SGW is pleased to have received Part Six of Allen Lai’s amazing Adventures in Peru. In this part Allen visits:
The Nazca Lines, Huacachina Lagoon, Lima
Another exciting day. A day to witness history and mystery for 2,000 years. We are going to see the Nazca Lines.
They are a collection of giant geoglyphs—designs or motifs etched into the ground—located in the Peruvian coastal plain about 250 miles south of Lima, Peru. Created by the ancient Nazca culture, and depicts various plants, animals, and shapes, In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. These 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines can only be fully appreciated when viewed from the air given their massive size.
Since their discovery in the 1920s, the lines have been variously interpreted, but their significance remains largely shrouded in mystery.
We chartered a small 14-seater airplane to explore these figures and were absolutely stunned by the ariel view. The plane visited 17 figures by flying around each figure and tilted left and right, so everyone got a chance to see it. It’s certainly not a flight path for anyone will a weak stomach. Since the plain where the lines are carved receive little rain or wind, the lines are still clearly visible today. What an experience.
After that, we took a long ride back to Paracas. The traffic was really bad, and it took us nearly six hours. On the way, we stopped by Huacachina Lagoon. This oasis was formed thanks to an underground current of water, which generated the growth of plants and trees in the middle of the Inca desert.
Legend has it that there was once a beautiful princess named Huacca China. She was a beautiful woman, sought after by the men of the city whose love she did not reciprocate. She used to bathe in a remote place next to a tree; it was a place that no one knew.
One day, when taking a bath, she could see in her mirror a foreigner who was watching her and he decided to get close to her. Frightened, the maiden began to run until her clothing got entangled in a tree and turned into dunes; she kept running until she stumbled again and her mirror broke into pieces, becoming a lagoon, where she submerged and remained transformed into a mermaid. She goes out every night to mourn her misfortune and the legend tells that in retaliation, she went out at night to surprise foreigners, dazzle them and drown them at the bottom of the lagoon. Nowadays, several foreigners have died, adding strength to the legend of the mermaid. Huacca China means “the woman who cries”.
That night we checked into the Doubletree hotel. Having a suite room and enjoying the facilities.
Doubletree Hotel Paracas
We woke up early, had a hearty breakfast, and started exploring the hotel. If I walked towards the ocean there was a beautiful beach facing the Pacific Ocean. With hundreds of birds, water sports facilities, a swimming pool. It’s just like in the Caribbean. But if I walk the other way. It’s an open desert. There’s nothing there, just rock and sand. Even the access road is a narrow gravel road.
I spent some time taking photos of various birds and had a swim in the empty pool.
Then it was time to pack up and head back to Lima, which was a 4 hour’s drive. Along the way, we saw the contrast between the rich and the poor. For a country having so many resources, gold, copper, farming, livestock, and most important of all, hardworking people. Yet, most are living below the poverty line. What a shame.
Back in Lima that night we checked into the JW Marriott hotel by the waterfront, with the high-end Larcomar shopping mall across the road. Watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean, a stroll down the waterfront, and seeing local people from all walks of life. Breathing the salty ocean air. I have to say, I love Peru. This in-depth tour open up my eyes to more deeply understand and appreciate Peru.
Like all events, it always comes to an end and this trip was no exception. Finally, it was the last day of the trip. Only lovely memories will last forever.
The next day, also the last day in Lima, our first stop was Barranco. Known as the SoHo of Lima, it is one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods, with colorful street art, tucked-away bars and coffee shops, vibrant old mansions and summer houses, beautiful museums, delicious food, and plenty of bohemian vibes.
Barranco – Soho of Lima
Barranco started out as a fishing village, according to local folklore, a group of fishermen lost at sea spotted a light ashore after praying for salvation. When they approached the site, all they saw was a wooden cross. It was there that these fishermen built a shrine during the second half of the nineteenth century that would be replaced almost a century later with a church that dates back to 1901. The church was closed after a 1940 earthquake damaged the adobe masonry structure. Despite several attempts at restoration, La Ermita has remained closed to the public.
Across the road is the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. One of the most famous landmarks of the neighborhood, this wooden bridge comes with a legend that states that if you make a wish and hold your breath for the entire time you walk across the 100-foot bridge, then your wish will come true. I wished for Peru to strive again.
Wandering around the neighborhood, it’s all incredible street art. These vibrant displays are everywhere and constantly changing, with whimsical, realistic, and graffiti-style displays.
Parque del Amor (Love Park).
The next stop was, of course, the famous Parque del Amor (Love Park).
“The eternal happiness in life is to love and be loved”, George Sand. Laid out on the cliffs of Chorrillos, creating an illusion of floating over the Pacific Ocean. Environed by walls inscribed with love quotes, it is virtually breathing romance. The park is influenced by Spanish architect Gaudi. His style is implanted there.
The statue of El Beso, “The Kiss” features a couple passionately absorbed in the act of kissing. The park celebrates the joy of love openly and unreservedly. It is a favorite hangout spot for people in love, of all ages.
We had lunch at Museo Larco’s open-air restaurant. It’s an important place for receiving foreign officials. We took the privilege of enjoying our 3-course lunch with Chifa (Chinese meal) as the main course.
Museo Larco is an absolute eye-opener. When I did my research, it seemed to be nothing but a collection of old pots and burial findings. But with our local guide Alex’s lively narration he spoke about the stories behind each finding with passion. He knew the history inside out. Despite being a tiny museum, we spent hours there. Of particular interest is the “Erotic Gallery” where we saw and learn about Sex… And yes, it’s all about fertility and one’s imagination. Sex of all sorts, regular, oral, anal, animal, dead or alive, you name it, they have it. And those you can’t name it. I am talking about centuries ago when the Inca people created it.
Some of the Exhibits…
…and the Erotic Gallery
That night, we had our farewell dinner at one of the best restaurants, “CaLa” in Barranco. Perched high up on the cliff overlooking the coastline and the Pacific ocean. Its impressive Peruvian-fusion cuisine complements its ocean vistas. While enjoying the Pisco sour, and local Sauvignon Blanc. We chatted and bid farewell to friends old and new.
And we must express our gratitude to Gogo Tour for arranging such an in-depth travel itinerary.
There’s so much to learn about Peru. Such a beautiful country with so many natural resources, mines, agriculture, winery, heritage, and unique culture, and most important of all, it’s the people. I can only wish Peru can find a way to strive again, as it has what it takes to be successful.
SGW is grateful to Allen for compiling this wonderful travelogue. He is now back at home in Canada, no doubt contemplating his next adventure. We look forward to hearing from him soon.
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