Tuesday we tried to get to the Ministerio de Relaciones Extranjeros, the old office on Ordonez Lazo. The taxi driver tried to take us to this other place, on Ordonez Lazo, but on the other side of the new roundabout on OL & Avenida de los Americas. We said, no, no, this isn’t the place, it’s on the other side of A de los A. Ok, he says, and he takes us to where we think the place is and drops us off.
The nice sign that said “Ministerio de Relaciones Extranjeros” had been removed, but we went in and it was obvious that they were no longer there. A paper sign was tacked up on the wall with a note that they had moved, and the address. Stupid us, we then decided to go back to where the taxi driver originally wanted to take us.
Once we arrived there, a very unfriendly police type says ‘closed today. All at a meeting in Guayaquil, come back tomorrow’. Today, we came back, entered the building and were told by very nice ‘migration’ police that we were at the wrong place. I dug out my notebook where I had written the correct address and we hailed another taxi.
The new taxi driver had no idea where we needed to go, didn’t know where the address was, and got on the phone to ask for directions. We had the address, and the nice policeman had explained that the NEW office was actually near the Supermaxi Vergeles, and was near the big stadium. Finally, the taxi driver dropped us off at the intersection of the 2 streets where the office was supposed to be. We could not see any street signs, numbers, or anything. We walked both ways on one street and didn’t see anything.
We had just been to this corner, at the Supermaxi on this street, on Monday to buy groceries, and again on Tuesday, when Dan had gone back to buy beer that we forgot to get on Monday. Neither of us saw this “Ministerio” on either trip. Since Dan is very fluent in Spanish, we decided to ask at a number of places. Probably should have done that in the beginning, but we thought we could find it. At the second place we asked, we were given directions to go 1 block ahead from Supermaxi and Voila! it was there, right in front of us.
We went inside and there were about 15 people waiting in seats in a waiting area in front of the desk where the 2 ladies were speaking with 2 other people, presumably about Visas. A very nice police/security type came up and asked what we needed. When we told him what we were about, he said, you must come back tomorrow, before 8:30 a.m., to obtain an appointment. He is there at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and people are waiting even at that time. Waiting to be given an appointment, at a later time, to come back and be able to discuss all the particulars of obtaining a residency visa. OK, so, we left.
Tomorrow morning, Dan is going to hoof it over, early, to the Ministery (which by the way is about a total of 4 blocks from Casa Rio) to get an appointment for us for later.
Here’s the irony: I read Cuenca’s Gringo Tree almost every day, and I even went back and searched their archives under Visas and Residency, and nowhere did anybody say anything about the office being moved! And even though the new office was 4 blocks away from us, we took 4 taxi rides to finally get there, and we could have walked. LOL! welcome to Ecuador, eh?
Part 2 tomorrow.