January 29, 2023
Yesterday, I was tied with another player in the blackjack tournament, so we chose to split the prize vs playing one more hand for first and second place.
Here is a picture of our wonderful casino team – we have a lot of fun at the tournaments and just having a nice time with other players and the dealers.
We had the second Oceania Club cocktail party and this time we had a song from two singers from our entertainment team, Abby Davis and Robbie McCartney. Here’s Abby’s picture. There are currently 578 passengers on board and most of them are returning guests.
We had a delicious dinner in Polo and then went to the show which was a wonderful flutist, Viviana Guzman.
It does feel great to be able to be out of quarantine and to take advantage of all the fun.
Today, we were supposed to arrive in port at 5 AM but it ended up being more like 6 AM. Some of the passengers were headed off the ship for a 2 day trip to the Galapagos.
When we looked outside, there was a large fishing boat unloading tons of tuna. This port is known as the tuna capital of the world. These huge nets would be lifted and drop the fish into the waiting container. Manta is the largest seaport in Ecuador.
Our tour today, with friends Erin and Mui and Sonia and Boris, was a coffee and beach tour. Our guide, Javier, picked us up a the port entrance. We aren’t allowed to walk on the pier here, so there is a bus that takes us to the entrance. Javier told us some things about Manta and Ecuador. The population of this city is 300,000. Their school year is May – February so they avoid the rainy season which is 6 months long but the worst rain is typically in March and April.
Ecuador uses the American dollar as their currency. They do have the driving restriction by the license number so many working people have 2 cars, one with each type of number so they can drive every day.
They get lots of whales in their season from June to October so sadly no whales for us to see today.
We drove to a much higher elevation through the rain forest where baby bamboo grows to full size within 3 – 4 months! We saw many of those bamboo plants.
What a nice day it was! There were showers predicted, but it never rained at all. We traveled in a van to a coffee farm run by Juan Delgado. He is originally from Puerto Rico and has previously lived in the US. He left because of the politics, he said.
We walked in the farm, and the noise of the howler monkeys in the distance was quite loud. They were too far away to see though.
Juan told us that the “cherries”, the outer coat of coffee beans, is quite sweet. There are red ones and yellow ones, and we were able to find some to taste. Yes, very sweet. He also grows some cacao, bananas, pineapples and many other smaller crops. He has a very nice building with swings, hammocks and decks with a view of the bamboo forests.
Ecuador has its elections next Sunday and we saw political posters everywhere.
We then went to the drying area and Juan showed us how the coffee is dried, raked and ground. Small batches are processed here but the bigger batches are done at a larger location. After our time at the farm, Juan took us to his home which is right on the beach and just a lovely location. He is a very philanthropic person and has donated money and time to the infrastructure of the area. We sat outside overlooking the beach and had his coffee.
The white structures on the beach are where there are turtle nests.
Juan has a chihuahua named “monkey” and the dog barely left his side. We visited Juan’s office where he has artifacts and gifts from all over the world.
After we said goodbye and gave a big thank you to Juan, we went for lunch at a beach front restaurant, Fish Cevicheria. Javier gave us great suggestions. Boris and I had viche which is a fish and shrimp soup with vegetables and peanut in the soup itself. It was delicious and unlike anything I have ever had. Norm had ceviche as did Sonia and Mui. Erin had the fish and shrimp tacos which would have been my second choice. All really great. Most had the local beer, Club.
We relaxed and then left to spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach. We had a nice hour there and the water was warm – nice.
On the way back to the ship we stopped at two groceries in search of their chocolate, but no luck. The ship had run out of bananas though so I bought two bananas, a mango and a container of this spice that Javier said is popular there and that I would love it. The total charge was $2.55!
We arrived back to the ship before half time to cheer for the Eagles.
Tomorrow we will be in Guayaquil Ecuador for 2 days. It wasn’t on the original itinerary but was added when Peru was taken off.
- Amazon River
- At Sea
- Central America
- Europe trip and river cruise
- North America
- South America
- South Pacific
- Spring Cruise 2022
- World Cruise #4
- World Cruise 1
- World Cruise 2
- World Cruise 3
I am so glad you are having a wonderful time.