As I stare out the window of the bus, I watch a world passing by. It is moving quickly through my window and it’s incredibly different from my world today. Every time I visit my hometown of Chone, located in the province of Manabi in coastal Ecuador, I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like had I never left. Where would I be? Who would I be? I can only wonder.
Ecuador Travel – Chone
Here are few pictures to show what my hometown of Chone is all about. If you really want to see Ecuador traditions, check out our party video from New Year’s Eve in Ecuador.
This is a Chiva bus. It’s popular in Colombia and Ecuador and it provides very cheap transportation to nearby towns. They are very uncomfortable and get extremely packed with passengers hanging of the sides and back and even sitting on the roof.
As I kid I used to love eating water ice from these sales carts. The vendors scrape shavings from a very large solid block of ice with a hand held tool and then scoop it into a plastic cone. They pour sugar flavored syrup over the ice and top it off with some condensed milk for an extra punch of sweetness.
It is definitely not a tourist town, and Jason was always the only gringo around. Buildings like the one above are still common in the center of town. They are made of thin slices of wood called caña.
There are a few houses around that I can still remember which look exactly as they did when I was a kid.
Many of the side streets in Chone are still dirt roads, which makes the entire town dusty in the scorching coastal heat and muddy when it rains.
Chone is a very disorderly and dusty town and it becomes even more lively on Sunday when the campesinos (country people) head into town to shop at the crowded street markets.
Choneros (people from Chone) are friendly, speak very fast and are very loud especially when they laugh.
Food is also a very significant part of Chone’s culture. Choneros will tell you that they have the best foods in the coast. Below are some of Chone’s staple foods.
One of the most common snacks is Yucca Bread or Pan de Almidon. Street vendors sell them all over town and in the bus stations. It is Jason’s favorite. He ate over 15 of them during our weekend visit to Chone. The exterior is crunchy, while the interior is cheesy, moist and chewy and often hollowed out.
Choneros make everything out of green plantains. We have fried plantains, baked plantains, smashed plantains, grinned plantains, boiled plantains, sweet plantains. We make plantain soup, plantain stew, plantain tortillas, plantain empanadas….I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump.
Morcilla is also a local’s favorite. It sounds gross, but it actually tastes pretty descent. It’s pigs blood sausage stuffed with rice and spices. It’s usually eaten with some variation of plantains of course.
Plantain empanadas are made by first boiling raw green plantains, then after they become soft smash them, like you would when making mashed potatoes. You must work the plantain dough really well until it becomes pliable. Next, add salt and simply put cheese inside and fold it to make the half moon empanada shape. Then fry it. Before eating them I like to add some aji (spicy sauce).