A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Post Office

We have posted our mail adventures before but here is a new one. Four weeks ago, Loretta ordered a coat from an Ebay outlet in the US. They used Ebay’s standard $20 international shipping charge.  When we had not received the package after 4 weeks, we checked United States Postal Service tracking and found that it had arrived in Ecuador four days after being shipped and had been held in customs for weeks. Though we had no information other than the tracking information and no idea where customs would hold it, we felt that logically, it might be at the post office in Cuenca Centro. Armed with passport, cedula, and, what we felt was an adequate amount of money, we went to the post office at their appointed hour (package pickup is Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings).  
Loretta stood on one line, was sent to another, and was sent back to the original line. She is the one in the photo being crushed against the window. When her turn at the wicket came, they checked her cedula, a customs inspector in military clothing opened and inspected the package, and handed her the coat without comment. There was no extra duty and no extra postage. Fortunately, Loretta had requested the sender mark on the declaration that the coat was used and had the sales tickets removed.  We were also lucky in that we thought the logical place for the customs hold up would be at the post office. We later wondered what would have happened if we had not figured that out. Would they have finally looked at the address on the package and sent us a notice that it was being held by customs? The only logical answer is that our next mail adventure will undoubtedly be different. 

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