The pallet of 16 boxes that our daughter (and cousin JD, too) so kindly put together and delivered to Freighters and Craters in Austin, Texas, (and picked up and shipped via Miami to Guayaquil by Old Dominion Freight Lines) arrived totally intact and with all the stuff that I carefully packed away last fall, winter and spring. Stuff that I was absolutely sure that I needed! And a lot of stuff that, yes, I really did need. Kitchen items, sheets, towels, washcloths, hubby’s bicycle shoes & clothes. Wait, wait. I didn’t put bicycle shoes in my boxes! oh, yes, our daughter kindly packed her dad’s shoes and clothes for him, marked them and sealed them up. She’s such a good daughter! And all my treasures: Christmas decorations, just a few; our Ecuadorean wood carvings that we bought in Ibarra almost 40 years ago; pictures and things we took out of frames to ship but that will get framed here and then put on our bare walls; a few knicknacks.
For some reason, washcloths for face washing are not easily found here, and if they are, they are nice but very expensive. Same for sheets, either cheapo sheets that may not fit the bed as needed, or very nice but pricey sheets. Thankfully, good friends in Cuenca loaned us King size sheets for us to use until the boxes arrived. I’m all set now, I’ve got good sheets for all the beds and washcloths for all the faces in the condo. I purchased 2 sets of flatware for 4 (total of 8) at a discount store in Texas; here in Cuenca we had bought flatware that wasn’t cheap, but was not really good pieces. I am so glad I bought the better sets and shipped hemt. You can buy good flatware, here, too, but at about 4 times the cost. We made sure to not include anything that was china, glass (breakable items) nor did we ship any electronics. Our daughter rearranged the contents of a few boxes and put all the used clothing into one box marked ‘used clothing’ after we were told that Ecuador imposes a limit on the amount of used clothing that a person can ship to themselves here. We were way under the ‘used clothing’ limit but didn’t want customs in Ecuador to have anything to complain about with regard to our boxes.
Each and every box was opened by customs and re-taped with tape marked with the customs logo. Many of the boxes were a bit jumbled up but only one wood carving was slightly chipped. I know I had wrapped those carvings in bubble wrap, really good, but the one that was chipped was obviously unwrapped and then not put back together well. Maybe they were searching for drugs inside the carvings? I’ll never know. But everything else was in good shape.
We contracted with Vicente Villafuerte, of Go Ecuador Movers for all the customs, port services and transportation to Cuenca. We highly recommend his services. Vicente was very thorough, helpful and he knows this business; he has people in Guayaquil and people in Cuenca who are also very good. We never saw or spoke to anyone else but Vicente but we know he doesn’t do it all himself! Vicente kept us informed of the entire process along with pertinent dates. The boxes were brought right into our condo on the day he said they would arrive. Vicente can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cellphone at: 0985370929. His company can help with any shipping or moving needs.
Our next steps are to get some of our pictures and posters framed; we had them shipped without any frames (lighter!) and framing in Ecuador is not expensive at all, and they do excellent work. We use Technovid, on the corner of Pio Bravo and Hermano Miguel in Cuenca. I’ve put out a very few Christmas decorations along with our treasured Ecuadorean wood carvings that we bought in the 1970’s on one of our living room shelves. Originally, we thought, why are we shipping these things back to Ecuador? We could just buy new ones. Now, I’m glad we shipped them as the carved characters are my old friends and make me feel like I’m finally ‘at home’.