Many folks who are moving to the Pacific Coast move straight to their final destination and take buses and taxis back to Guayaquil for each visa step (minimum of 5 trips). We knew that we would not enjoy making the trip at least five times in a two+ month period. Instead, we decided to find a 2-3 month rental in Guayaquil, figuring that we could explore this huge city and improve our Spanish while living here. Dana's daughter, Sierra (bilingual), and her recommended taxi driver, Daniel (knows every neighborhood), drove us around looking for a short term apartment rental in Guayaquil. We had some pretty specific requirements that are not relatively common in apartment hunting. We required fully furnished, a very safe area, and short term. Sierra found an available apartment complex which worked out perfectly. We are in a one bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, real hot water in the shower (no suicide shower) and very secure. We signed a two month lease but already know that we will be extending for a third month.
|The kitchen/living room in our apartment.|
It took the better part of the month to obtain the investment CD that we need to establish residency. We kept going to banks asking to open one but there was always a different reason why it would not be possible. Finally, we asked Dana to recommend a translator since we were clearly asking the wrong questions. Gaby, fluent in English & Spanish, came with us to Banco Pichincha and we were able to sign up for the CD within 2 hours. We wrote a check to ourselves and five business days later (for the check to clear our US bank) completed the paperwork and walked out with the CD. It finally felt like we were moving forward instead of in circles.
The rules for opening a savings account are more strict than in the US. We are required to obtain a letter of reference from an Ecuadorian who has an account at the bank. Now that we have the investment CD, the bank representative told us that it is very important that we open a savings account. We are having difficulty finding an Ecuadorian who will write us the letter. We asked our landlady. After she understood what we were asking for, she asked if she could do it "later." I am hopeful that she did not mean "no" but since Ecuadorians are too polite to say no outright, later may have been her way of saying that. We may ask at a restaurant that we frequent. Perhaps one of them has an account at Pichincha. Funny how the bank already has a bunch of our money but will not open a savings account for $100 without a reference.
We have spent a lot of days walking around our neighborhood and the surrounding areas. There are a lot of cool little shops that we stumble upon. Check out the bells at one shop:
We are walking distance to two malls, the World Trade Center, the visa office, and our bank. The first week we were here, we took taxis to those places but now that seems like a waste since they are all 1.5 to 3 miles away. Walking allows us to get to know the area and get some exercise at the same time.
One of the cool places that we went was to the Historical Park, which contains not only historical buildings but also a wildlife area containing plants, birds and animals from all over Ecuador. And the whole park is free! What an incredible place.
|Yellow and Blue Parrots|
|The signs are in Spanish & English|
|Green Parrots - they were so cute together.|
|Actual living, moving Pink Flamingos. Not lawn ornaments!|
|Scott with a large-leafed plant. The elevated walkways were a nice way to preserve the plants and keep us away from the animals.|
|Some of the historical buildings in the park. The middle one was the original headquarters for Banco Territorial.|
|Inside the church|
Guayaquil Anniversary Celebration
Guayaquil was founded on July 25, 1538 and the anniversary celebration began on July 20 around the city. We went to the Malecon 2000 and found this cool exhibit of photos taken around the city.
|Art on the Malecon 2000|
|The Santa Ana neighborhood|
|Kennedy Avenue Bridge|
If you own a home and build a garage but have no driveway, create your own!
There are improvements going on all over. The day we walked under this overpass, the workers were just finishing installing these wood laminate panels.
|The door bell|
I look forward to sharing more of our life and times in Ecuador with you as Scott and I navigate our way together through this wonderful country.
Until next time,