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We finally did get our car registered, about a month ago. We found yet another “tramitador” or expediter, who took the paperwork and said he’d say what he could do.

The problem was the police insisted that the original import documentation from the Ecuadorian Customs Corporation had to be altered in order to register the vehicle. Of course, this was impossible, as these were documents issued years ago, and can’t be altered.

Our expediter managed to get a letter from the CAE (Ecuadorian Customs Corp), stating that the documents could not be altered. He then presented this to the police, along with all the other documentation, which was fully in order.

They registered the car without further protest. It cost us about another $150. “Ganas de joder no más¨ as they would say here, that is something akin to “just being jerks.”

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. 

We, well, my designer, finally got the website for the company up a few days ago. Still a few typos and quirks to work out, but we’d be delighted for you to go see it. Definitely the visuals are the strongest point. I like the simple, uncluttered look of it-the photos speak for themselves. We’re not total perfection, the product is handmade and there’s no shame there. Please pass it on to your friends and if you’re not in Quito and plan to come, please visit. If you’re in Quito and haven’t come over yet, then do so right away.

Usually I’m too tired or too interested in doing something other than writing when I get home these last few weeks. We’ve been working pretty much six days a week, especially since we have a weekend event nearly every week from now to the end of the month. We are also expecting, with great anticipation, several large orders from companies for their Christmas baskets that is customary to give out to employees and VIP clients.

I’d rather take the risk of producing and not being able to sell, than not producing and not being able to supply at the last minute. The latter would cost me more money than the former in lost sales, so we are just producing as much as we can right now.

Last weekend we had the Christmas Bazar at the Marriott hotel here in Quito. Sales weren’t as good as I hoped, but it seems that many people do their looking at these sales and shop later. Since many Ecuadorians receive an extra month’s salary at the end of the year, as required by law, most of them don’t make their purchases until December. Most of the big chain stores allow you to reserve stuff on layaway and pay later, since no one has money until December. So we had a lot of lookie-loos and hopefully will have many of them showing up during December.

We’re in discussions at the moment with a large hotel chain to regularly supply them with truffles and bonbons, as well as with another small hotel and exporter of cacao products to supply them with truffles at least during the holiday season. If either of these work out it will be a good start.

Going to the doctor here is nothing like in the US. We go to a medical center just 100 meters down the street from my in-laws to see the pediatrician. When you show up at the lobby area, you let the receptionist know you´ve arrived. There aren´t twenty kids with hacking coughs, runny noses, and other childhood ailments plaguing the area. Maybe three or four other people are around waiting to see different doctors of different specialties. That is, this is not a pediatrician clinic with several doctors seeing several different kids-I don´t think they exist here.

We might wait ten or fifteen minutes but usually the doctor is on time. Once he´s ready to see you, you go into his office which consists of his desk, file cabinet and computer, separated by a small partition where he has his examination table and other instruments. Usually we spend 20 or 30 minutes chatting about the children, among other things, while he does the regular checkups or whatever you´re there for. He also has a couple of toys and puzzles on shelves for the kids to play with while talking.

When we went last week, our daughter went pee on the floor while she was being changed. No big deal…the doctor calls the janitor, he comes in with a mop and some bleach and cleans it up. Need a vaccine? If the vaccine clinic next door isn´t open, the doctor may have it and gives the shot himself. No nurses here. He´ll note down in his records the vaccine and keep it in his file drawer…no massive sliding file shelves for the 3,000 patients at the clinic.

The doctor moves back and forth between his desk and the exam area as needed, occasionally entering some notes on his computer, or writing up medications and dosages if needed. Oftentimes the visit lasts as long as an hour.

When we´re finally done, we shake hands, say our greetings and head back to the lobby to pay. $25. Need I say more?

If only healthcare was like this in the other places!

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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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