They say it is not the destination but the journey …. And this journey is a long one. A large portion of our time is spent getting around from place to place. Mostly doing some errands that Paola has tucked away in her vacation schedule. Too many things to really do in the time allotted… but one can dream. But one must never speak out against the Dream … or SMACK! Moving around is mainly by cabs and the family taxi/friend (“Mr. Ochoa”). Better to help a friend/family than some random stranger (Paola always says).
Well one of our stops on this day, was Paola’s replacement Ecuadorian ID. Oddly enough this was stolen three or four years ago in the US and mainly gone unmentioned until now, where it has become a subject of utmost urgency. But before you could apply you had to have either the old one (to renew) or a reported ‘theft of’ from the local government office. Well the local “Governacion” office is where we had to go. Well first off, the first thing you start to notice is that there are no wood and Sheetrock buildings ANYWHERE. And these office buildings where no different. All of the buildings are stone, marble and concrete. This collection of buildings was no exception.
We were greeted by this statue in front of the government buildings. Soldiers and police are everywhere. That is another big difference here. Labor cost are much lower, and it shows at any place where there are people or things of value. These buildings are near the newly remodeled area of Malecon. We will be going back there when there is a little more touring time. It’s an area right on the river with shops, restaurants and parks. Well any-who, We go into the office and it is the incarnated essence of ‘red tape’ and paper work. No two government workers tell you the same thing. Directions to the rooms you need to visit are cryptic and half way incorrect.
After visiting half a dozen wrong rooms a couple of maybe right rooms…and getting the wrong forms…. wrong forms again… bad copy forms…. Out dated forms…. Then correct form, we were then informed that we would have to take this ‘Holy Grail’ form and go somewhere with it and make a copy of it???? No Lie!! So we went to the first friendly copier guy…. But he had the copying machine that made blurry and faded tilted copies that were not accepted… (but he kept working there anyways)…. Then we found a guy in another building who got us what we needed. Now it was time to get it filled out… The old guy in the picture is a single finger slow motion typer that fills out the forms. I felt like we were in some silly government sitcom. No way this was a real situation…
We did get to see one of the new year “Viejos”. This is a giant tradition here in Ecuador where they make a giant ‘doll’ of famous people, characters….etc. Then they are displayed … everyone shows of their great work on making these dolls. These dolls represent the old year (Viejo)… and when it is new years, they are all set ablaze. Well in this government office we got to see this Viejo… waiting for his turn at the flames to kick of the new year!
The city has gone through a lot of renovations since last I was here. There are a lot of new areas, and a bunch of the historical places have been revamped. There are a bunch of new parks and a lot of new decorative statue/display thingies. This is a giant iguana that is built near one of the parkways. There is also a giant bird that I need to capture on digital film soon….
Well the kids let out of school…. Some more running around and we came home to join them. Sophia looked sleepy, so I tried to talk her into a nap. The kids were all still very clingy since they had not seem me in so long... so they all followed me to Nap time… but oddly enough, none of them would stay still long enough to nap…. And I had hoped that I might get a nap in since I had not gotten much time to sleep, and my little angels had woken me up early.
Before I knew it, Paola was grabbing my arm and telling me we had some more running around to do. Of course we did… We had to buy Megan’s star wand and Matthew’s shepherd outfit. Along the way she noticed a old sweet shop that she used to love…. So of course, how could we not stop.
A lot of the home made and typical foods here were very affordable, but a lot of the imported items cost the same as in the states…. Or more. Funny how you start noticing a lot of the little differences…. Or not, but you know something is different about it. For instance, the Diet Coke… I had not thought about it … but realized that here ‘Diet’ has no meaning… so its Coke Light. …in the stores you see 3 liter cokes as a norm? 2 litter bottles look like the single serving bottles…