This morning brought me joy when the owner of the hotel offered a ride to the nearby city that’s full of local food and an open market. Without hesitation I jump in and off we go, leaving the greenery of Canoa and heading into the city of Bahia.
I’m already hungry so I start my walk checking out the huts that line the water. Some offering ceviche, others have fried “things” and most of them have zero to a few customers.
I spot a crowd of locals happily sitting and thouroughly enjoying what appears to be a popular dish. As I approach, it’s now clear that they are all eating the exact same thing.
Well, do as the locals do! No menu, just smile as you take a seat and patiently wait for whatever they serve you.
Turns out what they placed in front of me was the best dish I’ve had in Ecuador so far. A perfectly seasoned fish soup called encebollado de piscado that included yuca, onions, garlic, carrots, a hint of tomato and then topped with green herbs. Instead of crackers to crumble, they serve you a small bag of plantain chips. Y-U-M!
As I took the first bite and melted into my breakfast, the local kid next to me quickly waved (as if I had done something wrong) and pointed to the plate of “options” that I had seemed to over look. There was lemon juice, ketchup, salsa, mustard, oil, picante sauce, salt and pepper.
Honestly the soup was so amazing by itself, that I hesitated to add anything. After looking around and watching everyone pile on the goods, I figure I might as well give it a try. I selfishly enjoyed half the soup first, then added some picante salsa and a dash of lemon juice as I floated away to breakfast heaven.
Next, up a side street to head for the market!
The first smell that hits my nose as I enter the market is what I would describe as “raw”. I round the corner to see the fish and meat section and I’m instantly thankful that I’ve already eaten.
As I tried to scurry through quickly, I was stopped and entertained by this group of friendly locals. They must have read the “please don’t make me touch it” look on my face.
Separating the meat and veggies was a small row of random vendors offering homemade goodies that clearly needed to be sampled. They were extremely excited to see how eager I was to partake!
On the left is good ol’ butter and to the right is peanut butter that they grind in front of you from the nuts on the far right.
Cheese you can buy by the hunk that tasted similar to “string cheese” from the states.
On the left is crushed peanuts and on the right is a spiced powder that they often use in recipes. The dark item hanging is tamarind.
My favorite picture of the day is with my new pal. Just try not smiling when you look at this!
Moving along to random items and more kind smiles.
This guy wanted to show me the chickens that were for sale were still alive. Thank you buddy… I think.
Finally, my section! I pick up a few veggies and a piece of fruit to bring back for my next few meals.
On the way out, I saw a sign in which I could make out yogurt was somewhere in the description. As they rambled (mumbled) off my options, I just smiled and said “your favorite”. Great choice! It was a melon flavored frozen yogurt blend of goodness.
Fully satisfied and ready to head back, I find the boat launch that will take me across to the next town closer to home. From Bahia to San Vicente, here is the 15 minute journey…
…until the motor stopped and they spent another 10 minutes fixing it.
I get to San Vicente and now attempt to find the bus stop (that wasn’t there) that will take me back to Canoa. Photos of my walk in the order they were taken.
This polite man was selling fresh watermelon juice put over ice shaved from a huge block. Refreshing during this heat filled day.
I finally found a local that took me by the hand to the “bus stop” which was an really just an intersection where you wave as they cross and you jump in as they pass. I don’t think the wheels ever came to a complete stop. Kind of fun really!
Another salesman on the bus has a special promotion for his product. Great for me, as I could use it due to the fall I had in Panama. This little dandy is an all natural rub for muscle and joint pain.
Back in Canoa I pleasantly recap the day:
Ride to Bahia: Free
Best breakfast ever: $2.25 (that’s including the $0.50 tip that totally confused them)
2 days worth of veggies and fruit: $1.60
Melon smoothie: $0.60
Boat ride to San Vicente: $0.35
Watrmelon shaved ice: $0.15
Bus ride to Canoa: $0.50
Muscle cream (bus special): $1
Total of my incredible day: $6.45 (the most I’ve spent in over a week!)