17 November, Monday - Day 21
Free Day in Nasca. Tour of the Chauchilla Cemetery.
We arrived at 6:15 am and called the hostel which came and picked us up for free. Breakfast is an extra 5 soles at the hostel so we decided to try out the local places. Rusela had a tamale and I tried the relleno which was sausage stuffed with rice. Meal came with roasted corn, boiled corn, and red onions. We had café con leche. The interesting thing was that the coffee was in a clear plastic ketchup bottle on the table and one added it to the hot milk they served. At 11 am we took a private tour to the necropolis of Chauchilla. The desert has been used for thousands of years as a cemetery. Mummies abound from other regions. The gold working Moche, the pottery making Nasca, the textile specialists of Paracas, all brought their dead here to bury. Some plots served several generations. The grave robbers have been busy so there are bits of cotton fabric and bone strewn about. Archaeologists have placed some mummies into the graves to replicate the original setup. They put some thatched roofs over the graves recently although most of the skulls are bleached white from the sun. The guide points out that nobles had long hair and that most of the mummies were around 35 years old. They was also many children mummies as there was a high child mortality rate because of the harsh weather. The nearby region is used for mining which is very dangerous work because of the earthquakes. There is very little rainfall in the area but the weather is changing. Afternoons are generally prone to wind and sandstorms.
Less than half an inch of rain falls in this region yearly
Bone, cloth and pottery left behind by graverobbers
Children mummies are on the left
After the tour of the cemetery, we are shown a pottery shop where the owner shows us how they shaped pots without a wheel. The little cups in the shop were priced at 45 soles, and I didn’t feel like bargaining. We then were taken to a gold shop where the owner showed us how they mine gold. He showed us his jewelry which was unpriced. There was a sign stating tips were welcome.
Back at the Walk On Inn hostel we arranged our flight for the Nasca lines, the bus to Paracas, and hostel for tomorrow. The roosters are crowing loudly all day. We have the second floor all to ourselves so the walkway to our room becomes our balcony. There’s a swimming pool at the hostel but I can’t convince myself to use it. We find the one tourist boulevard in town and decided on a light dinner of omelette and stuffed avocado. This avocado had beets as part of the vegetable stuffing.
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