Monday, July 14, 2014

Manta highs and lows

We went to Manta yesterday to get a bank account, sounds easy right? Wrong! But we did get a cell phone, and had a nice day between meetings, waitings, printing of emails, scanning of documents and driving. We catch the bus a little after 7am, goes thru Rocafuerte and gets into Manta bus terminal around 8:30. We decided to walk to the Internet cafe before calling Fernando, cause I thought it was close. It was about three blocks over and three blocks up, and we did find it with no problem. We also found this cute little park, and one of our favorites, the jacaranda tree. These bloom in May in California, and always remind us of our wedding, as they were in bloom then.

There was a public restroom, which we took advantage of, my side had an attendant, she offered TP, but I told her I had some. Should have taken hers, she charged me .20 cents when I left. Oh well, good to know.

This is a building under construction, and they put this pretty cover on it, so it wouldn't be an eyesore from the park. That's nice.

We called Fernando, and he came to help us at the cyber cafe. We had a signed copy of our rental  agreement and utility bill from the landlord. Had to get another bank statement, and copies of everybodies IDs. After we had all our stuff, we went to the bank, it was 9:30. The line at the bank was like a line at Disneyland! It was mind blowing, luckily we didn't have to wait in that line, we went upstairs. We took a number and waited. About an hour in, Fernando poked his head in the managers office, she had not recieved a call from Catalina, didn't know our situation and said we didn't have enough documentation to open the bank account. Hope dashed again.

I had only been talking to Catalina thru Facebook, and had neglected to get her #. So we had to leave the bank, go to free wifi (KFC by the way) log on to Facebook, and there was her #, and a message saying she had talked to her local branch! and for us to have this branch call that branch to get the story...ugh I had Fernando call her, and tell her what the bank manager said we still needed. She said it would be ok, to go back to the bank and have her talk to the bank lady on the cellphone. Back to the bank, more waiting. Got the bank lady to talk to Catalina, but she insisted we needed more. Catalina said to give her a couple hours, and she would have a letter of recommendation sent to my email. For us, it was time for lunch.

Fernando suggested smoothies and grilled cheese, and that sounded great. We went to the beach boardwalk area, 3 mixed berry smoothies and 2 grilled cheese=$6. The grilled cheese was white bread, (the first we've had) and queso fresco, slightly different, but very good. We walked the beach, talked of this and that, gave Fernando love and relationship advice (being an old married couple) and forgot our issues for awhile. Soon it was time to check email, we got to a cyber cafe, but no email. We did have a message on the cellphone, Catalina needed our full names, called her, but now it was going to be another hour before we would get the letter. What to do? Take advantage of our spanish speaking friend and Walk around the corner to the cell phone office and get ourselves a phone of our own. The rental house in Crucita supplies a phone with $10 on it for it's guests, as most US cell phones don't work here. But the Crucita phone will only be of use til the end of the month so we had to do it.

After we got the phone, $34.99 we went back to the cyber cafe...guess what, closed! We had crossed into that magic time of siesta, and they weren't going to reopen til 3pm. We decided to go back to KFC and wait in the free wifi, but time was ticking. We were paying Fernando for his time, and I just hated that this wasn't going to get finished today. We were just about giving up, when the email came. It was almost 3pm, we drove to another cyber cafe, printed the email and hightailed it back to the bank. There was only one person infront of us, it may happen today! 

But when it was our turn, and we handed over the folder with everything in it, she shoke her head, no. She wanted originals, at least the rental agreement notarized, the utility bill was not current enough, and the long awaited letter from Catalina did not elicit the intended response, she was not impressed. It was now after 3pm, and we could do no more. We had nothing left. We paid Fernando $60, less than his fee of $15 per hour, bless his heart, and had him drop us at the bus terminal. He was going to talk to Catalina that evening and they would hash out the next phase of the plan. For us, hope was dashed again.

While on the bus ride home, Mike and I unpacked the day. The good, bad and the ugly. We were closer, but not there yet. We had accomplished one thing, we got our phone, and we've decided accomplishing one thing a day is success. We are doing everything that we can and it's easy to worry about the things we can't change but worrying doesn't fix things. This is a process, moving is a process and we are moving forward everyday. I read an article yesterday that gave the top 5 reasons expats don't make it in their new land. #2 reason was expenses, not realizing all the start up costs. You've done the research, you can live comfortably on X amount, We have overlap, utilities are still on in the rentals, so they show at their best. Electric and water, mowing is being paid for at both properties. We expected these and had factored them in it was the container and surprise fees that did us in. 

So we've made a donation site, it's an opportunity for someone following our adventure to chip in and help us continue it. Any funds we get will go towards paying on this container business, customs fees, storage fees, bank bond, and anything else that may come up. 

The latest from the lawyer, is we should go to Cuenca, where she is, and has more pull. We meet with the landlord on Wednesday to get the rental agreement notarized and a more current utility bill. We could feasibly head to Cuenca that afternoon, it's about 6-8 hour bus ride, $8 each. Flying is much quicker, but $200 per person, and we need that money to pay for storage fees, we can take the bus. We've never been to that part of the country so we can see the sights. That would get us in to Cuenca late, but we could get to the bank first thing Thursday, instead of Friday. Heaven forbid it turn out to be a holiday! Better look into that!

That's it for today, stay tuned-the adventure does continue!

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