In Peru

19-Sep-2009: Flight in a Cessna over the Nasca Lines
Nasca is a small town about 400km south of Lima, nothing special and nobody would care about it except for some acient lines in the desert outside of town. For this reason the place is full of gringos and a big number of Japanese tourist, more than I'v seen anyway in Latin America so far. I got into town last night, only the second time I arrived anywhere in the dark (the other one was St.Christobal in Venezuela) and got a room in the Hotel El Mirador for 20 soles (5 Euros).

A photo In the morning I first checked out the various bus companies at the other end of town a ten minute walk away. There are about eight but only three of them go to Arequipa my next destination and all of them either leave in the afternoon or late evening meaning travelling in the dark which I want to avoid. People had warned me that sometimes it is not possible to only travel during the day in the bigger South American countries. Back at the hotel I talk to the owner and the tells me that there are collectivos going south all the time. I have to change in every town into a new one of these shared taxis but I should be able to make it to Araquipa before dusk.

The next decision to make is whether I just go to a viewing tower 24 km north of the town to see some of the symbols in the desert or do the proper thing and fly over them and see them all from the air. Everybody offers the flight for 150 soles (50 US dollars) which doesn't sound too bad but I don't like to pay what everybody else paid. I walk to the airport, 5Km outside of the town. There are about 10 small companies offered flight over the Nazca lines. Most planes are Cessna six seaters but two are bigger with a dozen seats. All companies but one ask for the same 150 soles, I argue that I cut out the agency in town and the transportation, but they stay put. One company offers 125 soles which is only five over the limit I had set for me. There is only a Japanese couple booked so far, so I wait for more people to show up. At the next desk four people just checked in and the guy now offers me the super special rate of 135. I tell him about the 125 next day and he agrees. I guess they would have flown with just the four people so getting an extra 15 is better than having an empty seat. The four are from Quito and speak English so we talk a bit about Ecuador before we take off.

The last time I was on such a small plane, I jumped out of it, back in New Zealand in 1993. Here we stayed pretty low for the time to see all the different symbols. The pilot flew a lot of steep curves to give us good views of the line and despite the motion sickness pill I took I felt a bit sick for a while. Some of the line were more impressive than others being in better condition I guess. We saw the little tower below us and taking the plane was definitely worth it. It was a hot day with a blue sky, such a difference from the two weeks of gray skies over Lima.

I walked back into town and had a late lunch at a cafe and then a haircut for 5 soles (1 UK pound). The late afternoon I spent on the roof of the hotel with nice views of the surrounding hills. After an hour of downloading podcasts at an internet cafe (1 sole) I had Chifa (Chinese) for dinner. I had planned for pizza, but all the restaurants offering pizza on the main road were very touristy and of full of gringos, so I joined the locals next door.
Full Itinerary:

16-Aug-2009: 12 hour bus ride from Vilcabamba into Peru (Jaen, Peru)

17-Aug-2009: Jean to Chachapoyas (Chachapoyas, Peru)

18-Aug-2009: Daytrip to the 771m (2529ft) Gocta Cataracts waterfall (Chachapoyas, Peru)

19-Aug-2009: Visited the acient town of Kuelap (Chachapoyas, Peru)

20-Aug-2009: Relaxing and spending time online (Chachapoyas, Peru)

21-Aug-2009: Long day on the road from Chachapoyas to Cajamarca (Cajamarca, Peru)

22-Aug-2009: Lazy day in Cajamarca (Cajamarca, Peru)

23-Aug-2009: Another lazy day in Cajamarca (Cajamarca, Peru)

24-Aug-2009: Cajamarca to Trujillo (Trujillo, Peru)

25-Aug-2009: Visiting the ruins of Chan Chan (Trujillo, Peru)

26-Aug-2009: Trujillo to Chimbote (Nuevo Chimbote, Peru)

27-Aug-2009: Chimbote to Caraz via the a beautiful Canyon (Caraz, Peru)

28-Aug-2009: Relaxing in the sun in Caraz (Caraz, Peru)

29-Aug-2009: Caraz to Huaraz (Huaraz, Peru)

30-Aug-2009: Lazy Sunday in Huaraz (Huaraz, Peru)

31-Aug-2009: Day hike around Huaraz (Huaraz, Peru)

1-Sep-2009: Into the Cordillera Negro with Bas and Sickney (Huaraz, Peru)

2-Sep-2009: Huaraz to Barranca (Barranca, Peru)

3-Sep-2009: Barranca to Lima (Lima, Peru)

4-Sep-2009: Exploring Miraflores (Lima, Peru)

5-Sep-2009: Wet day in Miraflores (Lima, Peru)

6-Sep-2009: Watching the parade in Miraflores (Lima, Peru)

7-Sep-2009: Bought a new hard drive and made backups (Lima, Peru)

8-Sep-2009: Made more backups and file organisation (Lima, Peru)

9-Sep-2009: Wrote new backup script with automatic upload to Skydrive (Lima, Peru)

10-Sep-2009: Data recovery and moved into Jose's house (Lima, Peru)

11-Sep-2009: Walked to Lima centro around there and back. (Lima, Peru)

12-Sep-2009: To Cerro San Christobal with Jose (Lima, Peru)

13-Sep-2009: Long walk to Barranco, along the beach to Miraflores and back to La Victory (Lima, Peru)

14-Sep-2009: Online and shopping for new shoes (Lima, Peru)

15-Sep-2009: Programming in La Victoria (Lima, Peru)

16-Sep-2009: More programming in La Victoria (Lima, Peru)

17-Sep-2009: Writing documentation in La Victoria (Lima, Peru)

18-Sep-2009: Lima to Nazca (Nazca, Peru)

19-Sep-2009: Flight in a Cessna over the Nasca Lines (Nazca, Peru)

20-Sep-2009: Nasca to Arequipa (Arequipa, Peru)

21-Sep-2009: Moved into different hostel, fixed live-web-server problems (Arequipa, Peru)

22-Sep-2009: Working on InkaCopy (Arequipa, Peru)

23-Sep-2009: Working on Kampot integration with InkaCopy (Arequipa, Peru)

24-Sep-2009: More programming in the internet cafe at the main square (Arequipa, Peru)

25-Sep-2009: Removed themes from my CMS (Arequipa, Peru)

26-Sep-2009: Working on Kampot Services Vs. 2.0 (Arequipa, Peru)

27-Sep-2009: More work on Kampot 2.0 (Arequipa, Peru)

28-Sep-2009: Testing and documenting Kampot 2.0 (Arequipa, Peru)

29-Sep-2009: More random IT work (Arequipa, Peru)

30-Sep-2009: Deployment of new features (Arequipa, Peru)

1-Oct-2009: Day 400 - Finishing up IT work (Arequipa, Peru)

2-Oct-2009: Down into the Colca Canyon (Colca Canyon, Peru)

3-Oct-2009: Hiking in the Colca Canyon (Oasis in Colca Canyon, Peru)

4-Oct-2009: Out of the canyon, hot springs and back to Arequipa (Arequipa, Peru)

5-Oct-2009: Recovering from three hard days of hiking (Arequipa, Peru)

6-Oct-2009: Long bus ride from Arequipa to Cusco (Cusco, Peru)

7-Oct-2009: Programming work on Publish Actions for Topas (Cusco, Peru)

8-Oct-2009: Some work on 403.4 status pages (Cusco, Peru)

9-Oct-2009: At the Inka complex of Sacsayhuamán (Cusco, Peru)

10-Oct-2009: Moved into a new hostel (Cusco, Peru)

11-Oct-2009: Recovering in the sun from last nights sickness (Cusco, Peru)

12-Oct-2009: First real rain in months, I'm glad I am not hiking now (Cusco, Peru)

13-Oct-2009: Fixing some problems, "stupid time zones" (Cusco, Peru)

14-Oct-2009: Worked on lots of small fixes and enhancments (Cusco, Peru)

15-Oct-2009: Back into the hills for more Inka ruins (Cusco, Peru)

16-Oct-2009: Created a single-sign-on solution for Topas sites (Cusco, Peru)

17-Oct-2009: Downhill mountain biking toward as the start of a four day trek to Machu Picchu (Santa Maria, Peru)

18-Oct-2009: Walk along the river and the inka step in the mountains. (Santa Teresa, Peru)

19-Oct-2009: Walk along the river for seven hours (Aquas Calientes, Peru)

20-Oct-2009: Hike to and around Machu Picchu, amazing! (Cusco, Peru)

21-Oct-2009: Relaxing in Cusco (Cusco, Peru)

22-Oct-2009: Back to work (Cusco, Peru)

23-Oct-2009: Working because it is a rainy day (Cusco, Peru)

24-Oct-2009: Cusco to Puno (Puno, Peru)