Diary 16 (or Staring at mummies, carvings and walls!)6/10/2001 OK, quick reprise on Nazca. The last entry was a little dismissive, mainly due to it having been written just after coming back to town after the overflight, and the circumstances surrounding it being a crock of brown stuff. After being mucjed around for 4 hours by the agency, we fainally got airbourne and the lines really are impressive, though more for the scale of their concept and execution than any visual impact. Unfortunately their shape is rather lost on the desert floor and there is hardly time to recognise, let alone contemplate one figure before it is behind the aircraft and the next is being indicated. The rest of the tour went well though, off to a Nazca cemetery, with petrified mummies arranged in twelve open tombs in the desert, the surroundgin sands scattered with bones, pottery, cotton and massive pigtails from the buried nobility - these guys were the original rastermen. Quite unnerving, these were real people after all and they are scattered to the four winds. Back in town, a pottery factory was in full swing. Fascinatingly, after an initial sunbaking and application of the paint, there´s no glaze applied, the pots are polished with a rounded stone and the grease from the side of the nose. More lizards on my example to bring home. Finally a demonstration of the mineral mining that employs 1/4 of Nazca´s population, complete with the practical mini-examples of the extraction of gold by panning and using mercury to produce amalgam. The night bus is due to leave at 11, but we don´t get underway until 1am - what is it with Peruvians and buses?Tuesday starts well in Arequipa with bright morning sunshine. Check-in is swiftly completed, followed by a quick hike out to the suburb of Yanahuara where a series of engraved arches form the mirador, looking out towards El Misti, one of the dormant volcanoes that surround the bustling city. The mirador backs onto a lovely quiet plaza with tall palm trees, perfect to try and wind down after the stresses of overnight travel. Near the Plaza de Armes in the centre of town is the Museo Sanctuarios Andinos, home to "Juanita, the Ice Princess". Juanita and 3 other Inca children were sacrificed and buried on a nearby summit and recovered in near-perfect condition from the -20 degC conditions in 1996. Their clothing and burial goods look almost brandnew, including hauntingly lifelike dolls dressed in the same fashion as the children when they were killed. The final exhibit, Juanita herself, bears silent testimony to the brutality of the Inca´s religion, the 3 clear marks on her forehead where she was struck and killed by a priest´s mace. The cathedral on the Plaza was badly damaged earlier this year by an earthquake. The photo that one fo the shoeshine boys flogs me is remarkably clear considering the obvious predicament of the photographer. Finally, the "Deja Vu" bar will become a regular haunt, just time to name-check Alexi and Pedro - keep plugging those movies and free Cuba Libres.Sleepy people spend all day in bed and only emerge at 5pm. All those night buses catching up with me!Thursday, a day for action and it´s up early for a bus to Corire, 3 hours away to the west, Jumping off just before the village its a trek westwards across the flat fertile valley floor to the desert hills rising in the distance. These are home to the Toro Muerto petroglyphs and after another 40 minutes in the desert it seems it might have been a wasted journey. I´ve found the elusive first "parasol" but there´s no sign of the petroglyphs: only desert and broken rocks as far as the eye can see. Petroglyphs = carved rocks you see and I soon realise my mistake: instead of the topiary garden rendered in stone that I was expecting, the flat faces of the "broken" rocks are carved with the unmistakeable signs of pre-columbian water worship. The carvings date from the Wari era, upto 1700 years ago and show men, warriors and priests, birds, jaguars, llamas, geometric designs and the characteristic zigzag lines of running water. There are tens of thousands of rocks on the desert, over 2000 of which bear carvings from simple isolated pieces to huge friezes over 5m tall. I can´t pretend to have seen them all, but after five hours in the desert my water had run out and the last bus home called. This is a major highlight of my trip so far; just me, the desert, baking sun and the constant discovery of new carvings. And I thought I was tired yesterday!Right, some of you may have noticed that time is getting a little short, so I eschew the delights of Colca Canyon and the Cruz del Condor and book onto the nightbus to Cuzco, ancient capital of the Incan Empire. Just time this afternoon after a late lunch to fire off the CV to a few agencies that don´t know there´s a talented infrastructure engineer looking for a job shortly.And that was, without doubt, the worst bus journey I have ever undertaken. You know how a car vibrates when it crosses railtracks at a level crossing? Multiply the amplitude by 5 and then extend for 13 and a half hours. My bum feels like I picked up the soap in a Peruvian prison shower. A cold shower. The shower at the hostal is scalding hot though and re-invigorated it´s time to find out what Cuzco has to offer. First stop, after an obligatory sitdown in the Plaza de Armes is the Inca walls: I´ve been dying to see these and their precise mortarless construction really is impressive. One street is flanked by original walls on both sides, the stones are almost regular, their slight trapeziod shapes meshing with their neighbours. Sections reassembled more recently look distinctly amatuerish in comparison. The style of these temple walls is contrasted by another used in fortifications nearby. Not only are these defensive walls hewn from much larger rocks, but are completely irregular. One has 12 sides, others are curved and around the corner 26 stones conspire to present a puma in profile. Time to get my Boleto Turistico and brekkie on the Plaza. There is loads to do in Cuzco, it is the most visited city in Peru after all. First the Museo de Historio Regional with some interesting exhibits, especially another Nazca Mummy and pottery. Over the square to the Museo Palacio Municipal where modern photography is exhibited. I´m more interested in the photos of the 1950´s earthquake that show just how well the Inca walls survived in comparison to their modern day counterparts, and the fountain, but unfortunately that´s dry. Up a series of staircases to the Church of San Christobal where the caretaker lets me up the bell tower for a bird´s eye view of the centre of town. Then another steep climb up an old Inca road leads to Sacsayhuamán, Inca ruins that dominate Cuzco from the north. Cuzco was designed in the shape of a puma, and the defensive zigzag walls of Sacsayhuamán form its teeth. I honestly can´t stop staring at these walls, some of the stones here weigh over 300 tonnes yet interlock perfectly. One more stop before lunch at the foot of the white statue of St Francis del Asis, staring wide-eyed out across Cuzco to the hills beyond. Following lunch it´s the Convento de Santa Catalina, built on the ruins of the prime Inca temple. The Dominicans here preserved the ruins within the convent´s quadrangle, contrast and compare with the near total religious and cultural destruction enacted on the Mayan´s by the Franciscan monks in Mexico. Last stop is the Museo Arqueolgia Q´orikancha before heading back to the Plaza where the sun finally breaks through the cloud to illuminate the Jesuit church and the city´s cathedral. You could call that a busy day! Peruvian style: 3 craftsmen idling in a backyard.  Or hair in grandfather´s case - apparently!  plus 1/4 in agriculture and the remaining 50% work in tourism.  Rum and cokes.  Thanks for the recommendation Omer.  The site gets 7 or 8 visitors a week, normally in one group. I came as a bit of a suprise to the custodian.  Big hole in the ground. Big birds ;-)  or any other form of transport  Parts of the route were above 4000m - damn chilly at 3am!  Well they do once a little kid flogs me a photocopied sketch of the stones in question.  pronounced like "sexy woman".  I started really early this morning!  Just using up this combo-ticket.