Seven-year-old me discovered how motion sick I get in any moving vehicle, so 37-year-old me knows better than to take an afternoon flight over the lines of Nazca. The winds are less puke-bag-inducing in the morning – so we sign up for the first Cessna 182 overhead tour offered. And nothing I could have read, studied, surmised, pontificated, opined or imagined comes close to the mystery of these ancient etchings. I recognize the monkey and whale only because I know to call them that – but in truth these markings look like intentional erasings of earth that just happen to create patterns. Meaning? Not for us mere mortals to know for certain – though personally I like the Erich von Daniken theory attributing them to visitors from outer space.
Which is what I feel like as we begin the drive up from sea-level Nazca on our way to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. We ascend 14,261 feet in a matter of hours, and a lunch break watching altiplano flamingoes sets off hallucinations I will never forget. You, however, can read about it if you buy the book – it’s one of my favorite chapters.
Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.