Manta, Ecuador

Manta is a South American city, not a tourist destination, which made it very different from our other stops. It reminded us of towns in Mexico off the beaten tourist paths.

What it is is an important port for coffee and cocoa. The main industry is tuna canning and processing. Nearby is the village of Montecristi, which is the home of the “Panama” hat. Manta’s location gives reasonable access to three- or four-day excursions to the Galapagos Islands and scenic trains into the Andes. We undertook none of those but wandered downtown Manta on our own.

The Panama hat is a Panama hat because the US bought thousands of them for the workers on the Panama Canal. They work very well for protection from sun, heat, and cold but lose their shape when wet. They are made from a very tightly woven natural fiber; price depends on just how tightly woven. We saw them at stalls near the harbor for $25 and in better “stores” for $150. But everything is negotiable.

The best hats are very soft and the acid test for quality is, Can you roll it up and pass it through a wedding ring? We never saw it actually done.

Tomorrow is Callao, Peru, which is the access to Lima.

4 thoughts on “Manta, Ecuador

  1. I was writing a snappy reply (snappy like the brim on a Panama hat) but some sort of computer tide came in and washed it out to sea. If it comes your way you might or might not enjoy it. Reportage on the incredible marches and something about fat fingers and wedding rings and how smashing Dore would look in a Panama hat. Oh well, all fine. Thank you for keeping up your interesting insights, and we hope you are prepared for a thousand questions when we get together. Katherine and Jim

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    1. Part of us is really glad we are as far away as we are and getting farther. Another part regrets not adding our voices to yesterday’s movement.
      Half of our dinner companions voted for Brexit but all are wondering, What were you people thinking!

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  2. I read the post a couple of times trying to discover if you exercised your negotiating skills and bought a hat. As for being far away, you are only as far away as access to the internet; and, I’m finding that’s not far enough. Surreal reality for now. Thanks for the posts.
    Marylu

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  3. We did not buy hats. I think I was intimidated by our table mate, who lives in London but has lived in Chili, Peru, and Ecuador that I know of and thinks negotiating is a matter of honor, almost a courtesy. When the tour guide said a taxi to Montecristi is $20US and to the beach is $5, Claudio negotiated $10 and $2. Whatever I paid for a hat, he would have thought it too much.
    I can’t really read it, but the newspaper on the table in Starbuck’s in Lima has a picture of el Presidente de EE. UU. on the front page; something about withdrawing from the TPP.

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