On monday I got my passport back from the Ecuadorian consulate in Helsinki, with at visa that will allow me to stay in Ecuador for a year starting from the date I land in Quito. In other words, until february 16th 2010. First I have to register it, though, at the foreign ministry in Quito. This process I’m looking forward to as I expect it to be my first culture schock. I’ve been warned that the process can be quite time-consuming and bureaucratic. I’m hoping it will take no more than three days, since a carnival starting on friday will close all offices until the following week’s wednesday.
I had a nice visit at the consulate. The consul Aarno Seppälä gave me a bagful of brochures and a couple of links worth checking out, for example the web pages of the Ecuatorian embassy in Stockholm.
Today I was smart enough to buy the Lonely Planet Guide for Ecuador. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. After an hour of reading I already know that burping in public is considered very rude, that ex-president Abdala Bucaram (aka “The Madman”) recorded a cd titled “A Madman in Love” and that the curse of the dollarization is a topic likely to come up during taxi rides.