September 26, 2012

Visas - the stuff of nightmares.

Over the past week I've been up and down Ecuador on communications business - namely blitzing people and organisations with emails and conversing with the good people of the Universidad Estatal Amazónica.

Currently, Tamara and Gabe (fellow volunteers / researchers at the Payamino research station) and myself are in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, trying to extend our tourist visas.

Much to our alarm, renewing your 90-day tourist visa is no longer an option, or at least not as straight forward as it ought to be to gringos like us. Given that "visa runs" to Peru and Colombia are no longer a guaranteed success, doing things officially in Quito seemed like the safest bet. After having been sent from Embassy to Ministry to Police, back to Ministry, to God-knows and back again, it's not looking particularly good.

Now we're waiting to hear from the UEA about the matter – given the research station's new relationship with the UEA, visas for long-term volunteers will be sponsored by the University, thus enabling longer stays. However, inevitably such things take time and at this point time is not redundant.

A bus ride to Colombia is not out of the question, but nor is it the safest option.

(26.09.2012)