Week Four Ecuador.
We have reached the end of one month in Ecuador. This last week has been hectic and we are foot sore and tired. We are still taking cabs most everywhere, but since most of the places we go are inside 3 kilometers, we have been walking a lot more as well. Cuenca is a walkable city and we feel very safe doing so, though I have ventured out walking a long distance only once at night.
Our apartment is taking shape. We have purchased furniture. We have ordered custom furniture from a local factory. We have ordered custom furniture made for us by a carpenter. It is very economical to have local factory furniture made for you and to hire a carpenter to make furniture as well. There is actually an Ashley Furniture store in Cuenca. It is really expensive and no better quality than in the US. Our furniture is starting to arrive. We now have a sectional couch we bought used, we have a refrigerator we found at a garage sale, we have a washer/dryer we found lightly used at a consignment store. Our new bed and box spring found its way to the apartment yesterday and we found another bed at another garage sale. We are expecting the factory furniture next week, which will give us two chairs and a love seat in awesome Ruth chosen colors and cedar wood with a clear finish. We will have to wait a few more weeks for the carpenter to finish his work, but he did deliver our new cat tree last week.
It’s really easy to get things moved here. Mixto is a name for people with various size trucks who will move items for you. Azutaxi is a phone app where you can order a taxi, a Mixto to move your things, propane bottles for your house or business, flat tire repair, jump start for your dead battery, gas if you forgot to fill up your car’s gastank, a vehicle that can transport you and your bicycle, a taxi for you and your pets. You put your needs out there through the app and taxi drivers can see your request. After that it works similar to Lyft or Uber, except you pay the driver cash.
Our shipper emailed us last night to let us know that we needed to run around town all day today. Our lift van with our personal items has arrived from the US and needs to clear customs. That meant we had to postpone our Spanish lessons, go to our immigration attorney’s office to get our passports, find a particular bank to pay the fees to the government, take those receipts with our passports to the airport to get the official papers created to get customs to release the cargo. Find out that we need 6 copies (3 each), not one each and go all the way back to the bank to pay for four more copies, take the receipts back to the airport to get four more copies, then find out that it’s too late to make it to the shippers office today – reschedule for Monday.
The best news?!? We were expecting to have to put up a rather large cash bond for customs import taxes as we are here on a tourist Visa and do not have our Temporary Permanent Visa yet. When we got to the Attorney’s office, they handed us our Temporary Permanent Visas!!!! We are official! We took those papers to the airport office and NO EXPENSIVE BOND!!!! Now we don’t have to deal with the difficulty in getting our bond back. The only import taxes we will have to pay is if we inadvertently brought in too much of something or violated some obscure import rule.
It looks like we will get our shipped belongings, maybe as soon as next week as well. We have until the 28th of August to vacate our Airbnb, but we will likely move out this weekend to the new apartment as it has more light, is warmer because of that and is closer to most of what we want to do. We do have to clean some here, but we now have enough things at the new apartment to live there. It’s been hard living out of suitcases for a month here, a week of travel to get here, and 6 weeks in the NM house after all our stuff was sold and shipped.
Now that we are Temporary Permanent Residents, we can apply for our Cedula – essentially our green card. We have been informed that appointments for the cedula are out about 2 months. The process for Permanent Residence is pretty easy: Live here for 21 months, don’t leave the country for more than 90 days in that time period, don’t do something stupid like obtain a criminal record, and we will have our lawyer fill out the paperwork to make our residence permanent. Permanent Residents have almost all of the rights and privileges of citizens and after three years as a Permanent Resident we can, but don’t have to, apply for (dual) citizenship if we want.