Normally when we travel to Guayaquil, we stay at the Courtyard Marriott or HM International, but this time we decided to do something different and stay on the the Malecon del Salado side of Guayaquil at the Tangara Guest House.
The two Malecons: Malecon 2000 and Malecón del Salado are located on opposite ends of 9 de Octubre. If I had to choose which one I liked better, it would definitely be Malecón del Salado because you can see a sunset and it's salt water (not muddy water from the Guayas). And at night there's nothing better than to watch the bridges light up and stroll along the river, have a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, and feel the cool ocean breeze. The mangroves, the salt water and the boats of the Malecón made me think we were back in the Galapagos. We had such a great time enjoying the Malecón that I actually forgot what brought us to Guayaquil in the first place (PASSPORT!).
|Malecon del Salado at Sunset|
|Looking toward 9 de Octubre along the Malecon|
|The Malecon all lit up!|
|More Restaurants along the Malecon|
|One of the many restaurants along the Malecon|
|Courtyard at Tangara|
|Desayuno at Tangara with fresh juice, eggs, toast, fruit and choice of beverages.|
|Courtyard at Tangara|
The passport renewal process starts online at at the Consulate General website. You go to US Citizen Services and click on passports (16 years and older). Mark printed off the DS-82 form and filled it out. He printed two copies just in case (we've learned the hard way that it's always better to have more than less). The cost is $110 which you pay when you're at the Consulate.
You will need to bring the following items with you to Guayaquil:
*Passport photos 2 x 2, color, white background (matte).
*Application form filled out (DS-82).
*Money ($110) in cash.
*Appointment confirmation sheet.
Address of the Consulate:
U.S. Consulate General
9 de Octubre y Garcia Moreno
The Consulate is located on 9 de Octubre right next to the Oro Verde Hotel. I got so excited when I saw the American flag that I whipped out my camera and took a picture. I suggest that you don't do that. It was the day before 9/11 and it was not a good time to take photos of the Consulate; there was heightened security and the guards "reminded" me to put my camera away! After that close encounter we headed to the first checkpoint.
|Oro Verde Hotel next to Consulate|
|Sidewalk Cafe on 9 de Octubre|
Hint: Do not bring anything with you except your documents; leave everything else at your hotel. I always carry hand sanitizer, my camera, and a "few" other things. I'm not sure what they thought of my Bath and Body pink grapefruit hand sanitizer, but evidently they were suspicious. I was asked to pour some on my hands, which I did and then they motioned to my chest, so I rubbed it on my neck and chest and then proceeded to rub some on Mark's bald head. I guess if we were going down, we were going together. Strangely, that didn't satisfy them, so I put some more on my hands.
Silly me! I forgot that my passport was located around my neck in a pink passport holder and "yes" that is what they wanted, so I handed it over. If you are a guest, you will need to bring your passport as well. My camera also received an inspection and the battery was removed.
Next came the wand lady (just like at the airport), so be sure to take everything out of your pockets. We were then directed to pass through the metal detector. My "confiscated" items were put in a box on the metal table -- ready to be retrieved on the other side. When entering the Consulate doors, the guard took my items (in the box) and I was given a number that corresponded to the "casillero" where my items were placed. My reward for being a good citizen was a clip-on name badge that said "ACS" (American Citizen Services).
Once inside we were directed to go upstairs to the waiting room and listened for Mark's name to be called. When his name was announced, Mark went up to the reception window and turned in his application and surrendered his old passport. A few questions were asked and we were told to pay the $110 downstairs and bring back the two receipts. After turning in the receipts, we waited for about 5 minutes. They called us back to the receiving window and told us everything was okay and that a new passport would be issued in 10 days with e-mail confirmation. We went back downstairs, turned in my "key" and retrieved my belongings and were escorted to the exit area.
You will get an e-mail confirmation letting you know that your passport is ready to be picked up. But one of the representatives e-mailed us and said he would bring Mark's passport to Cuenca personally as he was doing a presentation at the school where we teach English. What a nice surprise!
After our appointment at the Consulate we celebrated with a chai latte across the street at Sweet and Coffee before we headed back to the bus station. We also ran into a few friends in Guayaquil and ended up having lunch together; it's a small world!
It was only 24 hours, but it seemed like a mini-vacation. We had a great trip to the Malecón, encountered some excitement at the Consulate, and enjoyed the ride back home through the Cajas while I got caught up on some Kindle reading.
|Rainbow through the clouds...|
|Bus at night -- "Cuenca Taxi"|
|The first time we've taken the bus at night -- a whole new experience!|
The passport renewal process was certainly easier than getting our residency visas and a lot more fun!
Until next time...hasta luego!
One of the books that I read while on the bus to Guayaquil was The Mapmaker's Wife which is an intriguing read. You'll gain a lot of rich history into Ecuador and the Amazon.