Sunday, August 9, 2015

Did I Say Visas Obtained? And now. . . "Plan C"

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," my former high school Spanish I teacher John Rossbach used to say quite a bit in class.  Well, after all the anticipation leading up to last Friday's office visit at Coloaustro abogados to finally receive the long awaited pensionado Visas . . . nothing.

Merci had a long telephone conversation with Joseph Guznay, our Visa Facilitator in Quito, and she glumly but matter of factly announced "your Visas aren't ready.  Carolyn's is done, but yours still has to be processed."  

I was ready for that kind of statement based on the low key demeanor Merci showed me when I arrived at the sixth floor office.  No direct smile on greeting me was a bad sign.  Oh, well!  What do we do now that travel plans are set and we would be financially inconvenienced by making a change at this point? 

Go ahead as planned, with a twist, it turns out.  "It's really all about trust at this point," Merci confided to me.  "Well, Coloaustro and you personally aren't at fault for Ministario's not delivering the Visas on time as previously agreed to," I countered.  "Tell you what: I'm ready to pay Coloaustro as we had agreed.  We don't know how much Joseph had to pay the Notary in Quito for the Social Security letter I had.  Why don't I pay what I know is owed now and at least be fair to you about it?"

Merci readily agreed, though she told me I didn't have to pay then if that was my choice.  I reiterated to her it was only fair to pay the abogados now.  I received a receipt - not a factura as this was a record of what was entrusted to Coloaustro, not a final payment - for what I paid, and we then discussed what we needed to do in order to allow for us to travel as planned, both leaving Ecuador and returning back to Ecuador and our home in Cuenca.  

First off, the US Passports, presently in Ministario's hands in Quito, need to be sent to Coloaustro in Cuenca ASAP.  That request is already in motion as I type this.  Then we need to come to Coloaustro to receive them once again - we cannot board an international flight without them.  Once safely in the United States, we need to promptly send them by air courier (Merci recommends DHL as they have had no problems losing important documents such as passports and Visas using their service) to Joseph in Quito.  I now have his office address.  Once Ministario actually finally really does have both Visas processed and placed in our US Passports, it's time for yet another courier service - Coloaustro's regular provider - to send them to Merci at Coloaustro abogados in Cuenca.  Merci will then ensure they are sent to our US address we have specified (where we get any important physical mail).  Hopefully - hopefully - all of this will get done before our scheduled flight home to Ecuador via LAX and IAH in Houston.  If not. . . "Houston, we have a problem!" 

It really is a time of confidence in the Ministario de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana.  These folks . . . actually one woman official in particular have the ability to either get the job done in a reliable, timely way, or simply *really* muck up the travel plans, causing us to have to delay our return flight to Ecuador (never mind the change of airline ticket fees involved).     

Lessee. . . if we *don't* trust them, we're back to "Plan B."  If we do, we execute "Plan A."  Call this chicken or the egg routine - because that's what it is, actually - "Plan C."  We trust them because. . . we don't have any choice in the matter *and* we insist on taking our long scheduled and planned for trip.  I am not gonna miss seeing my High School classmates.  Haven't had the opportunity to attend a class reunion since the 10th, and as this is the 40th, no telling who will still be alive and able to come to any succeeding class reunion.  Including me.  I'm a mere mortal, too.  We've lost some classmates of late, some very recently, including one who had already purchased his ticket and planned to attend the reunion!  The opportunity is now.  I will go even if I have to stay there 'til December due to Ministario's gross ineptitude.  

It's "Plan C" folks.  Only life in Ecuador would hatch such a thing. . . but hey, there it is.  "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," was a line sung by Richard Dreyfus in Mr. Holland's Opus.  A good definition for this particular moment, and apparently as good as it gets. 


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