Sunday, September 26, 2010

Residency Process in Quito

Our attorney contacted us to let us know that all the paperwork had been approved and that we could fly to Quito and meet with her on Thursday at 9:30. Our friends Clarke & Brennie also had to fly to Quito to get their paperwork done, but were going to go on Wednesday. Being the free spirits that we are, we decided to fly up on Wednesday and "play" a bit in the new part of Quito.

Luckily for us Clarke & Brennie got done early and we were able to hang out with them for a few hours, commiserate with them about the issues they had, and send them on their way to the airport when a huge rain storm began. We checked out a mall and then caught a taxi back to our hotel.

A bit of backtracking here. We have always stayed in the old part of Quito before, so we did a bit more researching and decided to look for a place in the new part of Quito. Randy picked out a cute boutique hotel called the Eugenia. It is on the historic register, and close enough to the main part of the new town to be great for walking. Also there was a king size bed, HOT showers with Massive pressure and they let us check in at 8:30 that day! We were not suppose to check in until 12:30... so I thought that was pretty nice. Me, being the sleeper that I am, immediately took a 2 hr nap.

After we returned from town and our meeting up with the Greens, we realized we were hungry. We had spotted a Burger King around the corner from our hotel so we indulged. Randy also was sweet enough to go down and buy a bottle of wine in the restaurant, so we had quite a interesting meal... burgers and wine!

 Thursday morning  we were in the attorneys office at the appointed time. A hour later her assistant arrived to tell us that she had been at the government office and they were closed. Apparently there was a very important offical who had a birthday that day and they all got the day off... lucky us.. Rebecca, the assistant seemed as confused by this as us, but told us that there was nothing that could be done and we would have to wait until tomorrow to continue. At this point I am thinking it was a good thing Randy booked our flight back in the afternoon on Friday.

Friday Morning... we are waiting in the lobby at 9am. We were to hear from and be picked up by Rebecca sometime between 9-10. 10:05 I called our attorney, she says that the person who was picking up our passports and bringing them to her office had not arrived. He was to be there in 30 minutes. When she got them she would call us back. 11:00 our attorney calls and states that we are to get into a taxi and she will tell him the address, and that we would be taken to the Censo office. Once there we are to get a number and wait, the assistant, Rebecca, would meet us there.

11:30..we arrive at the Censo office and wait in line. Once we reach the offical, we tell him we need a # for the Censo. He rattles off something at lightspeed and realizes we do not understand. So he writes on a piece of paper... 14:30..what? So after some pantomine and limited Spanish/English we determine that he will not give us a number and we are to come back at 2:30. Well crap.. so we walk outside to regroup and wait for Rebecca. At this point a very nice lady officer, speaking wonderful English, asks if she can help... She gets our numbers for us.. explaining that there were 12 others in front and he just thought we didnt want to wait...hahah.

12:30 our number flashes on the screen. We are immdiately refused because our documents are not in manilla envelopes with our pictures on the front with our pertinent info written on the outside. Rebecca trys her best to push through this but he is firm... so out the door she goes to get manilla envelopes, where upon she writes in spanish what we need to fill in...then she gets glue from somewhere and pastes our little itty bitty pictures in the corner... He is happy now. $4 later we get our Censo and we are off to catch a cab to go to the Cedula office.

Now I have to say, that I may take a bit of a tone occasionally, but you must understand, we as humans expect those who are "taking care of us" to know all the rules... some times that is not the case. They are only human after all and the rules changes very rapidly here in Ecuador. So that said, I will continue with this saga.

We get to the Cedula office, and its HUGE. Its about 1:30.. Rebecca is rushing hither and yon (on 4 inch heels) finding the correct office for us to get in line... I guess while we were in the Censo office, Gabriela (our attorney),  was in line getting us the number that we needed in the Cedula office. We get to the area that we need, wait about 30 minutes and its our turn..We get 2 seconds of his time and he realizes that we do not have photo copies our our new Censo and the Visa stamp in our passport. Rebecca trys to push through again but he is adamant and we are back to sitting and she is off to find the photo copy station. At this point I am hearing Jeapordy music, so I breathe deeply and dive into my Kindle to read and avoid the stress that is building. (Note our flight takes off at 3:45). Rebecca returns and we dive in front of any oncoming persons to get back into see "the man" who will determine if our paperwork is order.. Again he finds that my paperwork that the attorneys office made is missing my middle name. This won't work as the Censo and passport both have my middle name. Rebecca again trys to push through, but he is even more adamant. We go back to sitting while she takes the documents, finds a cab and goes over to some other office to get the document corrected. Its about 2:30... Randy is really handling it pretty well. I am wishing I could take his valium.. Rebecca comes back and is very happy that they were able to make a quick fix on the bottom with new stamps and signatures from the authorizing person. So back we go, push in front of everyone who has a number way beyond our numbers and he authorizes our documents to go to another office.

Randy knowing we will not make it to the airport in time has Rebecca call and find out about moving out our flight. Because the airline is new, they did not have a number that could be found...great... No problem she says, its no problem. Randy says, "Yes it is. You will come to the airport with us and talk with them so we know what needs to be done about getting out of here today". I think at this point Rebecca understood that we were nearing the end of our patience and we had one more office to get through. She agreed.

It is now after 3 pm. The folks in these offices take alot of heat from very unhappy folks who are being told that their documents are not in order. So I have to say, they really are polite through it all. Our next station is more intense in that they take finger prints and ask your husbands name, what your birthday is, and parents names. Then they run all this info into their computer, take your photo, and tell you to take your fingerprints to another office to be checked... huh? So Rebecca takes me (Randy is at another station doing the same as me, but has yet to get to the fingerprints) to an office where a lady comes out... looks at the 3 copies of prints, checks them off with a pencil checkmark, and hands us back two of the copies...
We return to the lady who now takes all the fingerprints and photos all over again... why I have NO idea...apparently all is well, she smiles and tells me that in 4 working days I can come back and get my Cedula...oh joy.

Randy is lagging a bit behind because his fellow was not able to find the city that Randy was born in (some place in England) on his computer....too small.. So Rebecca talked and talked and finally talked him into putting Liverpool down as his place of birth, because they had it in their computers... OMG..then he warned Randy to remember that he was now born in Liverpool when he renews his Cedula..

It's late, the doors are locked and I think we are the last of about 20 people in the whole building.... its also after 4 pm.. flight is long gone... Rebecca takes us to the airport and we find the Air Cuenca airline to be very understanding and say that there is no fee as we are flying out on the same day... we just have to wait for 3 hours before our flight leaves...ok... we can do that... been doing it all day.

We immediately found a Cafe to eat... breakfast at 8 am was along time previously..and I was about to get REAL mean. Then we just hung out and people watched.  We were very happy to get home and relax, and know that its all done... a pain but its done.


  1. Sounds like the best part of your Quito adventure was the time spent with Clarke and Brenda.

  2. Sorry lady. Now that your documents have been compromised by posting them on the internet... you must be finger printed... again. =)
    Love your stories cuz!!

  3. Well welcome to Ecuadorian "efficiency"! One thing I find in EC is that folks would rather give you a wrong answer than none at all. Considered rude I guess not to try! Viva!

  4. Thanks for the play by play. I was feeling the tension. I will try and learn from your experience for my oun attempt next year.

    It really would make a great TV reality show, a day long thing with random cream pies in the face and falling (being pushed) into the dunking tank.

    another reminder that I MUST get my Spanish up to speed ASAP.


  5. OH MY RANDY! What an experience....So you can use a KINDLE there - broadband?

  6. Yes, Sherri, we love our Kindles. Makes an excellent retreat from stressful situations. Also in case anyone is interested, Ipads and Blackberrys work too (blackberries of a certain type.. you have to have the ones for Latin America, bandwidth you know..)