I think I finally have the secret of avoiding the constant harassment from taxi drivers looking to score a fare. Remember what I said about all the one way streets that seem to be the norm in South American cities? Well, if you walk with purpose facing the flow of traffic the cabs, even in Manta will ignore you. I checked it out on five different streets. Walk with traffic and all the roaming cabbies slow down and honk. Walk facing them, which is opposite the direction in which they are traveling? They figure you are not looking for a ride and keep on going. Voila! Instant peace.
Speaking of cab drivers, I don’t see how they make money. Fuel is obviously expensive and cruising around looking for fares has to be burning up more than what it costs to run. But who am I to question the obvious local wisdom which says that the next huge fare is just around the next corner should you be the lucky one to get there first.
Meanwhile, I hiked up to the new shopping center and wandered around. Walking dozens of the local streets, the architecture seemed much the same as the Chilean and Argentinian port towns which we have seen. Square buildings, one to three stories and the occasional balcony along with a fair share of graffiti.
Didn’t get a chance to hit the usual location for tourist Wifi since it seems that the COL doesn’t keep his server up, much less dish up chicken, fish or empenadas on a Sunday. The local Cultural Museum was free and featured a number of local artists. What was even more amazing is that their conference center, although not open, had a small route that was up and not password protected. I very carefully hung out on the first level and hid my phone whenever anyone happened to come by since the signal wasn’t all that strong. It did let me check email, pull a couple of books to my kindle app and WhatsApp with what ever family members were up and about.
I headed back to the ship fairly early since it was both warm and extremely humid. And wouldn’t you know it – the same people who had been complaining about the cold early in the trip while they stood in line to get back on the ship. It was much more entertaining to watch the fishing vessels being unloaded. Obviously fishing is a major industry which operates the week around. Net after net of fish were being brought up from the vessel’s hold and unloaded into waiting containers prepositioned on flatbeds. Watching fog come off of the net I realised that this was no small undertaking since the fish were between four and five feet long and stiff as boards. Flash frozen obviously as one of the workers posed for the cameras with a fish almost as tall as he was.