewing tower which brings you within 50m or so.
They're really remarkable and to actually see something so famous, with such mystery, for yourself is a fantastic feeling.
I'll update the other entries now... tonight I'm off to rainy Cusco taking a bus THROUGH the Andes on a long 14 hour trip leaving at 8pm tonight and arriving at 10am tomorrow... hopefully will get some shut-eye!
MAJOR CHANGES TO ITINERARY
I've had to make some changes to my itinerary for various reasons:
- I'm going to have to miss out on Easter Island this time around. Easter Island was to be one of my MUST-DOs as I'm fascinated with the place (I'm a history fanatic and the place has such an interesting past). The reason is not so much that I can't fit it in, but rather it's because of the airline "LAN Chile" which has an exceedingly annoying ticketing system. Basically if you buy a ticket on the Chilean version of their site it costs about 150 euro LESS than buying it off the English-speaking version, the only catch is, you have to have a Chilean credit card in order to buy the cheaper one (I know, I tried today and the system wouldn't accept my European VISA card). Either that, or pay in cash once you are in Chile (which I'm not)
What a scam!
So I was left with the option of dumping my 320 euro flight, and instead having to go for a 480 euro one. 320 euro is about the MAX I would spend considering I was only going to stay for around 4-5 days. So I'll have to schedule the trip for the next time I'm in South America. (Also with Chile's recent earthquake it's probably a good idea to avoid the Santiago city anyway)
- The Pantanal in Brazil was the second thing I had planned on doing in late April before heading back to Rio. It's the largest wetland in the world and features some amazing wildlife photography opportunities. I made a few enquiries today though and it appears that, since I'm on my own, it would cost around US$1,500 for a 4 day trip. It would be much cheaper if I was in a group. So scratch that too...
What does all this mean? Well it means that I now have about 10 EXTRA days free that I can play around with. I'm REALLY disappointed about Easter Island as it probably would have been THE highlight of the trip, but I have my principles and refuse to pay extortionate prices.