We are making our way down the west coast of South America to our next port of call in Ecuador. Manta is the port. The next day we land at Guayaquil where we leave the ship for a six-day excursion to the Galápagos Islands and then Machu Picchu. Today on ship we are attending lectures to learn about Manta, the Incas, attending cooking demonstrations by a guest chef from Costa Rica, and watercolor class.
The guest chef is Jose Pablo Gonzalez who was a lawyer, turned chef. He studied in Paris and brought what he learned back to Costa Rica to develop dishes based on those he grew up with. He is a big proponent of using the rich variety of foods grown in Costa Rica. Above he made tortillas, topped with chicharrones and a slaw salad of fennel and red onions. I sketched Ron’s photo of a green iguana and painted it during watercolor class. The lesson was to use lots of layers of paint and build up the color. I’m still experimenting with how much ink to use in addition to the watercolor.
Tonight was another Gala Night, so we dressed up in our suits. But it was also Panama Hat night. We were each given a Panama hat at dinner (both of ours were too large). Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador and popular with the men who worked on the Panama Canal… thus the name. It is said that a real Panama hat can be rolled up, passed through your wedding ring, and then unwound again. The hat was popularized by FDR when he visited Panama. In front of the dining room, the penguins showed up again wearing Panama hats! The dinners were amazing… Ron had lamb and I had filet mignon with a lobster ravioli.
During the night, we actually crossed the equator. If you look carefully, you can see the transition from 1 minute North to 1 minute South.