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We visit the US Embassy in Guayaquil

Rox and I have travelled to a lot of countries in our 42 years together, but we have never visited a US Embassy--'cause, usually you don't do that until you lose a passport, want to add pages, or have gotten yourself into trouble, etc...

So...I wasn't sure what to expect when we had to drive to Guayaquil yesterday to get some documents notarized.  I guess I expected to see a lot of mahogany walls and furniture with some nice smiling Americans to interact with...boy, was that vision ever wrong!

Since Guayquil is a lot like LA with no readable street signs, it is almost a given that you will get lost, so as soon as we got to the middle of town, we found a cab and paid him five bucks to guide us to the Embassy...good thing, too...we never would have found it...It is right next to the Hotel Oro Verde, a hotel that is not anywhere near as good, as it is expensive...good for gringos, tho...

The embassy has two Ecuadorean State Policemen stationed at each corner...with more guarding the entrance.  We found the entrance kiosk, and began talking to a few really nice Ecuadorean guards and State Police, about whether we could bring in Coquita.  There is a sign with a huge number of prohibited items for entrance...nothing about cute little doggies...so...we pointed out that she was not prohibited...

This caused some head scratching, and they had to summon a really nice lady Foreign Service Officer, Nice...but no doggie, was her decision.  So we decided that I would go upstairs with the docs and sign my name to everything, and then come back down and send Rox back up.

First I had to empty all my pockets--no camera or cell phone allowed, then I was wand-ed thoroughly, and allowed to go to the first door on the left.  As soon as I turned into the doorway, another bunch of nice Ecuadorean guards told me to empty my pockets again...and I had to walk through a metal detector, which beeped, 'cause I forgot to take off my watch...no big deal...but this time the guard took my car keys and gave me number 37 as a receipt.  Strange, but it does have a remote alarm button for the car.

Finally, I was sent up a set of steel stairs to a waiting room that looked just like one in a Welfare Department.  There were a couple of posters on the wall donated by Continental Airlines, and that was good, but the good effect was sort of tarnished by three large posters, two of which showed Americans handcuffed in a jail cell.  The messages were "Don't tell lies on your Passport applications, and Don't move over $10,000 without telling the IRS --really friendly...

There were about 7 people waiting ahead of me, and I was about 10 minutes early for my appointment, so I was content to wait, and was thankful that I was able to get the three hour drive, and the screening done before I was due to be at the Notary.  After waiting about 10 minutes, with nobody being helped, I went behind a door to this room which had two windows with bullet proof glass--you needed a speaker to talk, and asked what was the procedure, since the number system was not in use.

Maybe the rudest person that I had met in Ecuador told me "Just take a seat, your name will be called when we want you."  He was an American.

So I waited past 10:00, past 10:15, and past 10:25, and all this time, Rox was standing outside wondering how long it was going to take.  The next time I went to the window, I was getting pissed, as I was the only one left waiting.  Another guy came to the window this time, and he looked down at the appointment sheet to discover that I was listed on the second page!  Nobody had bothered to look at page two!!!

So...this time they take a look at my docs, and the guy writes up a tag and tells me to go down and pay the cashier.  Now we have been doing Real Estate since 1969, and have never paid one cent to have our signatures notarized about 500 times.  The charge at the friendly US Embassy--90 bucks!

I bring that receipt back, the guy takes it, our passports, and the docs, and tells me to go back and sit down.  

Ten minutes later, he calls me over and I signed all the docs in about 2 minutes...then I went down to get Rox.

Since she had been standing with the guards for about an hour, she was now their buddy, so they gave her a cursory once over with the wand, and passed her through the metal detector without even telling her.  She was in and out in 10 minutes. 
And...when we all saw her coming back out, everyone cheered!!!  All Ecuadoreans, mind you...

I was going to make some comments about this experience, but I will let you all figure them out for yourselves...you might start with "when hell freezes over"...

This is the attack dog that they were afraid of...

Posted on Sat, November 14, 2009 at 09:31AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Yes,I too had a horrible experience with the America embassy in Quito. Very rude.American don't expect and shouldn't have to put up with this kind of service.

May 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdean

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