Eight Days of Ecuador…Photography Travel Abroad Class
Day 7 – Thursday, April 27
In 2016 scientists teamed-up to prove that the highest point on planet earth is not Mt. Everest, but rather a massive volcano located in central Ecuador called the summit of Chimborazo. Something I was not aware of until doing research on my trip.
This would be our last day of travel in Ecuador and we had a long 4.5 hour drive by bus back to Guayaquil ahead to prepare for our flight home. In the early morning some of us went with Alfredo and Chantal for a walk on the beach. I had become pretty sick at this point with some sinus funk and wasn’t up to the morning swim but I did enjoy the exercise and the beach.
After our last meal at the Saianada hotel we tipped the staff and thanked them all for the wonderful hospitality.
We packed up the bus and headed downtown for some last minute sightseeing, wanting to see more of the culture, we visited the semi-open air market in downtown Bahia de Caraquez.
The market provides a large selection of seafood and meat such as beef, pork, chicken, fish and shrimp. It also offers a large variety of fresh fruits and veggies. We enjoyed samples of some of the homemade sweets and the peanut butter.
I learned that Ecuador is pushing big agricultural companies to use sprays and chemicals to help increase returns but much of what they offer at the market seemed free of GMO. The market seemed to have a lot of independently prepared meat, seafood and produce items. The grass fed beef is raised in a valley north of the city and many of the veggies were so fresh they still had dirt on them. From the looks of the chickens they are likely to have been butchered early that morning. All of the items seemed to be fresh and delivered within a day or 2.
Although I have to wonder how they keep the items from going bad in the open air with the temperatures being so hot. The seafood, chickens and meat were sitting out in the free air and most were not in ice. It is apparent the people are accustomed to it but I personally would be afraid of food poisoning!
After the market we left town on about a 2 hour drive to Montecristi. This city in the Manabí province was formed around 1536 with settlers from Manta who left their village fleeing pirate attacks. It was the birthplace of Eloy Alfaro Delgado, president of Ecuador and later the leader of the Ecuadorian Liberal Revolution. It is also known as the home of the Panama hat. We stopped at a few places along the way including a museum and a shop where a woman was weaving a hat by hand outside. Several of the students bought hats while we were there because the prices were much cheaper than in the states.
On the long ride into Guayaquil I was fascinated by the Ceibo trees we passed along the curving road (pronounced “SAY-bo”). I wish we had been able to see one up close because they were so odd, their vibrant green color, unusual shapes and bark texture looked like something from a Disney cartoon. Kapok is the universal name given to the silky fluff produced by the ceibo fruits.
From there we had lunch at a small restaurant along the way and I had my final personal favorite dish (other than Ceviche) of Camarones al Ajillo, shrimp in garlic sauce.
We arrived in Guayaquil around sunset and Matthew offered to go with us to see the Las Peñas lighthouse up the 500 steps we didn’t do the first day we were there. I was feeling extremely sick at this point but figured I didn’t want to miss this last adventure by staying in my room. A small group of us walked down the boardwalk one last time admiring the view and the local vendors. We took our time walking up all those steps to the top of the hill where there is a church and the entrance of the lighthouse. From the top of the lighthouse it was possible to see a full 360 degrees around the city of Guayaquil, something I am so glad I did not skip out on!
We got back to the hotel around 8:30 PM that night and said goodbye to Matthew, we were sad to see him leave because he really made the trip a wonderful adventure for all of us. I went back to my room at the Manso Boutique Guesthouse Hotel where we had started our journey on the first night. I cleaned up, packed my bags and set the alarm for 2:15 AM so I would be ready for the bus to take us to the airport for our early flight back to Nashville. I was now feeling terrible and couldn’t wait to get home and take something for the cold I had, unfortunately needing to be up in a few hours made for a terrible few hours of sleep.
I am sure by now if you are still following along you are tired of the trip….I was pretty exhausted by the end of it myself, the days had started to run together. My last blog will showcase a few of my favorite memories and photos from the trip. I hope you will check back for my final insight, I will share how this trip like so many others to foreign countries has somehow changed me. Thank you for reading!
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