Nazca: Imaginary Landing in Peru

 

I was maybe ten years old when my father first told me about the Nazca lines.

We were sitting at the kitchen table, and I think I was getting ready for school in the morning. He must have just watched Chariots of the Gods, because he was telling me about the ancient astronaut theory (it was, of course, decades before History Channel cheapened the idea, so it wasn't quite as corny as it is now). He mentioned these thousand year old lines somewhere in South America, and that only when modern pilots flew over them were they recognized as giant drawings. I'm not sure why, but I always remembered that conversation.

Soon after that he got hold of Chariots of the Gods on VHS (in double feature with a heavily edited version of Mysteries of the Gods) and it became something my sister and I watched a million times.

I honestly can't remember if I ever actually believed that extra-terrestrials visited our ancestors. I think I felt the same way about it as I did about UFOs, bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster: I wished that it was real. But I do know for sure that the idea ignited my imagination. 

Those are, by the way, some of my favorite memories of my father. Him telling my sister and me about science fiction movies, usually whatever he watched on TV the night before. That's how I first heard about Alien, and Enemy Mine, among many others. Good stuff. I can definitely thank him for my love of the genre.

Cut to October of 2015. My wife, a friend and I embarked on a 16 day backpacking adventure in Peru. We started in Lima...

...and travelled through Paracas, the Ballastas Islands...

...Huacachina...

...stayed a night on one of the Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca...

...visited Cusco...

...the Sacred Valley...

...and of course Machu Picchu.

Still, for me, without question, the highlight of the journey was Nazca.

We took a 45 minute flight tour of the lines. It was a VERY wobbly flight, and I was the only one on board who didn't get dizzy or sick.

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I can't even really describe how it felt to be there. I thought of my father, who had no reason to think that his son would ever see these figures in person. And I thought about just how much I miss him.