The plane shuddered as we landed in Lima this evening, not from any flaw in engineering but from the lovely Latin habit of applauding a captain and crew on touchdown. After five years away from Latin America - my first great love in the tropics - this applause caused me to reflect that when faced with someone else's culture, you can either titter and sneer at how unsophisticated it seems from your point of view (as most of us do most of the time) or look for the underlying thoughts of the people whose culture it is.
In the minds of most Latin people at the end of a twelve-hour flight, I suspect, are the thoughts: we're home, we're safe, we're on time, the crew has worked hard.
These seem like good causes for applause to me.
I arrived in the dark so I've yet to add any new vertebrates to my list. Tomorrow, though, I may manage a West Peruvian dove or a croaking ground-dove. Tune in again for more Peruvian marshtittery.