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Maria called an attorney today that advertised he did immigration law. When she got on the phone and explained our case, he said “I’ve never done that, but I can read the law and help you. Just come here and tell me what to do.” We decided we would stick with the attorney her family knows.

One of the requirements for my visa is a medical exam. Supposedly the Red Cross would do it for me. I went this morning with Maria’s father. I asked at the information desk about having the exam done as well as the necessary HIV test. The lady told me go to another window. I explained again what I needed and she told me to go upstairs. I went upstairs and the lady upstairs told me they only do the HIV test, nothing else, and that I should go back downstairs and pay the required fee. I did, got the test, and left.

We then went downtown so I could pay a fee to the Department of Defense that is required to get the visa. What this fee is for or why it is required nobody can really explain. So I arrived at the information window that is for the public and explained I needed to pay a fee. The official told me that I could only pay the fee if I had a national ID card and a receipt from the Census. You have to register with this Census as a way for the government to keep track of the number of foreigners living in the country. But you can’t do any of this without first having your visa in hand. This I explained. “Asi es,” was the reply. “So it is.” So many things defy logic yet nobody seems to either recognize this fact, or care that there is no logical explanation.

Later we checked with the attorney about these two issues, and he was surprised to hear that the Red Cross would no longer do the medical exam, and also surprised to hear that the Ministry of Defense would not allow me to make a payment. One regular feature of life here is that rules and regulations seem to change arbitrarily from day to day and from person to person.

Instead of posting here about Ecuadorian food, I am going to be using my other blog
to discuss Ecuadorian foods. The link to this blog is also available on my blogroll on the right-hand column.

For those interested in what´s going on in Quito, and as a resource for anyone travelling here, I will be adding links to and discussing several of the best sites (both on the web and physically speaking) for entertainment and cultural activities in Quito. Please see my Blogroll section for the websites.

This morning we took Sebastian to the Quito Botanical Gardens, which is definitely one of the highlights of the city. Relatively new, the entrance fee is $2.It is an oasis of beauty and quiet in what is mostly a fairly noisy and somewhat unkempt city.

My favorite part of the gardens was the greenhouse, where they have a great collection of orchids and other tropical plants. Since Ecuador has such a wide variety of climates, ranging from the Amazon jungle, to the high altitude paramos or grasslands, to the tropical desert and humid regions of the coast, there is a lot of variety within a very small geographical area. The botanical garderns cover most of it with the exception of the Amazon.

From there, just a two minute walk away, was the vivarium, which has a collection of native reptiles and amphibians. We saw poisonous tree frogs from the coast, pythons and boa constrictors from the Amazon, other non-venomous snakes from the coastal and mountain regions, and turtles and frogs from the Amazon. It’s a good idea to visit both the Vivarium and Botanical Gardens as either one of them gets you a discount for the other.

Click on the photo below to see the album


We spoke to a friend of the family who is an attorney to start the process of getting my visa and residency. I had to go get photos taken so I walked over to the Civil Registration Office, where they have lots of photo vendors next door.

Immediately I spotted a place and headed right towards it. Along the way, several people asked if I needed help getting my ID card, photocopies, or photos. All these people are there to supposedly help you-for a fee of course. Since it’s such a tangled bureacracy, these are what we would call “expediters” in the US. I made the mistake of telling one lady I did need photos; I was only about 15 feet away from the photo stand and it was in plain sight when I told. She pointed me along as if I couldn’t have found it if it were right in front of me.

When I was done getting my photos, she immediately stepped up and said to me “I sent you here, didn’t I?” right in front of the lady who handed me the photos. She wanted to be sure to let her know she had sent me here, obviously hoping for her little commission. I said “No, I found it myself,” which obviously caused her great indignation. She said “Que horror!” as if I had broken all rules of propriety, in an attempt to shame me into admitting that no, I couldn’t have found it without her valuable help. This seems to be a typical Ecuadorian trait when it comes to people trying to “help” you, especially when dealing with bureaucracy.

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Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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