I spent a couple days in Nazca, Peru trying to get spares for my bike. It´s a touristy place, but not nearly as oppressive as Cusco. The first thing I did was take a plane ride to see the Nazca Lines.
The following is from Wikipedia:
The Nazca Lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches 53 miles or more than 80 kilometers between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. They were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fishes, sharks, llamas and lizards.
The Nazca lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air. Since it is presumed the Nazca people could never have seen their work from this vantage point, there has been much speculation on the builders’ abilities and motivations.
Here are a couple pix. The road is the Pan-American Highway. This glyph is either a pair of hands or a deformed frog, take your pick.
After the Lines, I found out that near Nazca is Cerro Blanco. At 2078 meters (6800 feet), it is the highest sand dune in the world, which made it perfect for sandboarding. I knew practically nothing about sandboarding, which is simply snowboarding on sand, but it sounded crazy enough that I had to do it. I was a bit nervous as I had almost broken my collarbone snowboarding in Colorado a couple years ago. But the allure was irresistible.
So I got a guide and we hiked about 5 miles up to the top of Cerro Blanco. It was very peaceful on the way up.
My guide Ricky carrying the boards:
Here I am on way down. It was thrilling, and I did not break my neck. I did fall on my head once but, to quote Claude Rains, “that is my least vulnerable spot.” I was filthy when I got back, with sand in every nook and cranny. But it was great fun. I recommend it over snowboarding: it´s warmer.
As for my poor bike, in the end I was unable to find any spare parts, so I was forced to take a bus to Lima, which, as a major metropolis, I was sure would have a plethora of bike shops filled with spare parts and eager sales people waiting to help me. Boy was I wrong.