Day 8...Cruise to South America...Part 1...Manta Ecuador


Photo of me wearing a Panamanian hat while in Manta, Ecuador.  Tom insisted I finally post a photo of me by myself as the main photo which I've never have done (not that we can recall).
"Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising"
Hazy day view of Manta, Ecuador.
Late yesterday morning we boarded the shuttle bus from the pier for a ride into Manta, Ecuador.  Once we were dropped off at the local park and shopping area, the sights, the smells and the sounds left us reeling with excitement and we decided we wouldn't take a taxi tour of the city. 
La Merced Catholic Church in Mnta, Ecuador.
The weather was perfect and after a week on the ship, the outdoor air was refreshing and invigorating.  Plus, everything we wanted to see was within walking distance around us.  Here's some information about Manta below:
Hat making in Manta at the flea market.
From this website:
"Manta is a mid-sized city in Manabí Province, Ecuador. It is the second most populous city in the province, the fifth most populous in the country. Manta has existed since Pre-Columbian times. It was a trading post for the Mantas.
A vendor with bicycle cart selling beverages.
According to the 2001 census, the city had 192,322 inhabitants. Its main economic activity is tuna fishing. Other economic activities include tourism and a chemical industry with products from cleaning supplies to oils and margarine.
The Panamanian hat is a popular tourist purchase in Ecuador.
Manta possesses the largest seaport in Ecuador. The port was used by Charles Marie de La Condamine upon his arrival in Ecuador when leading the French mission to measure the location of the equator in 1735. From Manta, Condamine started his trip inland towards Quito.
Farmacias in Manta, Ecuador.
Manta has an international airport, Eloy Alfaro International Airport with passenger airline service, and an important military base (known as Manta Air Base or Eloy Alfaro Air Base).
View of the market in Manta.
Between 1999-2009 Manta Air Base was used by U.S. air forces to support anti-narcotics military operations and surveillance flights against Colombian drug trafficking cartels. The lease was not renewed by the Ecuadorean government.
Manta has recognized thanks to its international film festival featuring groups from different places in the world. The Ecuadorian actor Carlos Valencia, once invited to Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Ratas Ratones y Rateros (1999) directed by Sebastián Cordero, who was born in the capital city of Quito."
Colorful handmade jewelry for sale at the market.
I was practically squealing with delight as we wandered about the vibrant city so full of life and energy it was intoxicating.  Although there was an endless number of vendors pushing us to make a purchase of a variety of pointless trinkets, we politely made our way through the crowds, having a great time.
An iguana, among dozens, hanging out in the park.
From time to time, we ran into passengers we've met who were on an equally enjoyable outing in this quaint oceanside town.  It couldn't have been a more perfect day.
A variety of trinkets may appeal to the tourists.
Knowing we had to be back at the ship by 2:00 pm to sail away, we stayed focused on photo taking which we'll share today and again in tomorrow's post.  We had no idea we'd encounter dozens of iguanas in the central city park, easily finding ourselves entrenched in taking their photos.
Colorful scarves for sale in the market.
The iguanas seemed to pose for us.  They appeared relaxed and at ease in the presence of humans in the busy park, exhibiting perfect poses and a willingness to cooperate with tourists, like us, hungry to include their photos in our repertoire of unusual animal shots.
This vendor was selling the white rabbits in the cage and the two white puppies that tugged at our heartstrings.
We continued on our walk through the town, stopping from time to chat to chat with other cruise passengers and admire the crafts of locals.  At the craft fair/open market, I purchased a white "senorita-type" dress and shawl for tonight's "evening chic" attire aboard the ship.
An ice cream man with a cart.
Both the dress and handmade shawl/scarf were a total of US $27 after a bit of negotiation.  I haven't owned a dress in the past four out of five years and I was thrilled to have the festive ensemble which most likely I'll wear again on my special birthday, upcoming in Marloth Park on February 20th.
A man peeling oranges to sell.
We rarely purchase anything at these tourist shopping sites but when I saw the dress hanging in a little shop, I couldn't resist.  It's sleeveless so I purchased the shawl to keep me warm in the evening.  They keep the AC awfully cold and I'm  generally shivering while indoors.  Even outdoors, it's been cool since we left Fort Lauderdale a week ago today.
Iguana climbing a tree in the central park in Manta.
It's hard to believe a week has already passed since we sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We're having such a great time meeting new people while passing out hundreds of our business cards and subsequently adding new readers to our site. 
Iguana posing for a shot.
Sharing our story with readers worldwide means the world to us.  Thank you for being on this journey with us!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2016:
One year ago today, huge Colony Club was also packed for our second presentation aboard the ship.  For more details, please click here.

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