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It took over six months to get my driver’s license here, despite the fact that I already had an Ecuadorian license. Except that it expired over 6 years ago. My first license-the expired one-I got with the help of the US Embassy when I used to work here. Since it was done through “unofficial” channels, the police here had no record of me ever having a license. The only evidence was the license itself.
Since so much time had passed and the laws have changed, I was supposed to take a driving course in order to get a new license. Didn’t matter that I had a license here, or that I have a US license, nothing mattered really. But that works both ways. With the right expediter, none of this mattered.But I did have to have my national ID card, which I didn’t get until just a few weeks ago, another experience you can read about here.
The day finally came to go to the police station, ask for such and such, tell him so and so sent me, and then have my picture taken and sign away and all would be taken care of.I went on the day before the Day of the Dead, a national holiday here, back in early November. But when I showed up, the police told me the driver’s license section was already on holiday and I’d have to come back on Monday.
So Monday I returned, this time with the expediter to accompany me. I got there before he did, asked for the cop I was supposed to talk to.He pulled all my papers out of a desk drawer, along with a couple of other people’s papers who obviously had some connections as well, and asked me to take a seat. Half an hour later, I sat down at a desk in the corner office with the photo equipment. The officer passed me a piece of paper with the ten question test on it and asked me to sign at the bottom-I didn’t have time to read the questions, and they couldn’t be bothered with testing me-I guess I would have had to pay them a bit more to be able to take the test. Oh well, too bad.
I signed, then sat back for my photo. Five minutes later I was out with my new driver’s license.