Our First week in Ecuador has been busy.
We rented an Airb&b for a month from the US so we wouldn’t have to worry about where we were going to live while we got settled and looked for an apartment. Our Airb&b is 3 bedroom house with two baths, study, living room, dining room, kitchen and some outdoor space. Cat friendly! While it’s not city center, it is close enough for a short cab ride to anywhere we have wanted to go so far. There is also a bus line 1 block away and a major cross town road 5 minutes walk away. Our most expensive cab fare so far has been about $3.50. Most cab rides are about $2.00.
We have been apartment hunting already. There is a beautiful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath apartment a few blocks from our airb&b for $450 a month. Brand new unfurnished with a secure parking garage and private park. Unfortunately, they will not accept mascotas (pets). We have looked at some other places, one we liked got rented out before we could say yes. We found a 3 bedroom 2 bath, 2 half bath apartment on the 5th and 6th (top) floors of a low rise apartment building. We have negotiated our rent and are going to sign the lease this coming week. Unless something goes wrong, we should have our first apartment locked in for a year.
We have been to our immigration attorney’s office, two mercados where you can buy fresh fruits and meats and other foods, three grocery stores (walmart type or Albertson’s type), several furniture stores, two pet stores, two malls and a few other shops (tiendas).
We are applying for permanent residence in Ecuador which requires a lot of paperwork. One of the many types of residencies is the education residence. One type is: you have a four year degree from an accredited university and your classes were taking in person. This type has the lowest monetary requirements. We sent ahead our apostilled diplomas, transcripts and letters from our Universities. These were accepted before we arrived. The remainder of out documents – FBI check, local law enforcement check, marriage certificate, birth certificates and passports were presented to our immigration attorney last week when we got here. The next personal step for us is to go before an official and prove that we are the person in the passports by showing our faces. At that point, our temporary residency should be granted and we apply for our cedula (green card). Once we have our cedula, we have to wait 21 months for our permanent residency to be granted. At that point we can live here forever, vote, and participate with most of the rights of a full citizen. If we wish, we can apply for (dual)citizenship in Ecuador at that point or any point thereafter.
This week we will be getting our bus and Tranvia (train) passes so we can learn how to get around the city that way. Neither the busses nor the drivers take cash, you have to use a card. You can buy a single trip on the Tranvia, but it is much more expensive than using the card. The Tranvia is nice, but there is only one train line through the city, so you need to use the train in conjunction with the buses, walking or taxis. At some point over the next couple of months, we will learn how to use the autobuses (large passenger busses) and busetas (smaller 12 to 15 passenger bus) to get between cities.
They (other expats) said we would lose weight when we got here and they are right. Suddenly, I’m just not hungry. The snacks I’m used to are not available and we are eating more healthy, whole foods. Fresh baked breads are available at every corner tienda (small store). We are eating a large breakfast and lunch and little or nothing for supper.
The food is awesome. Meats are very lean, which makes beef difficult to cook, but pork and chicken are awesome. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful, cheap and very tasty. They don’t use as much real sugar and there is no Corn syrup in anything around here. Even Coca Cola is made with real sugar and not corn syrup as a sweetener. Good black tea is non-existent so far (according to British Expats, good tea is not available) but coffee is good, black and strong!
We have been eating out more than we will in the future. Experimenting, you could say. We have found an excellent panaderia (bakery) two blocks from our current home, an excellent restaurante which serves sandwiches, soups and other meals a few blocks from our new home, a good Chinese restaurant near shopping within walking distance from our new home, and vendors in and near the shopping centers and mercados throughout the city. The most we have paid for a lunch for two so far is $16.00. Most are between 8 and 11 dollars.
I’m sorry I don’t have many pictures so far. We have been so busy this last week that I haven’t thought to pull out the camera. I will remedy that soon.