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Cross-continental moves deserve their own special place in hell. While I’m busy apartment hunting, job hunting, and generally tearing my hair out, Brendan O’Brien has stepped in to pick up the slack and regale you with tales of our  adventures in Ecuador and the delicious fish tacos he and Colleen whipped up during a power outage. Skills. Thanks Obi! 

You’re probably asking yourself, “Who’s this guy?” Don’t worry about it. My wife and I are the “couple of friends” Katrina and Gaspar were waiting for in Lima because they were too scared to sacrifice a guinea pig on their own. That little sucker had the most delicious skin.

After departing Los Órganos in Peru, we found ourselves stuck crossing the border into Ecuador for between 4 and 5 hours in sweltering heat. Upon being released to frolic in their country, we immediately purchased beer, deli meats, cheeses, bread and mustard and proceeded to have a picnic in the parking lot of a supermarket. Feeling ultra-classy and well fed, we continued northwest for another 10 hours until we landed in a town called Manta, at a hostel in the part of town where clean rooms are few and prostitutes are many.

Weary bones rested, the next morning we drove the few miles left to our next bungalow in Crucita, a small fishing village with gorgeous beaches, glassy waves and fish tacos.

Crucita, unlike many of the other towns we visited, is not centered around a main plaza. No, no. This is a fishing village and the strand along the beach is the only place to be. As you head along the strand, one side of the road is occupied by restaurants with seafood so delicious it felt criminal to pay Ecuadorian prices, and on the other side is a straight 10 foot drop to the beach with neither guard rail nor inch to spare. All along that beach are wooden pavilions with thatch roofs, filled with long sturdy wooden tables (so sturdy that the tide actually comes up and washes over them every day, so at least I knew they were clean). As the boats are dragged up onto the beach, the day’s catch is unloaded directly into these pavilions where they are butchered, bagged and sold within minutes. This gringo decided that fish tacos were in order. Sadly they were sold out for the day and we were informed that 8am is the absolute latest you should arrive if you expect there to be any fish left.

The following morning, Gaspar and I rose early and arrived back at the fish market promptly at 8:15. Out of the dozens of tables where fish were to be butchered, there was only one left with any fish. A fellow was hacking heads and fins into pieces I assumed would be used for bait and to his left was a pile of filets stacked two feet high. It looked at first to be Red Snapper, a favorite of my wife’s, but when we asked what kind it was we were told “dorado,” a name we had never heard before. I expected more from my dark-skinned translator. For shame, Gaspar. We purchased four pounds of this fresh meat for a grand total of $15 and took a final glance at the heads to see if we could identify it later on Google. The Google machine quickly returned results of Mahi-Mahi. Bless you, Ecuador, bless you.

This is likely the part where I am supposed to go into details about ingredients and such, but I have never been a fan of cookbooks and measuring cups and have always preferred grabbing whatever is at arm’s-length and eyeballing a measurement. So let’s allow some pictures do their 1,000 words things.

The preparations.

The preparations. The beans bubbling away in the top right photo included chunks of fresh coconut – the very coconut whose cold agua is being enjoyed in a photo below. Waste not, want not.

Photo of the spread, taken in the pitch black bungalow during a power outage. You don't need to see, to eat.

Photo of the spread, taken in the pitch black bungalow during a power outage. You don’t need to see to eat.

Fish Tacos

The delicious final product.

Other highlights of Crucita included my first time drinking Coconut Water straight from the Coconut.

Coco Helado

And this…

Crucita Ecuador Pool View