Thursday, September 20, 2018

What tourists don't want to see abroad

I've battled storms singlehandedly round South America's southernmost cape, Cape Horn, and visited ports on its Atlantic coast. Sadly, opportunity didn't let me visit places on the subcontinent's west coast.
When good friend Bankim announced that he is off to Peru tomorrow (Friday), what envy swamped me. Peru! Lucky, lucky fellow.
Not so long ago, or so it seems, if you wanted to get a glimpse of life in foreign shores, the favourite place - the likeliest way - was to attend colour slide evenings, often hosted by a Rotary Club or Jaycees or church groups - 'please bring a plate'.
It's very different these days. Just visit Google Maps and click through oodles of shots taken by amateur photographers.

Looking for the delights

And when I went to find what delights would be seen in Lima, Bankim's first port of call, I found a considerable assortment of photos, naturally, as that's what Google offers right beside its maps.
The pix seem to come from ordinary folk - if I might use the term - who have been lucky enough to visit foreign shores. I struggle to recall any of Peru's history, but there was a strong Spanish influence, I believe, so a trace of Hispanic blood might show in the locals.
Yet here was the strangest discovery. Google Maps offers plenty of amateur shots of Lima buildings, markets, streets, and a fellow traveller or two.
But try to see a local, to see what they look like, and you'll be struggling. And yet, believe it or not, Lima has 8.8 million residents.
The faces and shapes of the few locals to be seen did seem to reflect a mixed background, and a few were fashioned by Nature with an attractive Spanish look.
There are two reasons why the sight of so many very empty streets surprised me. Well, three considering the massive population. The first was my own desire, my curiosity. The people who live in various parts of the world never fail to attract and fascinate me.

The second surprise

The second surprise seemed to be that the visitors behind the cameras were not only not interested in the local population, they seemed to have been purposely excluded from their view-finders.
It's really very strange - or seems that way to this fellow who contradictorily sailed hundreds of ocean miles alone - because if you note the action of other dwellers of this planet, nothing - absolutely nothing - attracts them like a member of their own species.
It is certainly true with ocean dwellers I saw so often at sea. However, proof is here. Look out of your home window and what fascinates cats and dogs the most. It's each other. Watch foxes at dusk. Nothing half so fascinates them as another fox.
And it's so with birds of the same breed and animals in the wild. … Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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