Hi Everyone …

Today we are in Manta, Ecuador – again.  I have already been here before, but it is fun and I like it.  We started the day by taking the ship’s shuttle bus to the Plaza Civica where they have a craft market.  This is always fun because there is so much to look at and so many people to talk to.  I don’t speak Spanish, but I seem to be able to talk to most of these people anyway.

Hats for Sale

We went first to look at hats – this time GD even let me try one or two on, but the Panama Hats (made in Ecuador but people wear them in Panama, as I said in my last letter) are all too big for my seven year old head.  One stall we went to, a lady was actually making a hat.  None of the people here are very big – they are not much taller than I am, but they are grown up.  The lady makes the hats by leaning over a mold and weaving the straw together.

Making Panama Hats copy

She is all hunched over from working like that every day.  It made me want to stand up very straight, just because I can.  GD bought a hat and she bought a shirt for her and a sweater for me.  I got to pick out the color and everything.  It is blue with Llamas on it – and it is very soft, so it feels really nice when I wear it.  The ship is cold at night, so I will be able to wear it right away …  I can’t wait!

Just so you know, Manta is the Tuna capital of the world – at least that is what the guide said.  She said that lots of big companies catch their tuna fish down here and one of them is Starkist.  Starkist makes really good tuna fish. Since this is the tuna capital, right outside the port is a fountain with tuna fish in it and closer to the Plaza Civica there is a huge tuna on a pole.

Tuna Fountain CloseFlying Tuna

When we walked to the beach for lunch, GD took pictures of both of them – and also of the really cool street art.  They have whole walls painted with people and things.  I really liked that.  While we were walking down the street, I even saw a man get on a bus in the middle of the street and the bus didn’t even stop.

Boarding the Bus

It was pretty cool and I thought I would like to do that, but GD said she didn’t think so.  How does she know what I would like to do??  Then we saw two policemen just walking down the street.  The policemen wear yellow vests in Manta.

 Manta Police

Finally, we got to the beach to look for a place to eat lunch.  After GW looked at ALL the menus, for all the restaurants, he chose one called Ohmar – because it had the best pictures in the menu, which is in Spanish.

Restaurant Row at the Beach

Well, GD ordered Paella (I had that in Barcelo

na last year … it is yellow rice (GD – Saffron) with lots of fish and peas, but this one had baby lobsters on top.  It was pretty good.  GW had shrimp in garlic sauce and I didn’t like the shrimp all that much but the sauce and the fried bananas were really, really good!  We sat right next to the edge of the restaurant, so we could see everyone who walked past and we could see the beach too.

View from Lunch Lunchtime Seranade

Two men with guitars came and played a song for us while we ate and several other men came with stuff they were trying to sell.  GD and GW wouldn’t even let me look at the stuff because they said they were not going to buy it. When we finished lunch, we took a taxi back to the Plaza Civica so we could take the shuttle back to the ship.  GW went back to the ship right wasy, but GD and I went back one more time to the market because she wanted to get a sweater for her.  I went too, so I could look at all the cool stuff some more. When we finally got on the shuttle, my friend Captain Jonathan got on with us.  He came into town to take some photos.  He has not gotten off the ship in Manta before, so he came today.  GD also took a really cool photo of some of the street art that was everywhere.  I like this photo because GW and I are in it!


Late tonight we will sail from here … after everyone else gets back from their long trips.  Two days from now we will be in Lima, in Peru.  I get to stay in a hotel for a night and we are going to my favorite restaurant, La Rosa Nautica, which is out, on stilts, over the ocean.  We are going to have a party, so it will be fun.  I will write more from Lima.


Loads of Love,  Flat Stanley