The afternoon after visiting the Nazca Lines, we caught yet another bus towards the Maria Reiche Museum. Maria Reiche was the woman who discovered the Lines and spent her life working on the mystery of precisely they were, and why they were there. The museum was in the house she used to live in and was basically maade up of all her clutter and sketches.
It was amazing to see how she had dedicated her entire life (from the age of 20 until she died at about 80) to discovering the secret behind the Lines. She spent everyday working in the desert, and didn’t receive any funding for her work until she was about 70 years old and the rest of the world realised the significance of the Lines and, in 1994, classed the site a Unesco World Heritage Site.
After this our museum guide, Alex, took us to a small village opposite the museum. At first we felt very intrusive, effectively looking at these people’s lives as though they were a tourist attraction. But they were just so welcoming. The houses were basically mud huts and every yard was full of animals. The mot incredible thing about the village was the children.
It seems that the South American family doesn’t centre around the children as much as in a western family – the kids are literally given attention if and when there parents have time. The village really opened our eyes into how Peru really is – we finally got off the Gringo Trail (what the locals call the local trail followed by white, western tourists) and saw something real.
By the time we (Camilla, I and a girl called Myra we had met at the hostel that morning) got the bus home, we were filthy and covered in desert dust. Unfortunately we’d booked out of our rooms that morning as we were getting the 11pm night bus (12 hour journey) to Arequipa that evening.
We had dinner at the first place we saw in Nazca before having a serious baby wipe wash in the toilet at the hostel and lazing around in the lounge until our bus.
Nazca was a short stop – but a brilliant one.