We arrived at the hotel after watching our stuff get packed up and dissappear into one of those nameless, rusty, gaping things they call in moving lingo a “can”, short for container.
The cab driver didn’t know where it was until he looked at the map and double-checked the address. When we got near, he said “Why did you choose to stay at this hotel?”
“Because it was cheap.”
“Yeah, it’s a cheap area,” he laughed.
He left us at the curb with our 300+ pounds of luggage. I went to check in while Maria waited with Sebastian and Sabine. A friendly Indian girl greeted me like she was expecting me. I asked if a ground floor room was available but she said they were fully booked. We got a room on the third floor. At least there was an elevator.
The hotel is one of the marvels of 60s architecture, one of those structures shaped something like the beginning of a game of dominos, maybe a T with an L connected or something like that. The rooms all open out to the balcony/walkway, the floors connected by stairs and elevators. There’s a swimming pool on the back side with some brackish water at the bottom. When I first came up it looked like there was a family or maybe a cult group having a bible study on the lounge chairs down below.
The elevator is the elevator to Hell. It whines as it starts up, the fan changes tone, a telephone sounding “beep” goes off between each floor, and then all settles into quiet as it approaches its destination.
I opened the door to the room to that smell of old hotel, of thousands of days of use by an infinite number of beings, the smell of succesfull, frequent cleanings that somehow begin to leave their own old smell, an old just-cleaned smell.
Sebastian thinks the place is great and enjoyed the shower and the thin, sand-paper like towels they supply. I especially liked the shower curtain.
I braced myself for a whole morning of waiting at the Consulate. As usual, we entered and explained what we needed, and were greeted with a curt “Take a seat.” No indication of when, who or how the matter would be taken care of. Fifteen minutes passed, a half hour. Sebastian, our son, was hungry. I took him out and went up the street to one of those corner groceries with inch-thick plexiglass in front of the cash register area, where two Korean men sat flanked by cigarrettes, candies, rolling papers, and other stuff that could easily fit into someone’s pockets. We got a bag of potato chips and walked back to the consulate.
By then, they had attended to Maria and our stacks of paper were behind the desk being worked on. I had to go outside again with the kids, waited another twenty minutes in the car, and Maria came out, everything in hand. Another, and almost the last of, all the events leading up to the move, off without a hitch.
Ever try inventorying your entire house? If you are looking for a way to start an argument with your spouse or significant other, this is a good way to start it. Try listing hundreds of items, remember which ones you have listed and which ones you didn’tt as you try to list everything over a period of several weeks. Your spreadsheet gets several pages long and it’s almost as time consuming to go back and check what you have already listed versus what you need to list. Then try to remember you have listed something after it has been moved to a new location and several days have passed. Or move something without telling the other person first. This is a monumental task, but one best not performed by a team. We have had more arguments about the level of detail necessary and whether or not an item was or was not listed…
Funny how things seem to work out…Maria is putting in her notice tomorrow, and one of her colleagues left the office last week. Another one of her colleagues is also giving notice tomorrow. Her office is falling apart. This will leave only one employee, where there were previously four. We are hoping this will give her a good position from which to bargain and offer her services as a consultant. With her area of specialty in tight shortage (government contracting) her boss is already having a hard time finding people to fill just one position.
Tomorrow she will give notice, then her colleague will walk in and give notice. We are hoping her boss will come and ask her to stay on for a few weeks until he can find some replacements, to which her reply will be sorry, I already have my plane tickets but I can continue to work for you as a consultant from Ecuador, if you would like. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight!
We now have a date. We are settling on May 2, out of here on May 3. We will probably be going to California first for a few weeks before leaving for Ecuador.
Everything is a go. We have been doing a lot of shopping for towels, sheets, equipment for the business (chocolate stuff), clothes for the kids, etc. It’s painful to spend so much money but it will save us in the long run.
Passports came today in the mail, in less than ten days. Seems like Providence is on our side. I am getting medical checkup and other stuff done next week so that my visa can be processed.