BAHIA DE CARAQUEZ, ECUADOR
While learning a new language, we all have moments that burn in our memories when we mistakenly insert a similar-sounding word in place of the correct one. The locals in Costa Rica still reminisce (with chuckles) when I stated that I was a man, instead of stating that I was hungry! Hombre – hambre; oh the difference one vowel makes! They also laughed when I bluntly stated with strong emphasis, “I NEED A MAN” (to help shovel truckloads of gravel!)
My most-recent Spanish-speaking blunder arrived last night, when University students joined locals and extranjeros at Museo Bahia de Caraques’s opening reception of the Mola Series. While explaining that the preColumbian Kuna Indians painted the designs on their bodies, I used the word for breakfast instead of naked!
Desayuno. Desnudo. Come on, I was close!
Several generous souls in the audience helped me through a few other stumbling blocks, but everyone seemed quite patient and forgiving!
The public reaction to the paintings continues to surprise me! Color certainly has a positive effect on people, and as Kate Murphy said at the Manta opening, “The paintings smile at you and make you smile back!” One dear lady invited me to attend a Ladies’ conference in Manta on Saturday; how I can be in two places at once is beyond my grasp at this moment, but if possible I will try to make her dream come true!
Speaking of dreams, last night was a Cinderella story for me, as my sleeping quarters were right here in the museum with priceless antiguas! My suite is almost as big as my home on the river, and I awakened this morning with a sweeping sunrise view of Rio Chone!
Being a good princess, I stayed in my suite until the formal opening hour of 8:00 a.m. and then asked the guard where I might find bolones for breakfast. He asked if I would reconsider and have encebollado instead. Encebollado! Yes! I have a growing file of encebollado photos for a future ‘What’s Cooking” post!
So, “What’s encebollado?” you might ask. When one tries to summarize it in a few English words, it’s reduced to ‘Tuna Soup,’ and that is a sorely-lacking way to describe it. Encebollado bursts with flavor yet is equally soothing. Not too thick and not too thin, it might be best described with a photo!
Traditionally, the chifles (paper-thin slices of fried green plantains) are served on the side, and most people crumble them into their soup. Today’s had finely minced cilantro on the top, with a squeeze bottle of fresh lemon juice on the table to add more flavor. Sticking to tradition, I joined the diners in community-style sharing of table space. “Buen provecho,” is the customary etiquette always spoken between diners!
My small bowl of encebollado, medium serving + refill of fresh grapefruit juice cost a whopping $1.75! I will surely never grow tired of the unique dining experience of encebollado!
Back at the museum, some of the staff and I gathered around the night watchman as he shared tales of museum ghosts! There’s a hauntingly comforting feeling to the second floor’s collection of antiguas, at least for me! Some of the guards strongly disagreed and confessed feeling spooked about the ghosts of the ancient relics!
The finale of the morning was witnessing a beautiful procession of people dressed in white to bring attention to their stand against crime. I spied the parade from my vantage point high in the museum, grabbed my camera and dashed down the steps and to the streets! The rest I will share in the next post!
For now it’s time to retreat to my quiet quarters in the guest suite. Perhaps I’ll have a new ghost story to share tomorrow!