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.