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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Visa, Censo, Cedula...OH MY!!! - the Sequel

Last we left off on this on-going mini-series, I had driven to Quito to get my Cedula processed on Wednesday, May 23rd.  Since I was down to the FINAL hurdle of this 1 year, 3 month long process, I recapped all that I had gone through in a blog entry posted 2 days later (May 25th).  The only thing left was to pick the dang thing up.

We continue where we find Dano (moi) having just uttered these words:

"Finally, everything was done.  She informed me my Cedula should be printed and ready for pickup the next day, Thursday, around ….IF there are no problems.  Apparently, the final output had to be reviewed one more time before handing it over to me.  IF there were any problems, she would call me.  I never heard from her, so I presumed all was aok. 

We left the building and the assistant made a call to my attorney in Cuenca to inform them we were done.   We made arrangements for the assistant to pick up my Cedula in lieu of me because she knew the process better than I.  Then she would send it down on a plane and I’m to go into my attorneys’ office to pick it up.
 
Wish me luck!!!"
 
Luck.  Schmuck.   What I didn't tell you was, during all this I was having car problems again!!!   I know, I know, I can hear y'all sighing and rolling your eyes at me.   On the way to Quito I noticed my car didn't have much power on the hills like I'm used to.  I looked to see if there was a branch of my Chev servicer in the area, but there wasn't one.  So, I took my car to another outlet of Chev after I was done with the Cedula process.  NO ONE spoke English, so I told the story to my friend Alex who was with me and he translated to the Chev Servicing Manager.  It was a bit difficult because my friend is pretty much clueless to car/motor terminology no matter what language you state it in.   I was suspicious I had yet another catalytic converter problem because the cars' behavior was exactly the same as it was a month earlier when I had a CC replaced and the problem resolved.  
 
They told me they would look at it, but warned me that Friday was a holiday and they would be closed that day AND Saturday.  More than likely, they wouldn't know what the problem was until Monday and then, for some odd reason, they determined it might take 4-5 days to get it fixed!!!
 
Well, I wasn't about to stay in Quito 7-8 more days waiting for the car to be repaired, find other lodging accomodations, etc.   So, I booked a flight back to CUE on Friday the 25th and a return trip to Quito on Monday the 4th to presumably pick the car up and drive it back home.  So much for my sightseeing plans of Otavalo, Cotacachi, and standing on the line of the middle of the world (the Equator).
 
When I got back home, I solicited the help of 'my' servicing manager here at Chev in Cuenca.  I asked him to call and talk to his counterpart in Quito and help solve the mystery of my car and, generally, communicate with me.
 
Communicate.  HA!!!    It's mind-boggling to me how poor 'customer service' can be here in EC.  In the USA, we have such high, near impossible, customer service expectations.   Both my guy here in CUE and I tried calling the Quito center Weds, Thurs, Fri, and Sat...no answer, no answer, no answer, no answer.   We tried entering the extenstion # as well as letting it roll to the operator to connect us.  Even the operator of the dealership didn't answer!!!!!!
 
When I flew to Quito on Monday, June 4th, I had no clue if my car was ready.  But, after all, it had been EIGHT days....eight OPEN BUSINESS days....surely it must be ready, right?
 
Nope.  They said they had been calling my friend, Alex.  Well, Alex lives in Quito and I'm in CUENCA!!  Alex told them to call me, but they didn't bother even though my phone# is clearly written on the service order.  
 
They replaced a catalytic converter.  I presumed it was one of the other 2 (the car has 3).  But, when I looked under the car, they had replaced the one that was just replaced 4 weeks ago by Chev in Cuenca!!!
WHAT THE......?????   They showed me the 'old' $300+ part...the guts was missing.  It's the guts that do the work of getting rid of bad emissions.  They said the guts had been destroyed and was blocking the exhaust (causing poor performance) and they had shaken it out into a garbage can. 
 
I took the car for a test drive and it was behaving much better, so I decided to continue my plan to trek back to CUE the next morning.  $500.
 
Ok, let's skip back a bit.  It's June 4th.  Remember my Cedula which was supposed to be picked up on Thurs May 24th?   I never heard anything from the Civil Registry department, so I presumed (there I go again) everything was AOK.   When I went to my attorneys office to pick it up, they informed me the assistant went in to pick it up, but it wasn't ready and the next day was a holiday, blah blah.
 
Two days later, I again drop in on my attorney.   Well, it seems on the 24th the assistant handed the Civil Registry person the ORIGINAL Power of Attorney paper to retrieve my Cedula.  But, she didn't get it back when she was told the Cedula was not ready.  Now, when she returned a second time, she was told she needed to provide a certified copy of the Power of Attorney in order to pick up my Cedula for me even though she had given them the original which they claimed to not have.
 
Now I understand that girl in the movie where her head spun around and around hurling vomit on the walls of her bedroom.
 
I told my attorneys, 'look, I'm going to Quito on the 4th and I can just get it myself if that would help'.  
 
Days later, it turns out the assistant was able to pick it up and put it on a plane.  I was notified it was here in Cuenca....COME AN' GIT IT!!!!
 
I stopped by my attorneys office one day....they were closed.  UGH.
 
I sent an email asking them to inform me when they would next be open as that week was the Corpus Christi festival and who knows who would be open or when.
 
I got my Cedula in my hot little hands on Tuesday, June 12th in the year of two thousand and twelve, AD.
 
BUT WAIT!!!!
 
HUH???.....is this the part where I'm offering a set of Ginzu knives?
 
Two significant events have happened in the past few weeks.
 
Remember when (back in January) I was not allowed to fly out of Ecuador on a trip to the USA because I didn't have my Censo even though my immigration attorney said I didn't need one to travel, and even though the Government was 'out of paper' and couldn't produce one anyway??  Well, our President issued an order that Censo's are now no longer needed!!!!   Where do I get a refund of the $500+ bucks I lost out on due to that trip-to-nowhere?    (replay vision of vomit hurling)
 
And, they have now opened a processing center HERE in Cuenca to get Cedulas.  No more traveling to Quito!!!
 
LOVE the timing.
 
Back to the car.  Now I need to find out why a $300+ new catalytic converter was reduced to dust in a mere 4 weeks and how to prevent it from happening again.
 
Stay tuned for the next episode.  Will we find Dano still hurling?  Or, will he just have the dry heaves?
 
Photo time!!!   The trip to/from Quito was stunning with clear weather on both legs.  Enjoy the sights I got to see, but multiply the effect by several levels as the camera just doesn't capture what my eyes saw. 
 
Maybe it needs a new catalytic converter???
 
Dano
 
View from my rental apartment in Quito
 







One of several volcanoes outside Quito



This cracks me up!!!  I've seen them on the highway in the past, too!!   These are new truck/bus frames with nothing but the motor, suspension, and driver functions installed!!   The driver is wearing a helmet and goggles, sitting on a CHAIR, and a tarp protects the dashboard instruments, but has a clear plastic 'window' for the driver to read the guages.   No windshield...but he has mirrors!!!    I ask you....WHERE in North America would you ever see THIS???

This green grass looked like waves of silk.


 

6 comments:

  1. And you remain sane? I do realize "sanity" is a relative concept.

    Lovely photos, thanks.

    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dan Love your writing, but you do realize you are scaring the living bejusus out of all us coming your way to live in EC. Between car troubles and Cedulas, I think you would be screaming off into the sunset. Glad you are not. We look forward to seeing you later this year.

    Rex

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Dano,

    I desperately try to verify your information, that celulas for foreigners are now issued in Cuanca. My lawyer said just now, it's only possible in Quito. Could you give more infos on that?

    Thanks and regards

    Ralph
    from Yangana/ Loja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they just opened an office in Cuenca to process Visa requests for foreigners. However, if you already had one underway through Quito, it must continue to be processed there. If you have not started the process at all, it can be done in CUE.

      Delete
  4. Thanks Dano, the issue is more the cedula- thing to do. As we've to travel to get it, it would of course make a big difference to get it more south. So my question is more if they issue cedulas for the very first time for foreigners there at the registro civil in Cuenca.
    Thanks again, have a great time up there!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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