Frustrations of Living in Ecuador

It occurred to me living here in Ecuador you may experience some possible frustrations.  These may be problems to Newbie’s who are coming to live in Ecuador (especially if you plan to do business here).  My first word of advice to you is get used to getting things done manana (tomorrow).  

But before you read on, let me say that there are some exceptions because not everyone works to the tune of manana.

 So what is it that could be frustrating?

An example is that I have been waiting for probably a couple of months now to get a quote on getting some fixtures and furniture made.  Eventually I knuckled a local friend down and he had two people come and give me quotes.

The first guy was extremely professional with his notepad and did the whole bit of measuring and estimating on the spot. But when it came to giving me the quote, I believe that they were somewhat on the high side.  I am sure he would do a perfect job, especially for the price he quoted, but I also believe he saw a $$Gringo$$.  Even my Ecuadorian friend was shaking his head in the background.

I mean no disrespect but I also now have an idea of the going prices for most things. I am now an Ecuadorian resident and I also work with many local people. In addition I have many local friends and I would like to think that I am not being taken advantage of.

The next guy who gave a quote was by no means the up market business man that the first guy was.  However, I am still waiting on the second guy’s price and it is now a week later. If I don’t push, I am sure it will be a month or more.

In general you need to be patient and make sure you keep following up with people who you are dealing with. If possible also insist on a penalty clause if any promises are not fulfilled. After advice from us, a friend recently got his attorney to offer a complete refund of fees if his residency application was not completed on time. We wish we had negotiated that!!! That could have avoided over $1,000 in extra fees and travel to Peru.

Another example of a frustration is getting the copy of a title Deed here.  It takes 5 working days from the time you order.  I know this because of the work I am doing for clients who come to purchase properties in Cuenca.  I am lucky that my local partner does this side of the job. I particularly notice this frustration because I started my working career as a “Settlement Officer” for a law firm in Australia at the tender age of 18.  Even back then we could order a title search and receive it the same day.  Today you can go and order a search and virtually get it immediately. I think they can even be obtained online.

Another classic example is when we lost our wallets. It took us longer to get our Ecuador  identity cards replaced than when we first got them. In fact, we had our Australian cards and drivers licenses ordered online, replaced and sent to us more than a month before getting a replacement Ecuadorian ID card.

Anyway I am sure I could give plenty more examples and I know that many of you who live in Ecuador can tell us many more stories; some that may make you laugh others that may make the storyteller cry.

So if you are planning on relocating to Ecuador or even just for a visit make sure you arrive with lots of patience.  You cannot come here and think by any means you will change the way people work here. And there is absolutely no reward for jumping up and down to get things done.  You will only be classed as one of the crazy Gringos.

I email, call or go in person to some places far more than I would have back in Australia.  I just accept it. Maybe I am a softy; I don’t find it in me to get overly angry and at all be abusive. I tend to smile and ask politely why and when and how quickly can I get it done.  Sometimes it works immediately and other times I still need to return to find out what has happened.

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