Saturday, October 16, 2010

All's Well with our World

On Monday when we went grocery shopping, we stopped at the Banco del Pacifico to try and get money.  This time the machine told us our card was unserviceable.  We then tried it at a Banco Austro machine and that machine gave us dollars.  On Tuesday, we had several chores to take care of so off we went downtown to visit yet another bank, Banco de Guayaquil.  We got the same message that our card was unserviceable.  Again we tried Banco Austro and got money.  Shelley's not happy.  She doesn't like being thousands of miles away from her "home" branch and wondering each day if we'll be able to get money.  No one we talk to seems to be having the same trouble and the card actually works some places, so we know it's not the magnetic strip that's worn out.  Brian's convinced it'll all go away and be just fine in time.  In any case, armed with a little cash we got our phone filled up and bought some flowers for a friend and then went to visit for an hour or so.  That afternoon, Brian went to the Doctor for his regular check-up to make sure everything is still OK after his operation.  He returned home in about an hour with a slip setting out all the tests he's suppose to get done the next day.

Brian bent down and gave Shelley a kiss.  She was still snuggled in bed.  He was off to the lab on Wednesday to get several tests done.  Shelley got up, had her computer time, did a load of laundry, watered the plants and swept the floors.  By that time Brian was back, so he held down the fort while Shelley & Fredi went out for a walk.  Arriving home Shelley found Brian on the computer talking to his friend Jan in Saudi.  Incidentally, while he was out Brian tried yet another Banco del Pacifico to see if our card would work and it did. we really don't know what to think.  We puttered around the house, Brian had a nap, Fredi was taken for yet another short walk and finally it was time for Brian to go back to the Doctor to get the results of his tests.  His results were good and he's now on a 4 month recall instead of 3 months.  All's well with our world. 

You may have read that in South America instant coffee is a treat to many.  In smaller places, if you don't want instant, you should first make sure that they have brewed coffee.  Nescafe seems to have a strong hold on Ecuador.  The Nescafe cappuccinos are actually pretty good though (!) all things considered.  (Or have we been too long away from Starbucks?)  In some places there's a kind of coffee syrup that you get and then mix with hot milk.  We have no idea what they do to make the syrup.  In any case, nothing special planned for the morning of Thursday, we took a walk down Remigio Crespo and sat outside the La Europa and had a Nescafe cappuccino while watching the world go by.  Brian had a cooking class (Hot & Spicy) that afternoon so we got back in plenty of time for him to have an early nap.  When Brian got home after the class, he said that he really enjoyed the food because he really likes spicy food.  The hit of the evening for him was Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  There was also a soup dish called Harira to which you add a very spicy pesto type concoction that is blistering hot to the taste.  There was also a dish from Peru called Papas a la Huancaina, which is basically potatoes with a cheesy hot sauce.  The class was touted as Hot & Spicy and met all expectations.  Ecuadorian food tends to be bland by North American standards, so these recipes provided a very nice counterpoint.  As usual, wine was consumed, the company shared experiences and Fredi came out of her skin when Brian got home.

The phone rang bright and early Friday morning.  Our plans for Friday were unavoidably cancelled.  Oh well.  We phoned up some friends and suggested we meet for lunch.  The place we were going to eat at was about a 40 minute walk from home, so we left with lots of time to spare and wound our leisurely way there.  Unfortunately, the restaurant we'd picked wasn't open until the late afternoon.  We walked up the street to Pizza Hut and 4 of us had sandwiches while Shelley had something called a Spring Roll which was really a crepe wrapped around chicken & ham.  Looks like we're having one of those Mice & Men days. 

It was time to go to the Rotary market as Shelley wanted a fairly big basket for a project she's working on.  We got the bus a bit early and walked around a little bit lost until finally we stumbled on the market.  The Rotary market was certainly the place to buy a basket.  Several shops were selling anything from a laundry basket to an Easter basket.  We got a good deal on a fairly large basket, sat around the square in the market and watched the people go by, wandered a bit more down the streets checking out shops we don't normally see and then caught a bus home.  Our internet has been down since the early morning.  It's now early afternoon.  Often it will go down on Saturday and/or Sunday but it usually isn't off for more than an hour or so.  We've grown quite dependent on the internet and feel its loss.  (Note:  It finally came back around 2 o'clock in the afternoon.)  We are meeting a friend at our favourite pasta restaurant for dinner this evening.  Our friend is just back from Canada and we have a lot of catching up to do.  As expected, we had a good gab fest and fun was had by all.

For those of you wondering, we just got the definitive information on what you have to go through when you renew your passport.  This is to get the permanent visa re-stamped into your new passport:

  • There are two documents that you will need to send along with your two passports and the money.  One is called the Movimiento Migratorio, a record of the dates of your entrances and exits in Quito and Guayaquil.  You can get that for $5 at the migration office in Cuenca.  You will need the old passport and a copy of it, too.  The other thing you need depends on what kind of visas you have.  You need to prove that your financial situation has not changed; i.e., if you had social security when you got the visas, you must prove that you still get it.  Some are done by direct deposit each month in a U.S. or Canadian bank, and the lawyer said to simply print that off the computer screen. Gabriela Espinosa in Quito charges $80 plus the government fee of $20. You also need simple copies of your censo and cédula.  To sum it up, you need the immigration form, proof of continued monthly income, old and new passports, copies of the censo and cédula, and payment. 


  1. Wow, you guys have had it rough! We are so happy that we put some money in the Banco Pichincha. That way we can hit both our cards there and get the max amount times two! Also they dont charge a fee on our non ecuador card. Of course our bank in the US charges us a fee. dirty dogs..
    Thanks for the info on the renewal..good deteail!

  2. Beautiful pictures and nice new look! Oh, and thanks so much for the info on the passport update. Hmm...wonder if I'll expire before my passport does?!? After the censo and cedula process, I'm a little weary of paperwork! ;-) Great post!