Team Canada didn’t mind to be ready at 4 am to go to the Ecuadorian Coast. Yes, they were tired, but they were really excited to feel the ocean breeze on their faces.
Once in Manta, the first destination was Tarqui. Everybody went to see the fishing boats that were close to the shore. And, of course, the local food was present with its delicious variety: ‘patacones con sal prieta’- fried plantain with peanut salt-, ‘bolon de verde and huevo frito’ – fried plantain with fried eggs-, grilled fish and shrimp ceviche. Everybody was happy and full of energy to continue the journey.
Manta is known – in Ecuador and around the world- for having the best paja toquilla hats. Knowing this, we visited a family of ‘tejedores’ – knitters- who received us with joy, to explain us the whole process of elaboration. Team CA was very excited, even Benoit tried to learn the process. The manufacture of straw hats is an art!
But they day was far from over, so we went hiking to a footpath called el Pasaje del Mono en Pacoche. The hike was worth it, the contact with nature was amazing: the smell of the flowers and trees mingled deliciously. In the end, we saw the natural habitat of the howler monkeys, our reason to come here. Suddenly they were all over the place while we enjoyed watching them play and jump. Of course, we had been warned of the rules to visit these monkeys, because they like to play with visitor’s belongings.
At night, Team Canada was exhausted but still enjoyed a spectacular experience with a bonfire in front of the beach. Accompanied by a refreshing Ecuadorian beer, we were all happy that this was only the first day.