First, I want to apologize to everyone for not writing earlier but it was impossible to get to the computer room. Will was teaching classes, and they were packed. Then we had 2 shore days (days we are in port), one after another, and then the computer room is closed for the day. And now Will is telling me that the IT guy is complaining that the room takes up too much bandwidth (which means too many computers online at the same time), so I think I will have to start condensing my blog by not writing everyday but every couple of days. I will still do a “day by day” blog, just post it all at once. Hope that doesn’t inconvenience anyone, but at 75cents per minute, there’s no way I am going to spend that kind of money for internet when I can spend it on yarn!!!!
So here it goes!
Day 7 – Manta, Ecuador
Manta is a small seaside town that is devoted to fishing for tuna. Actually, Manta is the tuna capital of the world !
As we arrived in port, across the way these huge fishing vessels were unloading flash frozen tunas into huge tractor trailers. When we left, they were still unloading ! Who knew there were so many fish in the sea! ? ! ! LOL – silly me !
The ship arranged a shuttle service for us into town. We arrived near the craft market but decided to check out the fish market first (we were never at the fish market), so off we went with another couple.
The fish market is directly on the beach so that the smaller fishermen can come ashore and sell directly.
I thought this was hilarious and had to take a photo… “OH NO ! ! We’re in trouble now ! ! ! ! ! Shoulda kept our mouths shut ! !”
Right next to the fish market they actually build ships! All made out of wood, beautiful workmanship ! !
The smell of wood glue and tuna, what a mix ! ! !
Walking on the beach among all the fishermen, we had our first sighting of a pelican.
Along the side of the fish market is a row of restaurants serving….. FISH ! ! You guessed it ! You win a prize! ! They all have thatched roofs and are made out of bamboo! We did not stop for lunch!
On to the Crafts Market ! ! ! What everyone is waiting to see !
Another thing Manta is famous for is PANAMA HATS. Just outside the city is a town called Montichristi, where the REAL Panama Hats are made. Panama Hats come in many different qualities, and their pricing ranges from $25 into the many hundreds of dollars. You can tell a good Panama Hat by holding it up to the light, and if you can’t see any light through it, it’s of higher quality – plus, if you can roll it and store it in the long narrow box it comes in, it is very fine. The very best Panama hats, that can run you several thousand dollars, can be pulled through a wedding ring!
The process for making Panama Hats can be excruciatingly long. The finest and most expensive Panama Hats, which are made by hand, can take 6 to 8 months of work PER HAT to complete and will have weaves in excess of 1000 woven stitches per sq. inch. The best hats, if you pour water into them, will hold it all, even though the hats are made of straw.
My next Halloween costume! ! ! Or Purim ! ! !
We purchased a couple of Alpaca scarves and a poncho for Orly (Kal’s adorable DIL) from this woman, who was dressed in native Ecuadorian clothes.
These woolen sweaters go for about $25 before bargaining… They are 100% wool! The scarves you see above go for about $5 a piece if you aren’t a good bargainer!!! We got an alpaca poncho, 3 alpaca scarves and 2 cotton shawls for $28.
The fruit you see below is the strangest fruit, called TAGUA, but the Tagua nut that is inside can be sculptured into figurines and jewelry and painted! Locals call the Tagua nut “vegetable ivory” ! You can also see some sculptured pieces and Tagua jewelry in the photo.
You might want to get a look at what granny squares are in Ecuador. Leather and crochet ! !
There was a booth that showed you what chocolate looks like in its raw form. There is a chocolate farm not too far from Manta. We tasted the white stuff around the cocoa bean. It was sweet – they make that into a drink, even though it doesn’t taste like the chocolate we know!!
That was our day in Manta in pix!!!!