For days now they’d been walking the same route from their hotel to the “downtown” tourist drag of Puerto Ayora with all the restaurants. They’d come to know the route pretty well. One thing that had intrigued them every time they walked past was one of the many little corner tiendas in town. Why? Because this one was different. This one had style. This one has panache. This one had…chocobananas. All of the other tiendas were jealous, as they had only red freezers filled with boring imported ice cream bars and popsicles. Not so the chocobanana, but it was only on their last night in the Galapagos that Lizz and Jared finally realized it.
Fact: The chocobanana is handmade. This is evident because it has no wrapper.
When they walked into the store that last night, after a delicious dinner, Lizz was hoping for an ice cream bar. Jared had only one desire. Chocobanana. The name danced on his tongue, like the sprinkles on the tip of a chocobanana. Jared asked the proprietor of the tienda, who also, surprisingly, turned out to be the host at their hotel a couple of blocks away, if there was ice cream on the premises.
The storekeeper furrowed his brow. “No,” he said, stepping to the large chest freezer, big enough to hold half of a steer, “but we do have chocobananas.” He raised the lid. Brilliant, unearthly light streamed out, temporarily blinding them. Before them, stacked like gold bars in Fort Knox, were hundreds of chocobananas, waiting silently, patiently, knowing that someone would eventually come for them. The storekeeper took one out, the thin stick pressed tightly between two fingers and held it out for the pair to examine. “One?” he asked.
Jared plucked the frozen delight from the hands of the kind young man eagerly, turning to Lizz with eyebrows raised and a question on his lips. Lizz sighed, knowing that there were no other stores with ice cream between the tienda and the hotel and said, grudgingly, “Two.”
Jared pulled out a ten. “How much?” he asked, expecting three, four dollars perhaps – how could it be any less?
“One dollar,” said the storekeeper, smiling.
Jared calculated quickly – it was only 50 cents a piece! He could hardly believe it – the chocobanana felt so heavy in his hand. It must be worth more, he thought. Was this a trick? He was suddenly unsure of whether the object he held was chocolate, banana, or some beautiful, cosmic marriage of the two. Something special gave it its considerable heft, to be sure, but it didn’t matter. It was his now, his precious. Eagerly, he handed over the money and pocketed the pile of small bills, so hard to come by in South America. Lizz rolled her eyes. Strolling away, they bid the proprietor “Buenas noches,” and began to consume their prizes.
Fact: The chocobanana, contrary to popular belief, is not ice cream. It’s a frozen banana dipped in chocolate with sprinkles on the tip.
Lizz was dismayed, though not surprised, as the chocobanana appeared exactly as advertised on the outside wall of the tienda.
“I know,” said Jared.
“It’s so cold on my teeth. It hurts,” said Lizz.
“I know,” agreed Jared, gleefully.
“It’s melting on my hand,” said Lizz.
“I think it’s just sweating,” said Jared.
Lizz’s scowl deepened. “I hate this,” said Lizz.
“It’s a chocolate banana,” said Jared.
Fact: It is unwise to eat a sweating chocobanana on a bed with white sheets, for reasons that should be quite obvious.
When dessert was finished, Jared smiled and turned to Lizz. “You know what the best thing about the Galapagos is?”
Lizz glared. “Tortoises?” she said. “Penguins? Flamingoes? Marine Iguanas?”
Jared shook his head, giving an impish grin. “I think you know.”