Posts Tagged With: ceviche

The Rastafarian Cancun of Ecuador, Montañita

Montañita is a growing town that was once a hidden gem for local surfers. Back in the 60’s it was a fishing village and linked to the hippie movement, thus explaining the Rastafarian vibe that still exists today. Amongst the several residence, there’s a large population of backpackers, beach bums and travelers just passing through. I was told it’s the “Cancun of Ecuador” and to enter with an open mind, no intentions of sleeping and to have a proper exit plan. Thankfully, I had Sophie with me and we were both on a chill vibe during our whopping 30 hours in this tornado of controlled chaos.

We checked into our hostel, knowing not much time will be spent there. Quick tour of the Iguana Backpackers Hostel. The front area with kitchen is small, but a few backpackers show that it still does the job.

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In the back there’s a relaxed open area for well, anything you want!

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Our room equipped with the necessary sleeping nets. Ps, having the mosquitos trapped in with you is not beneficial to a good nights sleep.

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My favorite part of this entire hostel was the sign that made me giggle out loud when it caught my eye.

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Approaching the outside of town, it looks so innocent and welcoming.

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As you turn the corner and head into the main strip, the vibrancy begins to deliver.

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Perfect handstand photo, thanks Sophie!

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Ceviche on the street? Yes please! The choices were shrimp, conch or fish. We shared a mix of shrimp and fish to be topped off with hot sauce and corn nuts.

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Fortunately for us, there was surf finals happening the day we were there! After observing the streets we agreed is was time for sandy toes. Here’s the walk as we head towards the competition.

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I haven’t had a real snow cone in years! I skipped out on the green goo topped with condensed milk and went with the piña and fresa (pineapple and strawberry).

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As we near the action, you could feel the energy was building. Over the roar and applause, you could hear the announcer listing countries with their scores. Both of us had a confused grin as he says, “Ecuador… Peru… Brazil… Hawaii… and…” Now I’m not a part of the surf world, so there’s probably something I’m missing, I just didnt realize Hawaii had separated into it’s own country.
An additional peculiar thing, is seeing a sun loving surf crowd fully clothed, on the beach! Bizarre or am I unaware of another memo?

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I also didn’t realize it was relay style. One would sprint out of the water as the other was racing in. Apparently I need to study this sport a little more before I observe!
Side note: If you say you’re from California, expect to give a full explanation to why you don’t surf.

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I thought these were pretty cool shots.

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As the sun goes down, the crowd doesn’t stop. In fact, the streets light up and what was once the fruit stands have turned to drink stands and the restaurants are now dance clubs.

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Believe it or not, that’s all you get from my evening pictures, as we turned in for an early nights rest before the bus tomorrow. (Yes Bevan, I know… I’ll have to try again with you next time).

My favorite photo of the day in Montañita!

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This was also the last evening spent with my (perfectly opposite) new pal Sophie.
You were such an unexpected gift that enhanced my journey along the coast of Ecuador. Cheers to broken bunk beds, awkward email names, and no bananas in a smoothie… ever. I send you off with much love and a “Salud” till next time!

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 hours in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Knowing that I’ll be flying out of the capital Quito, I chose to arrive in Guayaquil to spend some time exploring the largest city in Ecuador. Naturally, my choice of transportation for the day is my two feet with no map and a camera in hand.

I was totally satisfied staying out of the heart of the city in order to catch a glimpse of the smaller venders and local markets. Right away I spot a health food store, well more like a vitamin stall, but either way it’s nice to see an effort towards better nutrition anywhere.

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Next door to the “healthy” stall we have soda, candy, gum and cigarettes. You can actually purchase a single smoke or the whole pack, they even have a lighter for your convienence. I’m not a smoker, but this one stood out to me!

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This woman was focused and straight faced as I caught myself staring into her little work box. As soon as we made eye contact, I asked with my best attempt in Spanish “Is a photo ok?”. She responded with a huge smile!

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I choose to limit my wheat and corn intake for general health, so most bread is off my “must try” list. With that said, you can imagine my excitement when I saw a sign for “Pan de Yuca”. This tasty treat is about the size of an average dinner roll, has minimal ingredients, no preservatives and is primarily made from the root of cassava (a cholesterol lowering, inflammation reducing vegetable that’s rich in potassium). The best part was the fluffy texture and the hollow inside that will make a perfect pocket for my next sandwich!

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With the sound of it, I thought for sure that I was approaching a daytime dance club blasting local hip hop music. No, that’s just a store in which sells electronics. “Woh, look mom!” says the little boy. Mother replies, “Yes sweetie, she is wearing a swimsuit, you just can’t see it”.

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Next door to the risky music videos? A dancing cow promoting ice cream and a clown passing out balloons… Go figure.

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In between the small shops there were several chain restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC. I was a little discouraged to see those places packed, however this is a large city which means convenience tops the priority list.

I spot out a grocery store so I swing in for the usual wander, (this can drive my travel partners crazy!) as I just love to browse and check out the goods that I’ve never seen before. As soon as I walk in, I almost tripped over the… Salon chair? Nice! Makes sense to me to get your hair colored while running other errands.

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My new find for the day is vegetarian ceviche in a to-go container including broad beans, corn nuts and plantain chips for the topping.

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I pass a cute little square with a neat fountain and a little girl sleeping in a box? I’ve definitely been that tired before!

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I reach the end of the street which brings me to the El Malecón boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River. The first three pictures were taken from the balcony of my hostel earlier in the day. To see the Manso Guesthouse in detail take my photo tour in the accommodations category.

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Tourists?

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These guys made my day. Not only were they talented and entertaining, they were extremely friendly and patient with my Spanish. (Hopefully they understood the paper I wrote on that directed them to my blog).

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My turn for a little gymnastics!

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As the sun started to lower, I found stairs leading to lookout points providing a perfect view for these pictures.

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Again with the distant sound if music, I follow my ears towards a few well lit buildings up the way. This time it’s an indoor mall with independent singers giving it their best.

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I stopped on the way back and put my camera on a “special effect” to try and capture the loud energy that circled my evening stroll. This was the winner!

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Tomorrow morning brings a 6 hour bus trip to the coast of Manabi, Buenos Noches!

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Puerto de La Libertad

When you go to the average restaurant and see “catch of the day” or “fresh fish plate” on the menu, I feel it might be better titled as “the most recently de-thawed” or “the plate of whatever we stocked too much of”. Not here in La Libertad! You actually get to walk the pier as the fisherman are bringing back the load of the morning. You have the choice to buy your protein right there and carry it to a vender or have a seat in one of the cafe’s that line the water and order from their grill.

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Here’s what you’ll find as you walk to the end of the dock and back.

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I’m sure some of you may have lost your appetite after that fresh walk and for the rest of you, you’re ready for some delicious ceviche! Although I’m all about diggin in the local way, I wasn’t confident picking out a slab from the dock to cook ourselves, so we treat our hunger to one of the open air restaurants along the water.

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I went with the white fish ceviche and mom had shrimp in a pink sauce (that came out of a mason jar with no label, got to love it!) A local sat down next to us and suggested the papas fritas with a cervesa and tequilla to compliment it all. No arm twist neccesary as we toast to our “catch of the day”. All of this for $11, score!

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With full belly’s and happy hearts we board the bus heading back to the city. A roundtrip ticket from San Salvador to the coast of La Libertdad is a whopping $1.20.

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How do you pass the time on another bus ride besides gazing out the window and snapping random photos? With some giggles and a game! I held the camera up and we took turns saying an animal or person. With no reaction time allowed, I snapped each photo of our first response. Here are a few of our favorites.

Fish!

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Rabbit!

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Horse!

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Elvis Presley! (Done poorly)

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Jim Carrey!

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Wrapping up our game and realizing we were providing the free entertainment for the other passengers, we’re back to the hostel. Traveled, fed, happy and tired… all for $13.40 total. Perfect!

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Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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