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It's Tuesday, but It Sure Ain't Belgium

Ok, where to start...finally got all the docs needed to open a bank account today, so trotted down to the local recommended bank, and bluffed our way past the armed guards, swept up a flight of stairs, and dutifully sat down in front of the bank officer who gave us the bad news last week. 

Just for the record...if you don't have a bank account around here, there are a lot of things you can not do easily...like get on a cell phone contract, pay your utility bill automatically, get discounts at the local supermercado, cash traveler's checks, or any check's for that matter, and probably a bunch of stuff that I haven't run into yet...

Just for starters, one who is here on a turista visa,  needs four recommendations of good character from four Ecuadorians who will also have their ID's photocopied, and phone noted...we got that, then you have to have a letter from an upstanding business stating that you are doing something legally, etc...we got that...then you have to have copies of your utility bills, we didn't have that, but we did have a contract for our apartment, course, you have to have you pasaporte, and all sorts of other ID...we got that...It looked as if Jorge was still a little skeptical, until we told him that we actually owned a car...and we had the notarized paperwork to prove it...So after a call upstairs, our friendly (and he was, too!!!) bank officer named Jorge, started to type into his computer...

So...after creating a dozen documents, and having us sign in about twenty places, documents that we had no way of understanding, we figure that finally we can quit hauling around these worthless traveler's checks, and just stick them in the bank...not so kemo sabe...hold on there, big fella...Jorge tells us that we can only deposit two hundred bucks!!! 

After all this red tape, and brown nosing, we are in a mild snit, and consternation is written all over our faces, plus our stack of worthless checks, seems to be an orphan nobody wants...so...another call upstairs...and whatdoyaknow?  now we can put in $2,500--this is much better, since he now says that we can put in $2,000 per day...so we count on our fingers, and say that is fine...then he says that we can't use the money for 21 days...

Since we thot that we would never get to use those worthless checks, we readily agreed...now the fun part...Jorge says that Rox has to take a couple of her checks downstairs and cash them so that there will be some money in the account--off they go to cash the $200, while I guard the rest that is stacked all over the desk...I didn't have to worry much...there are three guards in the bank, and the one with the biggest gun was keeping a close eye on my stack, also...Clint would have been jealous...if this guy could have carried his five-shooter on his hip like a cowboy...I know he would have been flying...

So to make a long story longer...back they come with this little pile of twenties, which Jorge takes and gives us this little packet with a number on it and some dough credited to us...We are finally legal!!

To deposit the other checks of the day, we had to sign them on the front as usual...turn them over, write out our 11 digit bank account number and sign again...and then traipse downstairs to another window and give the checks to the senorita behind the bullet proof glass, who looked at me like I was there with Sundance...she, in turn inspected them front and back, and made a little squiggle near my name and Rox's name, and finally after five minutes credited our account...

So, the moral of this story is when you travel to South America...make sure your ATM cards will work, and forget the traveler's Checks...

We thot we were pretty big stuff as we left the bank, cause we actually had accomplished a feat that very few turistas do...well our big head didn't last long...cause two hours later we had our first lesson at the spanish school...and you be the judge...

 

Posted on Tue, October 23, 2007 at 04:17PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

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