Visiting Ecuador

A Day Trip To Ballenita And Farallón Dillon (continued)

 
This is the plaza of the estate; if you walk to the left, you come to the bar/restaurant.  


 
Building detail; this is a corner of the restaurant building.  

While we were sipping our cool refreshment and enjoying the view, a woman approached us and began chatting. She was dressed informally but in a refined and composed way, as someone who enjoyed casualness but still wanted to present a dignified appearance. She was clutching a bunch of lemons, perhaps to make more lemonade. In her conversation she was friendly yet self-assured, and she chatted for a while and eventually suggested that perhaps we would like to try the calimari (fried squid). We agreed and ordered and she walked away. I was struck by what a perfect picture she made—with her hat and blue blouse, modest jewelry and an armful of lemons. All the while she radiated graciousness and friendliness—you could see it plainly in her facial expression. I thought she was quite charming.

While we were waiting, all of a sudden a man walked up and began talking with us in Spanish and broken English—it was the sea captain himself. He had a tool in his hand and had come from his workshop bare-chested, his skin a dark bronze color. He had lively dark eyes and a pleasing face, with white hair and stubble befitting a retired sea captain. He sat down and told us of his life at sea, speaking in a confident yet jocular manner. He had sailed all over the world, making numerous circumnavigations. Much of his captaincy had been spent navigating Asian waters, handling all the demanding tasks required by maritime commerce. After he retired, he and his wife (the woman we met earlier) turned their estate into a showpiece of personal expression and opened it to visitors, hiring staff to operate the bar, restaurant, and small hotel. As he spoke of his estate and his retirement after decades of service at sea, his face radiated the satisfaction of a life well-spent and the happiness of a comfortable retirement.

As our food arrived, the captain got up and bid us "Enjoy!" then walked off to resume his work. The calimari was delicious, perfectly prepared with tasty sauces; we all remarked how good it was. We washed it down with beers, and after paying our bill, got up to leave. As we walked off the verandah, a staff member came over to us and asked us to return—the senora wished to speak with us. We returned to a table where she presented us with complimentary glasses of a tasty local liqueur call Espiritu del Ecuador (the Spirit of Ecuador). She then showed us a book and some small objects she took from a cloth bag. The book was titled Shipwreck, and the objects were old Spanish coins. She opened the book and showed us a picture—it was her husband, the captain, with a massive silver ingot in his hands. The captain had discovered sunken treasure from a shipwrecked Spanish galleon, right off the coast of his estate! Talk about luck!

She also told us of living in the house while her husband was a sea captain. He would visit her but once a year; now they enjoy their retirement together. They were such an interesting couple, it was quite a pleasure to meet them and enjoy their gracious hospitality.

The woman (whose name was Yolanda) invited us upstairs to take a group photo and enjoy the sunset. She led us up the stairs (past the "Private" sign) and through their bedroom to a balcony overlooking the beach and ocean. We could see the sun setting over the point at Salinas, big fat and red, sinking into the horizon.


 
Marcie and David enjoying a cool refreshment on the estate's verandah.   A line of pelicans flying over the ocean.

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