Trip to Manta to a highly rated cardiologist…On a new plan…

Once we arrived in Manta, there was considerable traffic.

I continue to write about my heart problems to be transparent with our lives of world travel and also to share the path we’ve chosen for those who may be experiencing similar issues. None of the information we share is suggestioning “what you should do.” Please see your medical professionals for your specific needs.

So here’s the story as it rolled out over the past few months. The day we arrived in Mirador San Jose, on October 24, the Afib started again. I didn’t experience it at all while we were on the Galapagos cruise or in Quito, even during the difficult days of seasickness on the cruise and during the four days of high altitude in Quito, at 9350 feet above sea level. I was grateful I had no problems at that time.

It’s easy to figure out what road signs are saying.

Once we got here and the Afib wouldn’t stop, I started taking the drug, Flecainide, that I’d been prescribed last April when I was in the hospital for three days, having many tests with no specific answers as to why I had Afib. Many times, I read that Afib doesn’t necessarily appear for any particular reason, making it difficult to treat and tolerate. We all want answers.

I only had enough pills for three months of Flecainide at one per day, which I’d only taken once after getting out of the hospital, which I stopped when I had awful side effects. I had one bad episode on the airplane from South Africa to Florida and never had another bout until I had a few events on the cruise to Norway. Those bouts resolved on their own after a few hours. Then, after the cruises, I never had a bout while we were in Nevada for nine nights, but then I had a few events in Minnesota during the month we were there.

A man walking with his horse or donkey carrying a load of supplies.

After reading that exercise can help Afib, I gradually increased my daily walking steps. After one week, I was in a constant state of Afb. The one Fleacainide a day wasn’t enough. I knew I needed to up the dose to two pills a day, 12 hours apart, per the suggestion of the cardiologists in South Africa. When I took the second dose 12 hours later, without any improvement, yesterday morning, I knew I needed to see a cardiologist.

Immediately, I got to work searching online for a five-star rated cardiologist and found in Manta Dr. Alfredo Zambrano. I called their office, but they spoke no English. When they saw my call coming in, to which I hung up when I couldn’t communicate with them, they immediately sent me a WhatsApp message, translated into English. My appointment was for 3:00 pm yesterday, only hours after our initial contact.

With a high poverty rate in Ecuador. The national poverty rate in Ecuador is estimated at 25% of the population, while the extreme poverty rate stands at 10.7%, with the highest incidence in rural areas. Many homes and buildings are distressed.

Of course, I was still in Afib when we arrived for the appointment. I had written down all my questions in Spanish using Google Translate and handed the doctor my phone to read the questions. One of his assistants spoke excellent English and translated for us.

He did a lengthy ultrasound and an ECG. My appointment lasted one hour. The bill was $100, which included the tests. A few years ago, I had a similar appointment to get checked out in the US, and the 15-minute appointment was US $480. Hmmm…

An old boat in a side yard.

Well, anyway, the doctor showed me on the ultrasound screen that I have a problem with my mitral valve, referred to as a regurgitating mitral valve, which medication can help at this point. It’s what is causing the Afib. He prescribed three new drugs and had me stop taking my current blood pressure and Afiib drugs. I started the new drugs yesterday on our way back to San Jose.

These drugs all have side effects, some more than others. By the time I went to bed at about 10:30 pm, I had taken all three drugs, spaced out for specific times as prescribed, and never taken all at once. One by one, as I took the drugs, within about 45 minutes, I began to feel the side effects. After taking a second dose, it’s taken until this morning for the Afib symptoms to stop.

A typical shop on the side of the road.

Yes, I feel drained and exhausted, but the doctor said I can start walking again once I’m feeling better. It may take weeks to adjust to the meds, but I am not giving up. This is my life, and I will do whatever it takes to get through this. Down the road, I may need surgery, but he said not right now. Thank goodness.

After the pharmacy, we began the one-hour drive back, heading directly to the restaurant for dinner at Kokomo in the gated community. We hadn’t prepared anything for dinner. It was busy, and we had an opportunity to chat with some locals. I wasn’t myself, but I did my best to smile and be cheerful. We didn’t stay long. I was anxious to get back to the house to put on my pajamas and relax for the rest of the night while I waited for the drugs to work. So far, so good. We did the right thing going to the cardiologist, who, by the way, had a very professional office and staff.

Today’s a new day. I feel relieved and hopeful. Sure, I am feeling the side effects, but I will work through them in the coming weeks; I am looking forward to being able to stop thinking and writing about this troublesome condition. Thanks for listening, dear readers.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 9, 2013:

This goat in our yard in Kenya was definitely not camera-shy, practically stepping on my foot as she approached. For more photos, please click here.

Today is our 11 year anniversary of traveling the world…Happy Travel Anniversary, my love…

View of the houses on the oceanfront in Mirador San Jose, Ecuador, one hour from Manta.

It was 11 years ago today that we began this journey. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. Now, as we research where we are headed next, we wonder, based on health limitations at this point, what is our best move. There is the whole world in front of us, but we’ve already been to those places that appealed to us the most, and now, we must pin down options for the future that meet our current criteria.

The ocean is closer to the house during high tide.

Times have changed over the years. Prices have rapidly escalated for flights, hotels, and holiday homes since the pandemic, and searching for options has become an entirely new ballgame, requiring diligence and patience. In the past few days, we’ve done a lot of research and eventually have to take a break when flying out of Manta is a real challenge. But we carry on, trying off and on until we’re able to pin something down.

A kind, well-intentioned reader wrote that it may make sense for me to focus on getting fit while here, and I appreciate the sentiment. But, with rainy, cloudy weather, I am not motivated to use the pool. My walking ability is limited, as mentioned, and I cannot walk even short distances. Once the weather improves, I will walk in the pool and see if that helps.

The chaise lounges for a sunny day for some vitamin D.

He also suggested I write a cookbook using the locally available foods, and again, I appreciate the good intention. Still, I have no desire to write a book after writing 4085 posts in the past 11 years. I spend enough time sitting at my computer, and spending more time writing a book, especially when we have an imminent need to research, doesn’t appeal to me.

But I appreciate our reader, who’s simply coming up with suggestions on how to enjoy our time better here. In the past few days, as we’ve become more settled, we’ve overcome the hurdle of how we’ll spend our time, and now, as we plan for the future, we are content and finding ways to enjoy our surroundings. No more angst, thanks to the help from our owner/landlord, Igor, who addressed our issues with speed and diligence.

The house is on a steep rocky hill. To get down to this sidewalk, one must walk about 1/2 mile to a stairway going down.

I think I freaked out once we arrived. I was stuck in a state of Afib for the first four days. In this state, it’s easy to panic and feel stressed, which, of course, only makes matters worse, but it is challenging to psyche oneself out of it when it feels like birds are flying around in your chest. Plus, it wasn’t very comforting to think it might never stop, which happens to many with the condition.

Now, after a week on the miraculous drug, I am Afib-free and was able to reduce the dose in half in the past two days, which I take at night, and it just so happens to make me sleep better. Whew! I am hopeful. I have enough pills left to make it through our remaining time in Ecuador, with about ten doses remaining until we get somewhere where I can buy more. So far, we haven’t found a pharmacy that carries them, but we will try a few when we get to Manta in about three weeks.

It’s unlikely we’ll use this brick charcoal grill on the right in this photo. The interior is in rough condition and would require some work to make it usable.

Once we get to Manta, we’ll also swap out the rental car for another and do our grocery shopping, this time away from downtown. Loading the groceries was a hassle for Tom while in the center of town.

Today, the cleaning person was here. I failed to buy cleaning supplies when we shopped, but fortunately, I had a bottle of plain vinegar that Maria used. She just left and did an excellent job. It is such a relief we don’t have to do the cleaning ourselves. The fact that we are tidy helps keep the place clean in the interim.

A tree in the pool area.

As for our anniversary today, there’s nothing on the agenda other than our filet mignon dinner tonight. Tom, as always, will have rice with his steak tonight; I’ll have sliced avocado on the side. Perfect. We don’t have any wine, beer, or cognac (Tom’s favorite) to share a toast. But that’s OK. Maybe tomorrow night, when we head to Kokomo again (they are supposed to be open on Wednesdays for $5 burger night), we can share a toast. We’ll see how that goes.

Have a fantastic Tuesday. We plan to.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 31, 2013:

Walking on the beach on the Indian Ocean yesterday afternoon, Tom shot this appearing footless photo of me. I was wearing those ugly water shoes, grateful they were hidden in the surf.
I suppose I should have zoomed in as he did when taking mine. Look! You can see shadows as I’m taking the photo. I’m too busy to edit photos right now! For more photos, please click here.

Yeah, to sea level!…Instantly, feeling better…Now the interesting part begins…

The pool at Pikiera Hotel in Manta a quaint little cultural hotel owned by a most charming couple and their daughter, Crystal.

Right now, as I write this, we have been sitting in the little rental car, packed to the roof with our bags, outside the entrance gate to Mirador San Jose. We are waiting for Sylvie, the property manager, to arrive to let us into the gate and then to the house. Beyond these gates is our home for the next 79 days, which we hope has good WiFi and is as nice as the photos as represented in VRBO.

Early in our travels, we were sorely disappointed by a beach house in Placencia, Belize, with fraudulent reviews and no running water. We left in a week and never got our money back. In those days, the holiday rental business was different than it is now.

The bar is to the left of the kitchen, where the owners cooked our breakfast of scrambled eggs and ham.

Our only recourse at that time would have been to sue the owners, and we didn’t want the beginnings of our travels to revolve around dealing with a lawsuit. But now, as we are sitting at the entrance gate, Sylvie hadn’t shown up at 12:45 pm when the plan was 11:00 am, two hours earlier than our original arrival time of 1:00 pm.

This morning at the hotel in Manta, I contacted Igor, the owner, who lives out of the country, and he arranged for her to arrive at 11:00 instead. Sure, she may have had other plans, causing her only to be able to come at 1:00. We shall wait and see. At this point, we have no other option but to wait.

As for yesterday, our travel day, we were able to stay in our hotel room in Quito until 2:00 pm and then spent three hours waiting in the lobby for a Celebrity escort to the airport. We’d prepaid $60 for two extra bags and seamlessly moved toward our gate.

We encountered several roundabouts on the drive from Manta.

I felt so awful from altitude sickness after the second 48 hours in Quito that I couldn’t wait to get on the pressurized airplane. The wait at the gate was short, and the flight was even shorter at only 35 minutes to touchdown.

We ordered a wheelchair for me. In my weakened condition, my legs felt like lead, and I was short of breath, sitting and doing nothing. Within minutes of the airplane doors closing, I felt a wave of calm wash over me. I could breathe, and the lightheadedness immediately dissipated. What a relief!

Parts of the road were barren and desolate and other parts were like a rain forest. As always, taking photos in the fast-moving car wasn’t easy.

When we arrived at the small airport in Manta (population 300,000) in minutes, we had our luggage and exited the area where, for the first time ever, a man stood with an Avis sign waiting to escort us to the little rental car in the parking lot.

Moments later, we were on the road to the quaint Ecuadorian little hotel, Pikeiro Blue, where we have ever stayed, at a rate of $45 a night, cash only. We just needed a place to sleep. But, minimal, it was charming nonetheless. The owner sent his daughter to a little market to buy us two sodas and some cheese.

We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and I was hungry, but Tom wasn’t. The lovely English-speaking daughter returned with the sodas and cheese in no time. We tipped her with gratitude. Her parents were so sweet and kind, and we conversed on Google Translate.

It was a joy to see the ocean about halfway through the drive.

The room was spotless, with only bright overhead lighting (no lamps) and two double beds perfectly made. But, the beds were comfortable, the WiFi excellent, and the aircon chilled as we needed.

After a fitful night’s sleep this morning, we showered (cold water only) and dressed to head down to the pool level while the hosts made us breakfast, which was included in the $45. It couldn’t have been a more pleasing cultural experience.

The one-hour drive from Manta was interesting and also cultural. Once we reached the ocean along the highway, we were in awe of the massive waves, ideal for the most experienced surfer, but no surfers were to be seen on the pristine beaches.

A little church along the way.

Today’s photos are from the above-described experiences. Tomorrow, we hope to be back with photos of the house, finding ourselves unpacked and with some groceries on hand.

Hmmm ..we have yet to see a market…what will transpire there? Again, we shall see and report back tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 24, 2013:

Last week in Diani Beach, Kenya, when dining at Sails Restaurant, the moon was in its full glory. A few months after we left Kenya, this restaurant where we ate most Saturday nights was bombed by terrorists on a Saturday evening. For more photos, please click here.

Day 10…Cruise to South America…Part 3, Manta, Ecuador… Busy fishing port… See below for “Year ago photo” and link to our final expenses for last year’s the 33-night cruise ending on this date…

It was interesting to see these enormous nets of fish, mainly tuna, pulled from massive fishing vessels In Manta, Ecuador, arriving at the pier after a night at sea. Manta is one of the biggest producers of wild-caught tuna in the world.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Tom is getting to be quite the photographer. But, when I compliment him, he says, “Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day!” He’s too modest! Soon, we’ll purchase a second camera, so we both take photos simultaneously while in Antarctica and Africa.

Today, we’re still at the port in Callao, Peru, yet to leave the ship. After speaking with many passengers, those who’d done what we’d hoped to do, take the shuttle to town, were sorely disappointed in the experience. 

Many reported that the 45-minute shuttle bus ride turned into a 90-minute to two-hour ride (one way) due to outrageous traffic. With Tom’s impatience in traffic, it would not have been a pleasant experience for us. 

Also reported, once they arrived near the town, they had to take a taxi to get to the shopping district. We had no interest in such an outing. We’re glad we stayed behind, ending up having a wonderful day on the quiet ship.

The nets of fish kept cold on dry ice were moved from the ships to trucks heading to the local processing plants and canneries.

The group tours had better reviews, but here again, we had no interest in spending money on pricey group tours when photos from moving vehicles are difficult to take. 

When we return to South America in the next few years, we’ll be able to travel about Peru at our own pace rather than be subject to less-than-desirable circumstances. Crowds aren’t “our thing.”

As our long-time readers are aware, we mostly opt for the more laid-back and leisurely pace in seeing the sights that appeal to us. No doubt Machu Picchu and Galapagos are on our “to-do” list for the future.

Each time the nets were lowered into the ship’s hold, they brought up hundreds of fish. These workers look on to ensure everything goes smoothly from the ship to the awaiting trucks.

Busying ourselves on the ship yesterday was easy for us. We were never bored for a moment. By the time we finished the post around 12:30 pm, we had headed to the Celebrity Theatre for the 1:00 pm movie, 2016’s, The Promise. 

For those who haven’t seen this movie, a beautiful love story at the end of the Ottoman Empire, we’d highly recommend seeing it. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

After the movie, we hung out in Cafe al Bacio, chatting with other guests who’d also remained behind, having chosen not to be standing in the one or two hour-long queues to get onto a shuttle bus, plus the hours-long rides through traffic. We felt at ease we’d done the right thing for us.

Net being lowered into a truck.

By 4:30 pm, we headed to our cabin to get ready for the evening happy hour in the Constellation Lounge for Captain’s Club members only. We sat with a lovely couple from Florida (originally from Massachusetts), engaging in exciting conversation until it was time to leave for dinner in the Trellis Restaurant.

There again, we had another fun dinner with other passengers at a shared table. After dinner, at 9:00 pm, we wandered to the Celebrity Theatre for the evening’s comedy show. We both dozed off during the not-so-comical show. 

I slept during the entire performance, waking myself periodically with a startling jolt. Tom said he’d done the same. We don’t get enough sleep many nights, inspiring us to return to our cabin by 10:00 or 10:30 pm.  Other nights, we can stay up much later to partake in dancing and lively activities.

The vapors from the dry ice are seen at the bottom of this net.

In any case, it’s all quite enjoyable, tired or not. As soon as I upload today’s post, I’m off to the fitness center on Deck 10 to work out. Since we embarked on the ship, I’ve been working out, doing my usual HIIT (high-intensity interval training). 

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked out.  It felt great to get back to it, especially when it felt as if I’d never missed a beat when I began my former routine. If only I could work out wherever we may live, it’s not possible in many locations. 

A worker guides the net to the proper position for unloading into the trucks.

The hotel in Buenos Aires has a fitness center, but nothing is available in South Africa. Walking may not be as prevalent for us in Marloth Park as it was four years ago when we could easily walk the dirt roads in the bush, always on the alert for wild animals. 

Now, our friends are reporting that lions and leopards have been sighted in Marloth Park, and a leisurely walk may be out of the question. We shall see how it goes.

That’s it for today, folks. Enjoy the fishing photos from Manta, Ecuador. And, may you have an enjoyable day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2016:

The miniature representation of schooner located in the Schooner Bar in Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. We disembarked the ship that day after a 33-night cruise. For the final expenses for this long cruise, please click here.

Day 9… Cruise to South America… Part 2… Manta, Ecuador…

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”
Slurpy mouthed iguana posing for a photo at the park in Manta, Ecuador.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

View from the veranda at the industrial port in Manta. Passengers aren’t allowed to walk through this area.
Overall the Wi-Fi on the ship has been good except for the past few minutes when neither of us could bring up a page. Hopefully, it will improve in the next few minutes to upload today’s photos and the post and be on our way to Lima, Peru.
Outdoor cafe at the outdoor market in Manta, Ecuador.

Currently, we’re docked in the industrial port of Callao. It’s a 45-minute shuttle ride to get close to Lima plus a 20-minute taxi ride from there to the big city’s congested shopping district.

 A Virgin Mary statue in the park.

Based on the fact we’ll be spending late 2019 and 2020 in South America, during which we’ll return to Peru to visit Lima, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands, we don’t feel compelled to spend most of the day waiting in line for the shuttle bus ride which appears to be a two-hour wait while standing in the hot sun, especially when it’s so difficult to take good photos from a moving vehicle.

Historical statue in the park.

We’ll continue to watch the lines outside for the shuttle bus ride and, from there, decide if we’ll go. Some passengers opted to do Machu Picchu from the ship at the cost of US $3,000 per person. We’d rather wait and do our tour later on, rather than be so rushed.

A water sculpture in the park.

The ship is staying in port overnight tonight for those doing Machu Picchu and other overnight tours. We love being able to decide what works for us at any given time, knowing, God willing, we’ll have plenty of time to explore Peru and other countries in South America in the future at our usual low-stress pace.

Another view of the fountain in the park.

Many passengers on cruise ships are in a frenzy to see everything they can in an eight to 24-hour period (or, as in this case, longer). We don’t feel we can get the “flavor” of a country in such a short period. This constitutes why we choose to live in various countries rather than breeze through for a day or two.

An iguana was chewing on some vegetation.

Instead, we’re blissfully content to plan our day aboard the ship if necessary, later engaging in the series of activities we’ve thoroughly enjoyed each evening which includes:

1.  5:00 to 7:00 pm – Captain’s Club nightly party in the Constellation Lounge
2.  7:00 to 9:00 pm –  Dinner in the Trellis Restaurant (sharing a table with others).
3.  9:00 to 10:00 pm – Show in the Celebrity Theatre (tonight’s show is a comedian)
4. 10:00 to 12:00 pm – Dancing and wild entertainment in the Martini Bar where the highly skilled bartenders are jugglers/mixologists who put on quite a show to the loud howling and laughter from those around the bar.  We’ve had a blast!

A pigeon was sitting atop a hut in Manta.

By midnight or so, we fall into bed, exhausted with smiles on our faces. By 6:00 am, we’re awake and ready to begin another delightful day. It’s not much sleep, but once the cruise ends in 22 days, we’ll have plenty of time to recover during our 30-nights in Buenos Aires.

The view of the beach from the park across the roadway.

Much to my pleasure, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt since the gastrointestinal problems began almost two years ago. It seems to be a combination of eating less food, returning to my intermittent fasting program of one medium-sized, very low-carb meal once every 24 hours. 

Sign language chart near the park.

It’s not easy skipping breakfast and lunch on a cruise when so much good food is available, much of which I can eat. Tom has a light breakfast of poached eggs and bacon (no cereal, no toast, no juice or pastries). I sit with him in the dining room at a shared table, drinking my mug of hot tea while he, too, avoids lunch and snacks.

This Christmas tree was being prepared by workers.

After all, this is our 20th cruise in five years. One can only imagine how unhealthy we’d be if we’d eaten the usual three meals a day plus desserts and snacks most passengers consume while cruising. Many often gain as much a 10 pounds (4.5 kg) during a 15-night cruise.

Unknown statue in the park.

I’m proud of Tom for deciding not to overindulge on cruises. It’s tempting to indulge but not holding back could easily result in a quick end to our world travels with the extra weight we’d gain and the resulting medical issues that go along with it. Food isn’t worth it to either of us.  

Local police on alert in the busy area.

At one point, when he was up by only 10 pounds, I noticed him huffing and puffing while handling our luggage.  Now, he does it with ease and feels so much better besides.

Tom at the park in Manta. Note the Banyan tree behind him.

For now, we’re waiting for the crowds boarding the shuttle buses to thin out, but if not, we won’t be going.  Instead, today, enjoy more of our Manta, Ecuador photos. Over the next few days, we’ll be finishing up the Manta photos with an interesting fishing story.

Me at the park in Manta with a Banyon tree in the background.

Have a blissful day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2016:

Newcastle Ferry Wharf on Day 33 of the cruise circumventing Australia as it came to an end. For more details, please here.

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 picture of me by myself as the primary 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 Manta, 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 of 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 a bicycle cart selling beverages.

According to the 2001 census, the city had 192,322 inhabitants. Its primary economic activity is tuna fishing. Other economic activities include tourism and the 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 a substantial 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, 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 purchase 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.

We ran into passengers we’ve met from time to time who were on an equally enjoyable outing in this quaint oceanside town. It couldn’t have been a perfect day.

A variety of trinkets may appeal to 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 sold 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 time 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 was peeling oranges to sell.

We rarely purchase anything at these tourist shopping sites, but I couldn’t resist when I saw the dress hanging in a shop.  It’s sleeveless, so I purchased the shawl to keep me warm in the evening. They keep the AC 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 is posing for a shot.

Sharing our story with readers worldwide means the world to us. Thank you for being on this journey with us

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.