Getting ready for my exit.
To move to another country, much less South America, requires you to choose whether you ship all of your belongings via container (envision a 20 or 40 ft container…the kind you see being hauled by a freight truck) or sell everything you have and move with whatever you can cram into your luggage. I chose the latter after reading countless articles about the itemization, customs, fees, bureaucracy, and mishaps that occur with container shipping. Oh, and the cost….THOUUUUUUSANDS of dollars. I was also hearing how many people found it to be ‘freeing’ to sell off all their worldly possessions and start anew. I didn’t get rid of EVERY thing. I couldn’t let go of my most personal stuff, so I stored it at Moms. At some point in time, maybe I can gradually bring those things down, presuming I stay here. Aside from those, I sold almost everything I had, down to the last roll of toilet paper. I lugged 3 bags on this first trip. My carry-on, a large duffle bag that looked I stuffed a dead body in, and another roller luggage. Oh, and a large kennel with two kitty cats. Yes, there’s no way I could move without taking my kids with me. But, they only allow 2 animals to enter EC at a time. So, Gracie had to stay behind until the next trip South.
‘They’ (the government) don’t make it easy. The rules give you TEN days to get all the necessary steps completed in order to allow pets to be brought into the country. It’s a process set up for failure. First, vaccinations must be done no sooner than XX days and can’t be older than XX months. Then, 10 days before you leave, you must:
- See your Vet and have them examine your pets and complete a form (in BLUE ink!) stating the pets are healthy and okay to travel. Cost $180. Note: The Vet must be USDA certified.
- Send that paperwork to
for them to bless and release it. Since I was a mere 100 mile roundtrip from Oly, I drove down instead of Fed-Ex’ing. BUT, an appointment must be made first as they only take people from to 12. I had no problems with Oly endorsing my document. Cost $72. Olympia
- Next, you must Fed-Ex that document to the Consulate/Embassy of EC for THEM to bless it. I chose to send it to
instead of Wash DC because SF is closer, thus the turnaround time would be less risky. Right? Right!!! At a cost of $35, I overnight the document and payment (must be Cashiers Check at at $8 cost). Now, the worrying starts because I have to have that document blessed and in my hands by the time I fly out. Oh, I forgot to tell you….the 10 day period in which all this has to happen does not start at the time you LEAVE, but the time you ARRIVE in EC. San Francisco
- I leave on Tues, right? On the Thurs before I receive the Fed-Ex return envelope from San Fran (at another cost of $35). WHEW!!! I open it and find my documents returned to me with a yellow sticky on it and scribbled ONE sentence in Spanish informing me I need ONE document PER ANIMAL. I had submitted ONE document with TWO animals on it…because the @#%$^## document has 10 rows on it for 10 entries!!! San Fran REJECTED it!!! I was spitting bullets and using every cuss word ever known to mankind and made some up to fill in the gaps!!!!!!!
- Let’s stop for a moment and think about the costs. The Fed-Ex TO San Fran cost me $35 and the Fed-Ex FROM San Fran cost me $35 to send the @#$%@$#! Yellow sticky back to me!!!
- On Friday morning, 4 days before leaving, I called the Wash DC Consulate thinking they might have some power over San Fran and tell them to ‘get with the program’. They told me, ‘yes, no problem with 1 document for 2 animals’. I asked why, given they are both Consulates representing the requirements for the SAME country, do the two Consulates have different procedures? They said ‘oh, San Fran has a different boss and to try to get them to make changes is a waste of time. GRRRREAT!!! He, (Marco), said to Fed-Ex him the document and they would approve it. I informed Marco I am OUT OF TIME!!! He said, Fed-Ex it to me right now and I will have it Monday then I will approve it and send it back to you and you will receive it Tuesday. GREAT…I LEAVE TUESDAY!!! But, luckily, not until at night. So, another $35 Fed-Ex overnight clear across the country.
- Monday I call Wash DC. Is Marco there? No, he doesn’t work today. ARRGHHH!!! But, they confirm they received my package, I beg them to make SURE they Fed-Ex it back to me the same day so I get it the next day. OK!!
- Tuesday, I’m at my best friends house in
sweating it out that the Fed-Ex will show up in time for my flight. If it doesn’t, either the cats stay in the Seattle , or I have to cancel my flights, hotel, cancellation fees, etc and start the 10-day WHOLE CYCLE all over again. Amazingly, the Fed-Ex arrived at on Tuesday. Thank God I didn’t have an early morning flight, which is what I typically would have done. US
- Interestingly enough, not only do the two Consulates have different procedures, but had I followed San Fran’s rules, it would’ve cost me $100 ($50 per form for 2 animals) whereas Wash DC only charged $50 because they ACCEPT 1 form for multiple animals!!! GRRRRR!!!!!
On to the airport. There, I have to pay an overweight charge for my duffle bag and $150 for the cats to fly in the belly of the plane.
The flights were uneventful, albeit I was again flying first class and got my favorite dose of warm nuts!! First, to
arriving at the crack of dawn. Then, on to Dallas . At each stop, I watched the kids (cats) go up the conveyor belt into the belly of the plane. I could see them bobbing their heads around wondering WTF?? (I would spell that out but I know Mom is reading this). Can you imagine what must’ve been going through their minds? Airports, people, loud noises, conveyor belts, takeoff, landings, and the slamming of the brakes of the airplane probably squished them up against the wall of their kennel. LOL!!!! Miami
I ultimately landed in
, the capital of Quito . People were mesmerized by these unusual beings as I rolled their kennel thru the airport. Everyone wanted to look and take pictures. You’d think they (the cats) were a Ecuador Hollywood celebrity! A pre-arranged van picked me and the luggage and the kennel up and whisked us off to our Hotel where the kids finally got to be free of their cage and roam around the room, but still with that WTF bewildered look on their face.