Saturday, March 11, 2023

February 17, 2023 – Manta, Ecuador – Mostly Cloudy – 83F

Looks like it will be a nice day in Tuna Town today as revealed by porthole cam first look.

Probably just coincidence but I slept better last night than any other night of this cruise.  Even got up a little later (around 7:00 AM) and didn’t go up for breakfast in Windows until after 7:30 AM.  I got a seat at a veranda table closest to the door.  Really nice outside today – not wet like the mornings of the other ports.  I had pancakes, cottage cheese, sour cream (available today) and some scrambled eggs.  All good.  I brought some tea down to Ellen.

Ellen and I went to Discoveries Restaurant for breakfast for the first time this cruise.  The restaurant has a very fancy breakfast menu, but you can still get the peasant entries if you ask for them. She had the French Toast, and I had a bagel and coffee.  Afterwards, we watched the arrival into Manta. Of course, the tuna boats were there to greet us.

The P&O Aurora, which kept us company in Callao, is here today and we are docked back-to-back.

Here is our position docked in Manta. Again, you can see how far away our berth is from the city and beach.

We were told that the ship provided a shuttle that would take us to the pier entrance and that there were shops and a shopping mall within a few blocks.  After lunch in Windows, we took the shuttle which dropped us at the Cruise Terminal. We were there on the first leg after finishing our excursion.  We were surprised to see that the Museum we went to earlier was directly across the street.  We crossed that street and walked a couple of blocks to the huge Mall Del Pacifico.  

After climbing about 50 zig-zag steps to the entrance of the mall, we went from the steam bath that was Manta to the cool A/C interior of the mall. 

If you didn’t know you were in Ecuador, you would think you were in any large mall in the States.  All the upscale clothing stores were there 

as well as all the fast-food places in the Food Court – with one exception – there are no Starbucks in Ecuador.  

Juan Valdez has the coffee concession in the mall and even sells "bubble tea".

There was also a molecular bar where weird juices and drinks are created.  The molecular bar actually had a wall with molecules - it was very cool.


One item I did need was deodorant – there wasn’t as much left in the container as I thought when I packed.  We went to one Pharmacy in the mall and were amazed at the small size of the deodorants available and the price.  We wound up buying an Ecuadorian brand of deodorant for $4 and change (NOTE – after checking on the internet, the deodorant prices were in line with what those items cost now at our local drug stores).  

We crossed the street again and walked along the beach, Playa Murcielago

until we found the Terminal Building (after a few wrong turns).  There was no wait, and we caught a small open air people mover that took us back to the ship.  

It was an interesting afternoon in Manta and the journey to the mall logged over 5000 steps.

I finished my book and started another by Robert Crais – this one takes place in 1992 (no cell phones yet) and is called “Lullaby Town” and is all about Hollywood.  We are spending more time in the Living Room because it’s comfortable on the couches facing the big windows and it’s cool. 

We are docked next to a freighter similar to the one that was loading some kind of orange granular material into trucks in Callao.  This loading went on all day, but the noise was not as bad since there were fewer trucks, and they were not idling.  From the Living Room, you not only get a look at our freighter neighbor but also a nice view of Manta and the beach. You can also get a feeling for the size of the commercial port and how far away our ship is from the Cruise Terminal.

The bar is right there as well.  Today, I tried a Pina Colada, which I did not like and an orange-based (amaretto) cocktail, which I did – the bartender tried to describe it to me, but it didn’t register.  In any event, it was very good, and I will be getting more of these before we get home.

Onward backed away from the Quay until she got well out in the harbor before turning around and heading out to the open Ocean.  There are storms in the distance but I'm confident that Captain Carl will steer clear of them.

It’s "A Taste of Thailand" up in Windows tonight so I had food made in the Patio (the usual fare) and ate it in Windows.  Ellen cobbled together her dinner from various items including some tuna mini sandwiches from the Living Room.  The tuna salad is topflight on this cruise.  The meal was OK, and we got some sweets from the buffet.

Tonight, is Roy’s show and it is the same one he did on the first cruise, so we opted out.  I checked out a copy of tomorrow’s insider and noticed that my talk tomorrow is listed with two times (10 and 11 AM).  I went up to the Theater and spoke to both Martin and Alex (AV) and we decided to go with 10 AM and Martin said he would announce the time at the end of Roy’s show.  Problem solved.

While I was up there, a very nice guest asked me to send her a list of the forensic TV shows I mentioned in my presentation.  She gave me her email address and I sent her a list which included some recommendations not mentioned in the talk. 

Time in the Living Room finished off the evening.

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