56 miles south of the equator. First sight through my binoculars in Manta, Ecuador, is unexpected.
Nor seeing tuna boats so large they carry helicopters.
Poor tuna don't stand a chance. Still, at home, I cheerfully toss a can of tuna into my superb, secret, bachelor rice dish.
While others swarm ashore to inspect edifying museums and buy expensive Panama hats (which actually come from here and not Panama), I wander into town and along the beach on my own.
Locals are friendly ...
... and, after coffee at a sidewalk café, I inspect the local electricity supply ...
... wander through the Plaza Civica ...
... and survey the renovation of Manta's handsome Casa Rosada.
Next stop, Salaverry. First impression is of a Peruvian naval vessel ...
... on the far side of a bulker unloading chicken feed.
Either the crew's bowing to the captain or they're doing physical jerks.
Highlight near Salaverry is the monumental Moche Temple of the Moon dating from 200 to 850 A.D. This rather bad series of shots (the light isn't cooperative) suggests the size of a wall, part of an enormous complex. Further evidence of my South American ignorance as I'd known nothing about it.
The gentleman (all Minerva passengers are, of course, presumed to be gentlemen or, for that matter, ladies) at the bottom left provides scale.
The Peruvians have sensitively unearthed and preserved a national treasure. These carvings represent victorious warriors.
This is Aiapaec, god of the mountains, not averse to human sacrifice.
Nearby, in Trujillo, is a house Bolívar stayed in. Rather like places where George Washington supposedly slept, it's difficult in much of South America to encounter a village/town/city through which Bolívar didn't pass.
Reminds me I must get persevere with that biography. Too much time eating and idly staring at the waves.
The cheerfully painted Basílica Mayor, destroyed by an earthquake in 1759, was restored in the late Eighteenth Century.
Here's Callao, port of Lima, in the Nineteenth Century ...
... and now.
I hadn't realized Machu Picchu is so close. I've even seen a condor.
Won't bore you with too many pictures of Lima.
This is the San Francisco church and monastery...
... in front of which children find chasing pigeons irresistible.
Slow day for a Lima shoeshiner and lottery ticket seller.