Thursday, February 20, 2014

Normal? It's all in a day...or two, or three, or more!

Some things just leave us scratching our heads but we go with the flow and know it will all work out, eventually.

We opened our savings account several weeks ago, depositing a check from our US bank as a starter. Each month we will write and deposit a check to cover our anticipated monthly expenses. We will use the local bank's debit card and ATMs to make withdrawals as necessary.

Stu got his card and the first time we attempted to use it, everything was in Spanish. We tried the best that we could and he entered what he wanted for his new PIN number. The next screen gave us pause and we cancelled out. We knew we'd be back at the bank to get my debit card and we'd see if we could get help.

This week we did just that, got my debit card but this time the clerk called over a gal who spoke some English. She accompanied us outside to the ATM and helped me through putting in MY new PIN number. At the point where we had stopped with Stu's card was when we had to re-enter the new PIN for verification. A big AH-HA! She stayed to be sure Stu's card was changed and we were good to go! Phew!

Our other adventure was finding ink for our printer. We had been warned to buy a printer in Ecuador, not bring one from the US since ink cartridge refills could be hard to find. So we did just that, found a printer we liked (approx $20 more than we would have paid in the US for a comparable model). It's worked well for us....until it quickly ran out of ink.

After much research I discovered:
  1. The black ink cartridge is only rated for 120 pages.
  2. You can't buy the correct ink cartridge in the US, it's not available.
  3. The same model series in the US and EC take different ink cartridges.
  4. You can't get HP help for an EC printer on the US HP website.
...and more, but you get the idea. We've been searching for the refills every time we are out, never seeing the number we needed. So we finally posted in the Facebook Ecuador Expats group and got a couple of places to check.

Next trip to El Centro we headed to the address of the closest one to where we got off the bus but on the way we happened to pass an open door to a place FILLED with printers! We stopped in and met the owner, Wilson, who quickly helped us. He called his supplier in Quito and told us we had three options:
  1. We could have him refill our current cartridge. Not our first choice.
  2. We could have our printer adapted to use a tank on the side that you can refill with all the colors of ink. Also not our first choice.
  3. We could place an order with him and he would get it brought in from Quito the next day. Okay, now we're talking!
We placed an order for two black and one color at $15 each, made a partial deposit and planned to come back in two days to get it (even though he said it would be there the next afternoon). We dropped in on Friday morning - not in yet. Now it would be after 4pm that day. We didn't want to hang out all day so we didn't return.

On Tuesday I had a hair and pedicure appointment and afterwards walked to see if our ink was in yet. It was around 1pm and the doors were closed...okay, siesta time. Yes, many businesses do close for an hour or two or three anywhere from 11 to 3pm. Again, I didn't want to wait up to two hours so headed home.

Wednesday was the day we presented ourselves at the bank for the above Debit card adventure. From there we walked to our little ink shop. Doors closed...this was at 10am. Oh well, we did a nice walking tour of El Centro, enjoyed some coffee at The Coffee Tree, waved and made faces at a little one while there and saw our first RV in Ecuador.

Then we walked along the Tomebamba river, back towards the printer shop, always an enjoyable walk.
Lo and behold, it was at around 1pm and the doors were open! Now to see if our order was in. Wilson wasn't there but his assistant was..and yes! Our ink had arrived! We quickly settled, paying the balance and left with our brand new, made for Latin America HP ink cartridges.

Life is good....but what's normal other than a setting on a dryer. ;)

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