Well, in Nazca we woke up early Saturday morning (9 am-ish) for our flight over the desert to view the infamous Nazca Lines. Not a bad deal… $30 for a 45 minute flight in a small little Cesna. We drove out to the airport and upon arrival they had us watch a very interesting video on the lines published by National Geographic Society (in English! wow!). The video gave the history of how the lines and designs were discovered about 40 years ago by Maria Reiche, and how they have been studied and speculated upon by many. No one really knows the true reason why they were created, but some people think it was to communicate with aliens, and to direct them where to land their space ships. Others think that the huge trapezoidal designs that do indeed look like spaceship runways, were used to point to sources of water, an invaluable resource to the desert people. It is interesting because some of the animal representations (hummingbird, monkey, etc) are not found anywhere near the Nazca desert, and suggests that the peoples were well connected with jungle communities, to whom these animals are of great importance.
The shaman of the jungles would take a medicine called San Pedro and have incredible hallucinations and out of body experiences that have often been explained as floating above the ground like an eagle… which is the only really good way to view the images. Check out this Nazca Lines site and scroll down to view some pictures from the air of the animal depictions and to read a detailed explanation of the lines. VERY Interesting, and definitely a highlight of my trip!
See also Discovery Channel’s information on Nazca.