La Bella Crucita, Thursday, 02/07/2019

“Isn’t that funny Nilla, the air conditioner is working while Kleber is here – isn’t that the way.”

“I wonder for how long.”

“What about the immigration confusion discussed last night at Ramblas?”

“I think that the Ts have discovered some interesting websites and looked at the ‘Human Mobility Act’ that went into effect in 2017.  It still is not absolutely clear how and when to apply for a ninety day extension though.  It appears in reality that one can only stay eighty-nine days on the ‘free’ ninety day tourist visa.”

“That might be a problem for Aventurero, as he is leaving on day ninety.  We’ll have to let Aventurero know when he comes for dinner this evening.”

“Any thoughts for the topic of the day?”

“I was thinking about chocolate.”

“That’s not a bad idea Jackson.  You’ll have to work on that while I try to buy some shallots and parsley.  Did you know that the word ‘cacao’ was misspelled ‘cocoa’ long ago?”

“Yes, off course.  Did you know that Ecuador has been recognized as the largest ‘Fine Aroma’ cacao producer in the world?  Europeans (Swiss chocolatier per legend while traveling on the Guayas River) encountered the wonderful floral-fruity aroma cacao beans and asked where they came from.  ‘Arriba’ was the reply – up the river.  From that time on the cacao has been called Cacao Arriba.  Cacao grew wild in the Amazon basin until cultivation in early colonial times.”

“We have discussed the importance of shrimp, petroleum, coffee to the Ecuadorean  economy, how does cacao compare?”

“Nilla, in 1779 through 1842  Ecuador experienced its first significant cacao exportation. Historically cacao exports have increased and declined but now, Ecuador supplies more than sixty percent of the world’s fine flavor cacao and contributes more that seven hundred million dollars to the country’s economy.”

“How does Ecuador rank in cacao production with other Latin American countries Jackson?”

“Ecuador is the most competitive.  Evidence from archaeological sites indicates that it was used in the pre-Hispanic period approximately five thousand  years ago.”

“I am aware of it’s anti-inflmmatory properties.  I’ve also heard that it is promotes circulation, stimulates endorphins, releases serotonin to improve brain function and concentration and, is an anti-depressant.”

“Similar to the impact of environment on the coffee bean, the cacao bean flavor and size depends on the environment in which it is grown.  Esmeraldas, one of the poorest provinces in Ecuador, previously not thought to have good cacao growing conditions is now cultivating prized cacao, a boost for local farmers.”

“Coffee and chocolate, yummmm.”

“Pacari, an Ecuadorean chocolate company has won international awards.”

“Floral, fruity nutty flavor, the prestigious label – ‘Fine Aroma’ summarizes Ecuador’s cacao.”

“Indeed Nilla.”

“The Ts are back from the trip to venticinco and the produce tienda.  Bad news, no shallots or parsley.  I’ll have to make due with scallions and a little cilantro.”

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“It’s almost 4:30 Nilla – you’ll need to hurry with the prep work.”

“I forgot the dry white wine.  I’ll send the Ts out for some.”

Dinner is ‘excelente’ per Aventurero.  The discussion of the visa extension process remains concerning and confusing.  Aventurero is leaving on day ninety, not sure what that means regarding his plans to return. Further inquiries are needed for sure. Diego and Pelicano’s roof looks pretty good from the malecon as the Trio walks by on the way to Ramblas.  Ramblas is empty at 7:15 PM.  More internet exploration reveals little answers.  Diego shows up, Pelicano is too tired to come.  Well past 9:00.  Time to walk back to Las Dunas and crawl into bed.

“Jackson, guess what’s not working?”

“The AC?”

“Yup, good night.”

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