We're getting close to the end of the chaos with hook-up day. We had arranged to have the blinds installed, clothes dryer guy come back to fix the vent connection, electrician to come by to install an outside light that needed doing, a cable guy & internet guy to come by to hook us up to Direct TV & look into internet and also delivery of the recliner we had purchased the other day. A gas guy was supposed to come by to check the gas connection to the clothes dryer (it's not working). Almost all arrived at regular intervals and set about their work ably directed by our young friend. The recliner delivery was supposed to be at 10:30 am. They arrived at 5:00 pm. The gas guy never showed up at all! The internet guy sent us a text message saying he'd come the next day, whereupon our friend phoned the internet provider (Grupo TVCable) and demanded they send an alternate, which they did.
After the hoards had left we sat dumfounded once again that so much swirling Spanish had happened around us. Shelley swept and washed cement dust (no wood frame in most new building) from the blind installation and then we set off on the bus downtown for a bite to eat. It was dark when we headed home. We stood at what we thought was the right bus stop until we started seeing the same buses coming a second time. Asking a young lady standing near by if the Number 14 stopped here, she indicated in halting English and us in even more halting Spanish that she wasn't sure but that her husband was meeting her to take her home. After discussion it turned out that we live in the same neighbourhood. She graciously insisted that they drop us off at our place.
"What a wonderful country this is!" Shelley exclaimed to Brian after we'd been dropped off.
"We'd do the same for a tourist in Canada under the same circumstances, wouldn't we?" Brian asked. "People like to be nice."
Shelley's been having bouts of homesickness, the last one resulting from lack of e-mail for several days between leaving Macondo and getting set up in the new apartment. Nothing serious and different things trigger it: a yowling cat on the bus made her wonder about how FloCat is doing, not having e-mail on Jaci's Birthday hurt. This is not unnatural and is to be expected but running into such friendly people sure helps to alleviate these bouts.
We received an e-mail from a contact through Ecuador Forums telling us that a residency card was not required to get a bank account, but that you had to establish your residency with the Bank by producing utility bills and a couple of letters of reference. Once our internet is up and running, we'll check with our lawyer & a couple more financial institutions. We've been getting e-mails from people reading the Blog and caution all (as our lawyer cautioned us): laws & regulations are changing rapidly in Ecuador right now and all procedures should be double checked. Also several people have inquired how to get in touch with our young friend. If you e-mail us at email@example.com close to the time you are in Ecuador, we will happily supply you with his e-mail address. We have checked with him and he is quite willing to assist others the same way he's helped us. Note: If you put a comment on the blog, we can publish the comment, but cannot respond to it.
The gas man finally came the next day and checked out the lines to our dryer. During construction, concrete got stuck in the line. This can be fixed and will be done. The contractor for the building came over with the gas man and assured us 2 cable systems were in the apartment and it should be no trouble to have internet and TV. In anticipation of getting internet in a couple of days we set off downtown to buy a small desk for our second bedroom.
While downtown we set up a PO Box. There is no home delivery in Ecuador. In discussion with our young friend, he told us his family doesn't even have a PO Box. The concept of living without mail is so foreign to us it took quite a bit of talking to convince us it can be done. "People pay their utility bills on time" he explained to us "or they get cut off. It's simple."
It's good we're getting to the end of the major settling in. It'll take weeks and months to get just the right pictures on the wall and all the little things that make a house a home, but that can only be done by wandering and discovering. We're getting tired. Even Brian's getting sick of constant shopping. After the internet goes in, we're paying our young friend a bonus amount and though he's assured us he'll be available for details, we won't need him on a constant basis anymore.
"I want to go to a nice Park and lie in the sun and read my book" Shelley tells Brian. "Soon" Brian says, "Soon".
The old saying goes "Be careful what you wish for" and the adage proved itself when the gas guy came by at 10:00 a.m. and chipped away cement for an hour and then told Brian (he thought) he'd be back in an hour. We finally phoned our friend at 4:00 p.m. and asked him to call and find out what was happening. Apparently the gas guy had told Brian he'd be back at noon the next day. We've got to settle in and start our Spanish lessons!
"I know I've been whining for a day off" Shelley told Brian "but I didn't mean to spend it wondering what was going on all day. I meant to go to a Park!"
We also got bad news regarding hook-up to internet. Apparently the Company we'd signed on for had taken our money but had failed to mention they didn't have the appropriate gear set up for this building. They're coming by in a few days to survey the situation and if they don't feel it's worth while stringing the lines (or whatever they have to do), they'll refund us our money. At that point we'll be reduced to some sort of telephone internet (not as good as cable).
Lastly, Brian set out to make our first home cooked meal in Ecuador (his spaghetti special) and realized it couldn't be done as we hadn't yet purchased a can opener for the tomato sauce. A day fraught with disappointment, Shelley got cranky. "I don't like Ecuador anymore! I miss the boat. I miss internet. I miss the kids" she lamented.
"You're not serious?" asked Brian, a worried look on his face.
Shelley smiled and explained she did miss the boat, miss the kids & miss internet but mostly she was just hungry and cranky after a long day of waiting. "Let's go eat"...and we did.
We bought a can opener while we were out.