Ahhh… the big day… our flight over the Nazca Lines. Safety standards are said to be high for these flights, a co-pilot is required and they claim to have rigorous mechanical checks for the aircraft. Apparently this was not always the case but tourists bring in a lot of cash and the operators wouldn’t want to ruin things.
The lines and animal images were created by the Nazca people from 500BC to 500AD and are visible from nearby hills. They were created by scraping off about a foot of reddish pebbles to expose the yellowish-white lime beneath. Extremely arid conditions means there is no erosion and new figures — even whole new areas such as the nearby Palpa Lines — are occasionally discovered when the dust blows away. The Nazcas deforested the land to grow corn and cotton and this created the desert. A great flood ensued and this was the end of the Nazca culture. Newly irrigated land — watered with snow-melt from the Andes and fertilized with guano — looks extremely fertile.