May 21st , 2011
Today was another early day. I was up at 6 to get ready and grab some breakfast quick before we left for Nazca today. It was a two hour bus ride from Ica to Nazca. Today we traveled to and from Nazca to Ica, and then traveled another four or five hours in back to Lima. The Nazca lines have fascinated me ever since I had heard about them, so I was very excited to be able to see them. About ten of us at a time were able to climb the lookout tower and look down onto two of the Nazca lines, the hands and the tree. It was startling to me how unassuming the lookout spot for the lines were. We simply pulled our vans to the side of the road, walked up a tower, and there they were. I will admit though, I was a tad disappointed by the lines. You always hear about the major lines, like the monkey and the hummingbird but we did not get to see that. However, I do completely understand why. Maybe one day I will return to Nazca and take a plane over the lines to see them all from the sky, which is the best way to do it. However, I have also heard very negative things about the planes and pilots who take people over the lines!
After the Nazca lines we went into the town of Nazca to see a workplace where gold was made, followed by a place where ceramics are made. I was really fascinated by the gold mining process and the effort it takes to produce the gold. None of us could believe that after he had explained the hours of labor that go in to producing the gold, the outcome for each day is a spec of gold smaller than the size of a dime. We then got to see the way the gold is pressed into the mercury, as a few boys rolled back and forth on huge cylinders for compression, a chore they would be doing for about 6 hours straight. After the gold factory, we went to observe ceramics being made. The most memorable thing about this was learning that the ceramics that the people make get their nice polish from the grease on the artisan’s hair and face. We watched as the lady who was demonstrating rubbed some oil from her face and then onto the ceramic bowl, creating a nice shine.
It was definitely a long day, but we got to see so much Peruvian culture and history. I always love when a famous place or landmark comes up in conversation, or class, or on tv, and I am able to say that I have personally been there. I’ve been getting that feeling a lot since I have been on this trip, even though the trip has just begun, and it is really exciting. Like for example, I can say that I have seen the Nazca lines, the mysterious and massive etched creations in the deserts Peru.
Today also had a little extra flair, because it was Andrew’s 21st birthday. So after our long, long, day, and our long, long drive back to Lima to our beloved youth hostel, we went out Kennedy Park and found a discothèque to end the night and Andrew’s birthday with. We are now back and sleeping at the hostel one last time before we go to our home stay families tomorrow. We have all grown to love the hostel because in this short amount of time, the group has become close and we enjoy being all together.