martian from the sky!
I was promised safe travel from Ica to Nazca, and I had already purchased a ticket on Cruz Azul for the 12th at night, so I felt as though my plans were set for the week. As I arrived at the bus station, I felt as though there was some unrest with those traveling as well as with those at the bus station working. I had a feeling as though something was going on, but had yet to find out the magnitude of the problem until after talking to some Canadian girls during one of my tours in Nazca.
I arrived in Nazca to be swiftly taken via taxi to the airport... to what can be called an airport:) 4-seaters lined the runway awaiting takeoff to see the famous Nazca lines that I'd heard so much about.
. "You can't go to Peru and not see the Nazca Lines," is what I'd been told over and over and over. So, I splurged, and went on a tour.. finding that I had not splurged for the right reasons. NEXT TIME, I am hiking to the highest peak and viewing the lines from there! I discovered on my flight, that I do not do well on small planes:) Luckily, I did not eat breakfast, nor lunch in anticipation of this... luckily, I was in the front of the plane where there were quaint bags for those who are faint and dizzy and naseous like myself... I felt bad for the two other passengers who patted me on my back as well as the pilot who tried to talk to me to get my thoughts off of the swirling mass below me as he drove in circles .. round and round and round the lines to show us the lines again and again and again.
The crew daring to get past enemy territory
.. I felt as though I was on one of my dreaded amusement park rides.. the swings that go round and round and the other rides that travel in continuous circles.. that is TORTURE... endless torture for 45 minutes! The only time I came up from my hunched over .. in the bag position .. was to snap a quick foto of the monkey or the spider or the condor or some other line. I found myself wishing that I could jump out of the plane.. I would have done anything to get out of the plane on land. The Nazca Lines were seen.. but it was as if it were a bad dream... as we neared the airstrip, I clung to the sides and started to smile in anticipation of being dropped down onto land... Oh, the feel of my feet on the ground... the dizziness took some time to subside... as I was whisked away to another museum.
Nazca mummies!!!! oooh!
.. 45 minutes away.. a burial ground of sorts of the Nazca people. It was there that I met some Canadians who informed me of the strikes going on throughout Peru as well as the lack of spaces on the bus lines as a result. I discovered upon returning to the main city that my BUS WAS NOT EVEN GOING that night or any other night until the strike was resolved. I was at a loss. The girls took me to different bus lines trying to find a bus for me, but to no avail. Every bus seat was filled, and many of the bus lines were not even going as a result of the protestors. I was in shock. What would I do? The hostals were filled because people had been stranded for days... the hotels were filled for the same reason. I prayed for wisdom.. for guidance.. for safety. All of a sudden, a group of girls returned, yelling for me to come with them.
the captions left by the protestors
One of the bus lines had a space that they didn't know they had... and I could go with them!!! I bought the last space, called my friend and his mom, discussed this to great length with them, and ultimately decided that it would be worth it to try and see if I could make it to Arequipa
since I was with a group of people rather than by myself.
We left at 11PM for Arequipa, and I slept the entire way peacefully... when I awoke, I discovered that we had been stopped multiple times by the protestors who wanted to refuse our passage like they had countless others.. but for some reason, we were the only bus they allowed through. We passed through the burning tires, the multiple boulders, the multiple rock-throwing protestors, and those who wished us harm.
protestors amassing in Arequipa
Our bus was written on, pounded, hit, and kicked, but none of the passengers were injured, none were hurt.. all was well. To our great surprise, we arrived safely... in one piece.. in Arequipa, where the taxis had been shut down for days. I called my friend's mother who showed up at just the right time, and she convinced a taxi driver to take us to her home.. telling him that she knew the safe areas of town. It wasn't until days later that I realized the extent of the protest as well as the dangers it entailed. But at that moment, I was just thankful for the safety of our bus.. and the hand of God that sheltered us on our journey.