Last week was relatively quiet, and I really liked that. I’m noticing that the traveling, although amazing, is also very tiring. One week of relaxing in Manta is no punishment at all. I’m also happy that next week, I’ll be staying in the same location not for one week, but three… I’ll tell you more about that later. First: my last week.
Do you also want to learn Spanish in Latin-America? Click here!
Last week, I was in the Amazon. Haven’t you read that travel blogpost yet? Click here to read it.
Monday: taking a minute…
A and I stay in the same host family, in an amazing house! This is typically a house that you would see on AirBnB, and immediately ook for your vacation. The house is big, the walls are white, and there is a pool. Unfortunately, the pool is empty, because it has to be cleaned and repaired.
Our host mom is very nice. She lives here, together with (we think) her three sons, all adults. They all live in a different part of the big house, and so they live on their own, but also as one big family. One of the sons has an ice cream store at the front of the house.
We started our day with Spanish lessons, which were starting at 8 a.m. A and I took the taxi to our school, because the walk is about 30 minutes. Fortunately for us, the taxi here is very cheap, only $1-$2 per ride to school.
In the afternoon, we were going to do an activity with the school, but the schedule of this week changed last minute. Now, we had the afternoon off. We went to lunch with all the students. I had a meeting at 2 p.m., so I went back to the school to work. R and L also went with me, to work on their own stuff; M went to the pool across the school for a swim; and F and A went to the supermarket and afterwards to the beach.
After I was done with work, R and L were also done, and M was done with swimming. We took a taxi together to the beach, to look for A and F. Then, we sat down at a restaurant together and played some card games.
Tuesday: cooking and workouts in Manta
Tuesday was a quiet day again. After Spanish lessons, which were from 8 a.m. to 12, we had a cooking class, from the wife of the manager of the school. She taught us how to make ceviche.
Ceviche is a dish with fish, and in this case also with tomato, onion, coriander, banana chips and a lot of lime juice. I don’t really like fish, but I have tried the dish. I didn’t really like it, so I mainly ate vegetables and banana chips.
In the afternoon, all of us went to the gym to work out. Yes, really. A and I were a little late, because we had to wait for our host mom to get home, so we could change into our workout clothes. We spend almost an hour in the gym. I’m very proud of us!
After that, A and I went to the host family of R, F, L and M. They are with four persons in their host family. The house has a rooftop terrace, and we sat there and talked for a bit. It was really nice, and the sunset was beautiful.
Wednesday: visiting Montecristi
The Wednesday was a little weird, because it went different than I thought. I also didn’t feel very well this day, and that also doesn’t help to make the most out of the day.
The morning started with Spanish lessons. Afterwards, we ate lunch at this supercute place right around the corner from our school. We taught M some Dutch, and he learns really fast!
Then, the plan was to go to a museum, and to do something with Panama-hats. I had certain expectations of this day, but they didn’t come true.
I expected that we would go to a museum with information about the history of Ecuador, or Manta, and with all kinds of old stuff and relics. This wasn’t the case. We got a guided tour that was really quick, from a guy who spoke Spanish really fast, in a space with an echo. We didn’t understand a lot of the information.
I didn’t hear a lot of the tour anyway. When the tour started, I asked our driver where the bathroom was… and he told me he’d show me. Turns out, the bathroom was outside of the building, across the parking lot. By the time I was back with the group, the guided tour was as good as finished.
After that, we drove into the town of Montecristi. The Panama-hats originate here. We all thought that we would get some kind of demonstration of how the hats are made, but no. Eventually, we just got one hour of free time to roam around the village. We decided to just sit down at a terrace, because there wasn’t a lot to see in the town anyway.
Thursday: taking it easy in Manta
When I woke up on Thursday, I immediately noticed: I still don’t feel very well. I was tired and I felt a little weak. I did go to the Spanish lessons, because I didn’t want to miss it. Hopefully, I would feel better later in the morning.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I decided to go to the supermarket with some of the others after class to get lunch, and then I just went home. When I got home, I tried to eat something, and then I slept the whole afternoon.
Today, the salsa lessons were on the schedule, but I missed it. I didn’t mind, because I didn’t really enjoy the salsa lessons in Quito that much.
When I woke up later in the afternoon, I felt much better!
In the evening, A and I sat outside on the terrace for a while after dinner, and we talked about all sorts of things. Then we went to bed kind of early, because the next few days were going to be really nice, but also really intense…
Friday: Paragliding and the sunset in Manta
Today was the day, finally, of the activity that I (and the other students) had been looking forward to: paragliding. We had to be lucky though, because this is only possible when the weather is just good. No rain, a little wind, but not too much. Exactly the right amount.
We drove to another town, about half an hour from Manta, and we were lucky! The weather was exactly right to paraglide, and so we did it! It was an awesome experience. Wanna know what it looked like? Click here.
PS. You might also be able to hear my Spanish a little in this video 🙂
After paragliding, we went back to Manta. F, R, M and L, who are all together in the same host family, went to a beach outside of Manta to watch the sunset. A and I wanted to join, but we couldn’t fit into the car.
That is why A and I went by taxi to another beach, in Manta itself. Here, we bought ourselves a drink in this cute cafe, and then we watched the sunset from the rocks on the beach.
It was so, so beautiful! The more the sun set, the prettier it got.
Saturday: snorkling at Isla de Plata
On Saturday, it was time for the trip of the week: a trip to Isla de Plata, where we would go snorkling. Isla de Plata is a small island belonging to Ecuador, with beautiful nature and particular animals.
At 7 a.m. we gathered at the Spanish school of Manta. From there, it was about one and a half hours by car to the harbour. We had to stop once on the way there, because one of the backpacks fell off the car while driving!
We started our boat trip to the island, which took about one hour. The boat rocked back and forth quite intensely, and produced a lot of noise, so we couldn’t really talk on the way there.
On the island itself, we did a hike from about two hours. When you visit the island, the main attraction are the special birds. The young ones are still fluffy and white, with white feet; the adults have blue feet. If you look closely, you can see that on the picture.
And what are these birds called? Boobies. Yes, really. I do not make this up.
After the hike, we went by boat for a few minutes, to a place where we saw huge tortoises swimming in the water. A little further, we went snorkelling. The water wasn’t very clear so we didn’t see that much, but it was still nice.
After this long day, we went straight to Montañita, the next destination of the trip, and also the final destination of the Traveling Classroom. Until next week!