Note: this story is (mostly) fiction. But it could be a true story if you use your imagination a little.
The town of Nazca is like a desert. Barren rock everywhere, little vegetation, dusty, windy, and warm during the day.
But, it is here where you can see the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines are a series of carvings (more or less) in the ground that are between 30 m and 200 m in size. They are huge, and the only way to see them completely is from the air. They were made by the Nazca people around 2000 years ago. The drawings are interesting because there are many drawings of animals that are not native to the area, including the condor, the parrot and the monkey. Thus, the Nazca people must have traveled very far, at least a couple of hundred miles, in order to see these animals. They brought back stories of them and carved them out on the ground.
The Owl Man
Even today, the Nazca lines remain an archaeological wonder, and a bit of a mystery. We don’t know exactly what they are for, but researchers think that it was a form of nature worship as well as a calendar, similar to the zodiac. The Nazca used it to time the weather phenomenon El Niño. Obviously, water was very important to the Nazcas (seeing as how they live in a desert and all) and El Niño cycles could make a huge impact on the environment.
Anyhow, we got to the plane and I got into the front seat. The pilot did his walk around pre-flight inspection while I decided to fool around a bit. I slipped on the headset and did my impression of a pilot. I picked up the non-existent radio on my side and spoke into it: “Roger, roger, this Rogue Two requesting clearance for take-off!” I smiled to myself, and said “Stay on target! Almost there! Stay on target!” I was enjoying myself, saying a bunch of ridiculous things.
While I was sitting there speaking into the imaginary microphone, the pilot opened the door. “Okay, we need to take a different plane,” he announced. “This one is grounded.”
“What?” I asked. “Why?”
“Something is wrong with the propeller in the front. There are some major holes in it that have breached its integrity.” Well, I couldn’t argue with that. I certainly didn’t want to go up in a plane where the propeller suffered a problem with its integrity. But I was a little puzzled.
“Haven’t you flown this plane earlier today? We’re not your first flight of the day,” I pointed out. And we weren’t. Did he go up before and just not notice?
“Si, señor,” replied the pilot. “I went up about 40 minutes ago. At the time, the propeller was fine because I checked it twice. It must have happened after I landed. Perhaps some gust of wind tossed up a rock into it.” At this point I was getting a little suspicious. A gust of wind like that would have had to have been blowing at 100 miles/hour, and someone would have noticed that. I looked around but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The problem is that if anything was out of the ordinary, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it anyhow because I had no frame of reference in which to compare it to the normal.
We walked away from the damaged plane and I didn’t get a good look. We were on a schedule and I didn’t have time to fool around with this sort of thing. We just went to a new plane, we all got in (with me in the front seat, of course) and the pilot did his inspection. This time around, everything worked out fine. I went up in the plane and took a bunch of photos of the Nazca lines, some of which you can see in this post.
We landed and I exited the plane. To be honest with you, I wasn’t feeling too good. Sometimes people on planes like these will lose the contents of their stomach. I could understand why. There were hard banks to the left and to the right, as well as lots of going up and down. At first during the flight, I was like “This is really cool.” During the second half, I was thinking to myself “Man, my stomach is starting to protest. I think I want to go back down now.” Seriously, I don’t get sick on carnival rides or roller coasters or anything like that. This had me thinking about my woozy tummy.
After recovering on terra firma, we left the mini-airport. We had a bus that would leave later that night, but I couldn’t get out of my head that damaged propeller. I wished I had taken a closer look. Later on, a few days later, I would definitely wish I had take a closer look around before leaving the airport.