Saturday, November 22, 2014

The jump over a big hurdle to Ecuador.

Yes, the Ecuador Experiment was over.  My last post on it was published in March, 2013.

But it was never really over. It was in the freezer. Now I'm taking it out to thaw.
Why?  Because like Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, I am going to live in Cuenca, Ecuador. I obtained my permanent visa to live there  from the Ecuadorian government just this month. Once there, all that's left to completely seal the deal is to register the visa with the Foreign Ministry within 30 days after arrival--- to secure what's called a cedula.

Cuenca, Ecuador

I contracted with Gringo Visas, owned by Maite Duran, to facilitate my request for the visa. Gringo Visas then sent a list of what documents they needed--- for example, criminal record sheet, passport photos, proof of pension letters. Once I obtained and sent them, Gringo Visas took the ball and ran with it for me to the touchdown.  Because of their sterling reputation, because they are well known and large on the landscape of companies providing this kind of service, and because of the many Facebook expat friends of mine in Ecuador, who are also FB friends with Maite, I trusted Gringo Visas to be a reliable, honest company, and my trust was not displaced.

8484 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, the building housing the Ecuadorian consulate

Unfortunately for me the Ecudorian consulate in San Francisco closed down a few months ago. The permanent visas are only distributed in the consulates, so instead of a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, I  drove some 400 miles to the Ecuador consulate in Beverly Hills.
No worries. I enjoyed the night drive on a virtually empty freeway. I enjoyed the feel of Los Angeles. And I enjoyed getting together with a brother while down there.