March 9th, 2012
Ecuador is not a very busy tourist port. We chose not to travel to Montecristi to see the “Panama hat” factory. Instead we were treated to a stop at a local supermarket where we could stock up on a few items we could not get on the ship or those items that were too expensive on the ship. In my case I was looking for Diet Pepsi and I found it. We also did a little shopping in an appliance store and a pharmacy where I purchased some cold medicine. Each of the bus tours we went on had the air conditioners turned up full blast and with getting ion and out of the buses, I developed a cold. Several passengers were suffering from the same “summer cold”.
Our second stop was at a school for artisans, where they taught many arts and crafts, including the weaving of the famous “Panama Hat” which was a big hit at the Worlds Fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. The name caught on even though the hats are actually mad in Ecuador and Montecristi in particular. The factory is also a misuse of the word as the hats are actually made in the homes of the Ecuadorians who make these very high quality hats. Some of them take six months to weave and cost several hundred dollars (US$). The best are called “superfine”. I purchased mine at the artisan stand in Manta and I am very happy at the deal I made. Not the very best, but a very fine example of the Panama Hat.
Zenetta purchased several items from the artists there. I also bought a penguin carved from red cedar as a curio. Very high quality in the textiles, arts and crafts in Ecuador. Peru and Chile also had very fine quality items for sale.
All in all a very enjoyable day in Manta Ecuador.
On to Costa Rica….