Speaking of the “manana attitude,” we ordered breakfast (desayuno) from Juan Carlo yesterday morning. However, before we were allowed to order, he stood and quietly read the entire menu to us, stopping after each item to make sure we comprehended. We were each holding menus of our own, but apparently that would not suffice. His voice was so soft and sincere, he could have been telling us an Ecuadorian bedtime story.
Cautiously, we ordered the “desayuno Americano,” figuring it offered us the best chance of cleaning our plates without offending this gentle man. The coffee, like almost all coffee here, was freeze-dried Nescafe which was more drinkable than I had remembered. We had at least five or six cups apiece while waiting for Juan Carlo to prepare the breakfast. Twenty minutes later, he emerged with a large pitcher of milk. We politely waved it off, so he asked again, “No leche?” We confirmed that we were not milk drinkers. He said some other stuff and put a question mark on the end, looking at us hopefully. Diana can’t drink milk and Mike wasn’t budging so I said “Leche, por favor!” He actually seemed relieved as he poured it into a crystal teacup. It wasn’t until I tasted it that I realized it was hot. So now I was on the hook for making a respectable dent in a huge pitcher of heated milk, hating the thought of Juan Carlo sadly pouring the rest down the drain.
Next three large slabs of pineapple hit the table–the mainstay of every American breakfast–along with a large basket of random bread. And finally, almost three hours after we’d first sat down, scrambled eggs arrived looking more like omelets. We ate them happily as Juan Carlo literally made a minute-long speech, complete with heartfelt gestures and a partial bow at the end. I thought about asking him to do it again on video, hoping one of you guys could interpret for us, but decided the moment had passed. We thanked him and went back to eating while he generously refilled my milk cup.
An hour later when I dropped the key off in the lobby, I saw Juan Carlo taking orders for a large table. I waved as I walked by and he stopped me with a string of words I couldn’t understand. Abandoning his table, he walked over and asked me something. Pathetically, I made a walking motion with my fingers and told him we were leaving. He frowned and hung his head, asking something about my seniorita. I pointed out to the pool where Mike and Diana were configuring their packs.
Placing his pen and pad down, he walked with me to the pool. Multiple hugs and another speech later, I sincerely hoped his abandoned guests were on manana time as well.
By the way, that picture of Mike with Juan Carlo was taken twenty minutes later as he joined us in waiting for our taxi to arrive, insisting on making sure the driver was given accurate instructions.
Breakfast at Denny’s, it was not.