Yes we bought a car. It's a used Hyundi Santa Fe. The great story is the adventure in getting it registered! There are no pictures of the events but I feel compeled to chronical the events for those thinking of giving up the wonderful Taxi and bus system....if you aren't up to the blow by blow just know it is done!
The adventure of course began with the purchase which was through a friend. To purchase the car of course we had a contract of sale. That had to be notarized with the signatures of the seller, husband and wife, color copies of ceduals of all signers, and copy of the matricula (sort of a registration card). We met at the notary, signed, paid for the notarization, but had to come back the next day to pickup the notarized document becauses the notary was sooo busy...I guess the gal we signed in front of was only a helper.
Next Cuenca Cleanaire. You may not know but Cuenca is in a beautiful valley, at the juncture of four rivers. Azuay, the province, has clean air standards for vehicles, so annually vehicles go for a safety check and clean air inspection. We asked a friend where to go as this was necessary to get the car registered in my name....yes the car is in Claudia's name only. Anyway, he showed me on a map that did not go as far the location but said, no problem there will be signs . . first clue, there is no good signage in Ecuador. Off I go at 7:30 AM as I was advised there would be a line and get there early. I end up the side of mountain and feel sure I have missed a turn so back down I go. I pull off at a busy intersection, roll down the window and show a fellow walking by the certificate and ask "Donde es?" He shrugs and says "No se". I lock the car and wander over to a cab driver and repeat the question, "Atras the puente, the primera izquierda." No problem, across the bridge, the first left. There is no sign at this intersection but he should know. Up the hill I go. I approach a large driveway on the right with a guard and I see cars and trucks and buses in line - yes this must be the place but the guard asks for my ticket . . what ticket? Where do I get one? All in Spanish of course, he tells me the "segundo entrada" to my Spanish that means the second entrance, and up the hill he points. Now I am a fairly logical person so I am looking to the right for a second entrance. I keep gaining altitude and the road is narrower and there is a big bus behind me. I realize I have missed the second entrance somehow, find a spot for the bus to pass and make a 3 point turn on the narrow road back down the hill to the ask the guard again. He smiles and tells me on the left! There is a dirt road with a guy with a clipboard and a whole line of cars, trucks, and busses. This must be the place. I get in line.
At this point three indios (native Ecuadorians) approach the car to sell me fire extinguister, wiper blades, safty triangles, and other required things, they also tell me my break lights are out . . .hum thought we got the fixed but sure enough they are out. How much? $2.50 each. OK do it. Job is done but oh golly, senora you have special bulbs, $12.50 each! Negotiated it down to $45.
Finally the line moves and then stops. It moves again and I make it as the last car this time, down the hill, smile, and show the guard the ticket, park the car....now what. I see lots of people entering a large white building that looks like it houses the testing center. Enter and find 4 lines....one clearly says pay the marticula here - done that already the Coopera. Another line has a sign that says something about paying for the test. Get in that line and fortunately the fellow in front of me speaks English, this is his first time to do this also. A fellow gets in line behind us and asked if we have our certificate. Huh, yes you need to have the parking certificate first, where? Go outside to another building. So off we go, Pable and I. Turns out you have to pay $10 to have them check to see if we have unpaid parking tickets. I am clear so I get the certificate and Pablo and I return to the first line. Again we are asked if we have another certificate, no, oh well go across to that line. Fine, pay $12.50 for street maintance. Then back to the first line. Pay $20 for the test. Now we get into another line to turn in our receipt and car keys, receive a number to claim our car back and wait for the test to be preformed.
Hurray, Pablo and I both passed. He was a great help and turns out he has an Italian restaurant off Av. de las Americas, we so we exchange infor and I promise to visit his establishment. All in all, about 2.5 hours have passed but at least the car is certified. the previous owners ahd paid the SOAT which is the required liability insurance so I don't have to find that until next May.
Oh, but the story does not end there. Now I have to get it transfered into my name. I pick up Noshy at 2 pm on Friday and off we go to the SRI, sort of like the IRS in the USA. Anyway, get in line at the info desk and the very helppful gal there gives up a paper with the list of things we need to make this change....copies of documents naturally including color copy of cedula, copy of the sales contract, matricula receipt showing I paid for the new one. No problem, copy place convienently located across the street. Our number is called and that is done, except we have to go to a bank and pay the fee for the transfer and it will take 2 hours for the info to show up on the computer at the bank...hum bank will be closing in two hours well, lets go to the Transito and find out what is needed there to complete the transaction.
Arrive at Transito and get another little slip of paper listing a dozen copies and origionals of documents and fees to be prepaid. Oh and by the way, there is the line to get a number for MONDAY, and that line will not start moving until 4pm. Fortunately, Alfredo, Noshys husband, meet us there, so divide and conquer. He will stand in line and Noshy and I head off to Cuenca clean aire as I need an impression of the VIN number off the engine and that is done at the clean aire....gee I was just there. Oh well, up the mountain we go, smile at the guard and he tells us that is done at the "other location" and we had better hurry as they close at 5pm, it is 4:15. Down the mountain, on the phone to Alfredo for directions to northern facility. Good directions, we find the dirt road, wave off the indios, and get in line. Get to the gate and the guy says, wrong line! Get to the right line and the guy says, no time, it will be 5 before he gets to us. Thanks to Noshy, he agrees we will be the last but she has the terrible job of telling everyone who tries to get in line behind us that we are the last car. She does it with her usual style. We pass the inspection right at 5pm!
Now all I have to do is get to the bank on Saturday and pay for the title name change, go Monday early to get an new parking certificate as the old one is valid for only 3 days, pay some fee and get to the Transito before my number (20) is called!
Having learned, I spend Sunday night making numerous copies of all documents I have as I know there will be some surprise come Monday. At 7:30 I am in line outside the EMOV next to the Pichincha bank. The guard is very helpful as I show him my list and he points to the location for the new parking certificate and the other mystery fee. Nice surprise, there is no charge for the new parking certificate as I gave her the expired one. I wander in the direction the guard said for the myster fee and find a security guard I show my little slip and he say window 11 and walks me there. It is closed at the moment but I wait. There is a sign that tells me the copies of the forms I need - boy and I glad I made multiples copies! I am first, all is in order, now many he tells me "listo" meaning ready, and to go pay. The guard smiles and points to another caja and I pay $7.82 for I don't know what but I get the receipt and off I dash to the Transito where Alfredo is waiting with my number. Nunber 16 is called as I arrive. What greart timing. The only little hickup was the records there are received from the Police Department she wants a copy of my passport as I don't come up on the computer. She has my old passport number, I explain I have a new passort, had the same trouble when I got my censo, but oh my censo has my new passport number, good enough, she finds me in the computer, Alfredo runs across the street to make a copy and she prints out my new Matricula, I pay $19.50 oh but you have to get in line for the jefe, boss, to sign it. No problem. At 9:30 I walk out the proud owner of a fully registered car!
In telling this story to an Ecuadorian friend he says, now you know why so many gringos just us the bus and taxi! Oh well, Jack and I, along with Iggy have grand plans for many a road trip...maybe the girls too.