Manta & Montecristi

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Cloudy and dribbles of rain

1 cup o good coffee (no Nescafe!)

So much has happened in so few days. After arriving in Quito and sleeping for a few hours in the morning, we walked around and went to a tiny hole in the wall desayuno joint. Breakfast consisted of 2 juevos fritos, pan, mantequilla, really bad Nescafe instant coffee (us San Franciscans are so spoiled), half a avacado (muy bien), and a fresh cup of jugo. Que bueno!

Then, we took a couple crowed buses to the Mitad Del Mundo, which is the center of the world, litterally. It´s the point on the equator where the latitude and logitude lines start, so ¨0 o o¨. It was quite beautiful.

Straddling the Equator!

We also went down an elephant slide.

From there, we got on a long, hot, 10 hour bus ride, sin baño (without a bathroom), to Manta, which is on the West Coast of Ecuador. We checked into quite the authentic hostal in Manta and had breakfast, which was similar to the breakfast in Quito but without avacado and with a strange, thick, fig jam. We asked for hot water instead of ordering coffee and busted out our own French press and artisan coffee from Other Avenues in San Francisco. Dorks.

Next we took a short cab ride to Montecristi, the only place in the world that sells fino straw hats. How excited we were. Montecristi was nestled on a hillside, a beautiful plaza and church in the center.

The Church

We followed very vague directions given to us by our predecessor, Michael Harris, and confirmed by Paul 4 when she was here in April, and easily found the tienda de Rosendo Delgado.

Rosendo Delgado is easily one of the most well known and acclaimed people in the straw hat business left.

Rosendo and his family were working on hats in the main room of the store, and barely stopped working to converse with us. His wife Victoria remembered Paul 4, and immediately took us in her car with a stack of straw bodies to her house.

Paul 3 and I then proceeded to look through what may have been hundreds of hats to find the best of the best to bring back to our waiting customers in San Francisco.

Oh the smell of straw!

Hats acquired, we made a few more stops and then back to our hostal in Manta. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Estamos muy contentos y felices.

– Paul 1