Notes of a traveller

Alan Dodds – photographer (among other things)

Notes of a traveller

Equador and Peru – Along the desert coast

Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Manta, Equador

At around midnight, we slip quietly across the equator and back into the southern hemisphere. We are at last approaching South America proper. Our first stop is the port of Manta on the desert coast of Equador. Along this part of the coast of both Equador and Peru, there is very little rainfall and the desert comes right down to the ocean. If it weren’t for the underground aquifers, it would be difficult to live here.

There is a cold current running up this coast of South America. This has two results; first the crill that come up in this current provide the basis for the extensive fishing industry and second, the daytime temperatures are much lower than we expect just south of the equator where the sun is hidden by the coastal cloud.

Above all else, Manta is a fishing port. Fishing is a major export for this country and the harbour is full of large fishing vessels. On the opposite side of the pier a fishing vessel is waiting to unload and the crew watch us docking before they start unloading their catch.

It is Sunday and we expect most places to be closed.

Fishing vessel in Manta Equador

Waiting to unload their catch – I wonder what they think of us.
Refueling ship in Manta Equador.

Outside our window is the refuelling ship providing fuel for the next part of the voyage. Just the thing if you like pipes and valves!
Harbour in Manta, Equador

The harbour is full of fishing vessels. Locals take sunday boat rides.
Manta, Equador

This sign is a favourite spot for photos.
Boats beached in Manta Equador

No need for a dry dock – just wait for the tide to go down and get to work.
Iguana in Manta, Equador

In the trees above the market, iguanas laze away the day.

It seems that the Market comes out on a Sunday. Manta doesn’t see many cruise ships, so this if definitely for the locals. The stalls are filled with high quality arts and crafts including, of course, the Panama Hat, for which Equador is famous.

Sunday Market in Manta, Equador

Jacqui surveys the high quality arts and crafts for sale. 7th heaven!
Market stall in Manta, Equador

This jewellery maker is dressed for the part.
Fish monument in Manta, Equador

Yellow fin tuna grace this fountain rather than the usual naked women.
Loading the fishing nets in Manta, Equador

These are seriously large fishing nets being loaded from this truck.
Frigate bird in Manta, Equador

I think this is a frigate bird, one of thousands of birds waiting for fish to come their way
Fishing vessel in Manta, Equador

There are lots of these modern trawlers working out of Manta.

Salaverry, Peru

We arrive in Peru in the port of Salaverry, the main entry for the city of Trujillo. Feeling we ought to see at least one of the ancient sites, we decide to take a tour to see the Chimu city of Chan Chan. The Chimu people predate both the better known Mayan and Inca peoples and here on the coast they built a city with a population of 100,000 almost entirely from sun dried mud bricks. The archeological site is enormous but much of the city has already been built over in the race to house the ever increasing population. The Chimu were people of the sea and Pelicans and Anchovies feature largely in their decorations.

Surprisingly, the fact that they used adobe as their main building material is the main reason that as much of the site still survives. It provided resilience when the many earthquakes that occur in the area made themselves felt.

Chan Chan near Trujillo, Peru

This was the administrative centre of Chan Chan
Site workers, Chan Chan, Trujillo, Peru

This was the night of the Peru vs Columbia soccer decider for the World Cup. The site workers make it clear which side they are on!
Pelican decorations in Chan Chan Trujillo, Peru

Pelicans loom large in their decorations.
Reed boats in Salaverry, near Trujillo, Peru

Down on the beach, reed boats provide transport for the more modest fishermen.
Reed boats in Salaverry, near Trujillo, Peru

They claim this is an early surfboard. Surfing is very popular along the coast of Peru. The pelicans look different here – very hansom.
The desert coast of Salaverry, Peru.

As we leave, we can see the desert nature of the landscape. We are told that there have recently been heavy rains due to El Nino … an unusual event which also affects us on the east coast of Australia.

The port of Callao and a visit to Lima

Callao (pronounced Kayo) is the gateway to Lima, the capital city of Peru with a population of more than ten million people. We will be here for two days and on each day choose to take a shuttle into town. On the first day we go to “downtown” Lima and the second to Mille Flores, the up market area on the coast.

Once again, it is cool (around 17 centigrade) and cloudy.

The cathedral in the main square of Lima Peru

In the main square in the centre of Lima, a horse drawn carriage awaits patrons along side the Hop on, Hop off bus ticket office. Lima cathedral is in the background
The cathedral door in  Lima Peru

A not very welcoming entrance to the cathedral. The cathedral has now become a fund raiser, charging an entrance fee. Not sure what I feel about that.

We stroll down Jr de la Union, the pedestrian mall that connects the two main squares. Full of shops and a mish mash of architecture that varies from building to building.

Jr de la Union in Lima Peru

Nothing consistant about the buildings here!
Jr de la Union in Lima Peru

In the middle of Jr de la Union, this fairy castle, it’s enormous door firmly barred against intruders.
Shops on the Jr de la Union in Lima Peru

Shoe shops seem to be a big thing here.
Busker in Lima Peru

This guy looks a bit strung up!
Sign in Lima Peru

No … it means don’t TREAD on the grass!
Jr de la Union Lima Peru

Still some work to be done …

We were warned not to wander out of the main areas of the city and to watch out for muggers. Apparently, there have been a number of cases of tourists being robbed. This is reflected in the high police and military presence everywhere.

Police in Lima Peru

Watching out for trouble … automatic weapons, riot shields and all.
Shoe shop in Lima Peru

As I say … shoes seem to be big in Lima. Don’t you love the colours!
Police dog in Lima Peru

Now that is a muzzle!
Jewelry in Lima Peru

Incas in silver and gold
Sculpture in Lima Peru

Lots of these scenes in display cases.

The coastal district of Mille Flores is the up market area of Lima with wide streets, parks and sculptures on the coastal walk.

Students in Lima Peru

I was interviewed by these students as part of a school project.
Sculpture in Mille Flores Lima Peru

Love heart do you think?
Coast in Mille Flores Lima Peru

This is where surfing started in Peru.
Love park, Mille Flores Lima Peru

An embrace in the Love Park in Mille Flores
Love park, Mille Flores Lima Peru

A mosaic wall surrounds the Love park overlooking the ocean
The indian market in Love park, Mille Flores Lima Peru

Lots of things to buy in the Indian Market in Mille Flores
Casino in Lima Peru

Last but not least … here come the casinos!

One thing has been very striking as we visit these cities in central and south america. There is always a “tourist” or “cultural” or “colonial” area that tourists and travellers are funnelled to.

While we are being funnelled, however, the increasing homogenisation of cultures becomes obvious. We travel in luxury coaches … even the local buses are comfortable … down wide roads filled with cars, trucks, buses and traffic jams. It takes an hour from the edge of the city to reach the centre and the bit you have come to see. Along the way the buildings look the same everywhere, the clothes people wear are all the same and shopping seems to be the main activity. The skylines are of tall blocks of apartments, mobile phone towers, cranes on construction sites, industrial areas and every port has it’s container terminal. Huge shopping malls abound … no sign of bicycles or mules; carts or gardens here. We are all blurring into the same mould.

On that note, I will finish this missive. Next is Chile and the gateway to Santiago.


11 responses to “Equador and Peru – Along the desert coast”

  1. Irene Mews says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying your travels with wonderful photos and commentary. Jacquie is glowing. Did you buy Panama hats and those swanky shoes? The markets are so colourful and interesting and I loved the reed boats. They make a larger version, think viking style, on Lake Titicaca on the Uros Reed Islands. I was unaware that the desert went to the ocean along that northern coast. Fascinating. Enjoy your next part of your journey. Would love to catch up when you return..

  2. Jac-Aileen says:

    Fabulous blog, as always tks dearest. Loving the Chimu! Don’t the early Incas look a bit Egyptian-like?? Coloured Pellys – gorgeous – such a blessing to be ‘Sightseeing with the Dodds’ – comment on homogenisation is so true, globally, now….Another argument for retaining indigenous language n cultural practices ❤️🙏

  3. Sue says:

    Wonderful journey we are all having, thank you.

  4. Lynn Ayiotis says:

    Look forward to your next adventures. x

  5. Christina says:

    Oops got all the comments. How did that happen?.. Cheers and love again, Christina

  6. Christina says:

    I wrote a long comment. It disappeared…me and technology!
    So: fabulous pix, loved the little reed boats. The markets! Textiles and jewellery and hope you bought a pair of orange shoes!
    In Lima 1961 en route to London, and remember the Cathedral…no charge then.
    And appreciated your comment re. the homogenised world the West is creating. Sad.
    Cheers and love to you both, Christina

  7. Christina says:

    Woweeee, more like it, even without the donkeys and carts. The small reed boats really caught my eye…boats of this nature are still made by Anotiginal people in Oz, but I think mainly for exhibitions. And of course the fabric and jewellery…thought you ‘d look very groovy in orange shoes! Did you buy?
    Am so enjoying your journey while I sit in Gypsy at Little Bay nr.. Horrocks, WA.
    Was in Lima in 1961 on our, that’s Jenny & me, famous trip to the UK. And I remember the cathedral…no charge then.
    OK, looking forward to the next missive. Cheers and love to both, Chris

  8. Michael Bobrowicz says:

    Wow again, the pics of Chan Chan !

  9. Domi Cohen says:

    You reminded me of a tradition still alive today where, the crossing of the equator is a noisy, unruly affair on European boats. The “novices” are submitted to a bath to pay their tribute to Poseidon and his acolytes…
    This is such a privilege to travel along with you. El Niño has been gracing us as well. The frogs and the mozzies are on cloud 9 🙂

  10. regina synnot says:

    Those colorful markets are fantastic-no wonder,Jacqui can’t resist a look. Christmas shopping? Zoe would be in heaven at that jewellery stall.Sun’s out a bit,very glad. Keep well, you two xx

  11. Brian East says:

    Once again Alan you have captured the vibrant colours of the coastal region on your journey. We managed an inland trip a couple of years ago and concentrated on the wine regions but crossed the Andes twice. Santiago is a great bustling city and there is still an underground admiration for Allende! Stay safe and well

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