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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.