Perhaps this joy is informed by the fact that tonight we were robbed for the fourth time since we've been here. For a little perspective: in the 31 years we lived in Minneapolis, we were robbed twice. In the seven months in Quito…well you do the math.
We were having sort of a bad day anyway. For some inexplicable reason, I've been trying for the last 30 days or so to renew our visas to stay here, but today I got the final “fuck you” from the Ecuadorian authorities. So, I went to our favorite bar, which has a wonderful staff, cheap drinks, and free internet, and spent an agonizing afternoon dealing with Ecuadorian airline websites trying to book us a flight out of here. Finally, after three hours and forty five minutes of crashes and various other shortcomings of lame ass Ecuadorian airline websites (and a call to the United States–or should I say India?–about why their security department declined my credit card charges when they damn well know I'm in South America) we finally got the flights to Santiago, Chile booked.
Our friends Jonathan and his girlfriend Marissa joined us in the bar to have a few to celebrate (and mourn) our impending departure from Ecuador. We had a few drinks as I struggled with the airline site, and a few more to celebrate when my charge was finally approved and our trip out of Ecuador was confirmed. As I said to Jonathan, “This is the first thing that's gone right today.”
Of course the day wasn't over yet.
I had my computer out on the table to finish checking my email and downloading a TV show I wanted to watch. When I was done, I turned around to put it back into my backpack, which had been sitting on the floor right next to my feet. The backpack was gone, along with all my visa documents, my original college diploma and marriage certificate, my new rain jacket, my headphones, and my iPad.
Right from under my feet.
I guess I should no longer be surprised at anything that happens here, because, after all, this is Ecuador. And, as we are made more aware every day that we remain here, this country is run by a despot for the benefit of himself, the incompetent and corrupt police and other authorities, and the thieves who operate with utter impunity.
If you don't believe me, just walk into any one of the ubiquitous phone shops in Quito and ask to buy a cell phone. All the phones that were stolen yesterday are openly for sale today. They don't even bother to change the chips or phone numbers or delete the contacts for the unlucky person who was yesterday's victim.
(To make the day perfect, as I'm writing this, Kris just spilled a bowl of soup in our bed.)
So l was lucky I was typing on this computer as my backpack was being stolen. Otherwise, it would have been gone as well. As it is, I just lost my entire library of books that I'd downloaded onto the iPad (although I'm told Amazon will let me download them again…if there were anywhere to buy an iPad or Kindle down here.) We'll see.
We'd booked our flight out of here for two weeks from yesterday. Tomorrow, I'm carrying this computer down to another internet site and changing our reservations. The sooner we're out of here, the better.
Am I bitter about Ecuador? Not really. You get what you pay for. And for what you pay here, you get shit.
At my age, I should have known that.
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