Manta, Ecuador

South America
January 27th 2011
Published: January 27th 2011
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Tuesday Jan 25, 2011
Manta, Ecuador
A dirty Industrial port, Manta is not very appealing. It used to be the largest area for tuna fishing in the world. The factories are still running, but at a reduced rate. Over fishing and changing ocean currents have decimated the tuna population. We heard from the cruise ship personnel before we landed that it was not a good place to walk around and that we needed to take the arranged tours to be safe. Other passengers that have been here before disputed that and said it was not that bad. In the picture you see workers unloading tuna fish that have been frozen offshore and brought in to be processed in the factory. Tuna boats definitely dominated the port and there were very few yachts or pleasure boats. Jane was feeling a bit xenophobic as we walked along the waterfront as it was dirty, grimy and filled with some pretty rough looking characters. The people seemed guarded and there were only a few hawkers that came up to us to try and sell us something or offer their services. We continued walking north along the shore and as we got further into the town and away from the smelly Port the people got friendlier and the area was a little less dirty (just a little). We came to a beach Pavilion and a cute, little restaurant with no other customers. I ordered a local beer and Jane had a Coke. The beer was huge, a 22oz bottle and the total bill was $1.50. At least something was good. We went to the local shopping area and we were definitely the only tourists there. Jane tried on some leather athletic style shoes that were only $23.00. But they did not fit well and they had no other sizes- a very limited inventory in these shops. All of the nicer stores had private security guards at the door, carrying weapons and looking you over as you came in. We went into a Walgreens kind of place and found some items we had been looking for at really good prices. Then, at the pharmacy counter they had a translation computer where you typed in what you were looking for, in our case plain decongestant without anything else, and it told the pharmacist what you needed in Spanish, very cool.
As we walked back to the ship Jane was more relaxed and things seemed much less scary, although it was still not very clean. It is very easy to forget how the rest of the world lives when you spend all of your time in the suburbs.

Thursday Jan 27, 2011
Pacific Ocean: Latitude 4 Degrees 22 minutes South- Longitude 81 degrees 10 minutes West

We have been at sea a couple of days now and should arrive in Lima, Peru in the morning. Our days are filled with many activities and lots of exercise. In fact, exercise seems to be one of the main ways that most people on the ship spent their idle time. The walking track is constantly filled with some really old people who are walking at a very fast pace. When I get out there I have to watch out that I am not blocking someone or holding up the flow of the “circle of death”, because you will simply be trampled and kicked to the side. Jane has been going to classes like “long and lean stretch” and “total body conditioning” a couple of times a day and she is the youngest person there. These people are serious about holding off the grim reaper as long as possible. They are not nearly as serious about the usual cruise ship activities like mass consumption of alcohol and partying all night. In fact, the only time I have seen anyone drinking alcohol was when it was free at the Captains welcome party.


27th January 2011

You need your own personal guide & translator!
It's too bad the cruise line chose Manta as a port of call. Ecuador's charm and beauty lie in the mountain cities. In Lima, you'll want to head to the neighborhood called MIRAFLORES. It's a nice area, and there you will find MERCADOS (markets) and TIENDAS (stores) specializing in: * ANTIGÜEDADES (antique) * ALHAJAS (jewelry) or JOYAS (jewels) * ARTESANÍA (folkart/handicrafts) That's also a good place to try a seafood restaurant. Both PUNTO AZUL and LA RED are good choices. * MARISCOS (seafood) * PESCADO (fish) * CEVICHE To have a drink or light meal with a big side of history, go to CAFE HAITI which has been in business for 50 yrs. It's on a major street called DIAGONAL right by the PARQUE KENNEDY. Wish I were with you!! What's next after Lima?
27th January 2011

Thanks for the laugh!
Michael, your dry wit has me just rolling in laughter here! I'm really enjoying your blog...I don't watch TV, and this is just great entertainment for me! I'm surprised they stop at Manta, since it's so dreary - guess they want you to see how the other half lives - it sure makes the travel blog interesting!
31st January 2011

Kate's recommendations
Kate, we have a great time in Lima and did go to the Miraflores District. Great shopping in the local indian markets and good food at a local cafe. Thanks for the tips.

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