Last week, I (Steve) made a trip to Quito to buy a car, a 1994 Toyota 4Runner, from another missionary who is leaving the country. It seemed pretty simple. Just go up there, sign a few forms and drive back. I should know by now that nothing is ever all that simple here.
The day before my trip, I found out that the Notary couldn’t sign the purchase contract on the same day as we signed it. I was a bit concerned because I couldn’t stay in Quito. We were assured that it was OK to drive with the old matricula (registration), so I arranged for someone else to pick the contract up and bring it to Shell when it was ready.
The sellers and I went to the Notary to sign the forms at 9:00 am. I had been told ahead of time all of the documentation that was going to be necessary, and had everything with me. All went well until we were told that we needed a certification from the police department saying that there were no outstanding fines against the vehicle. This was new information. That form could be obtained at the Police Department, about a 15 minute taxi ride away. The seller had just been there the day before, so it was too bad we didn’t have that info then.
When the seller got there, she took a number to wait. She got number 146, and they were serving number 60. There were two windows open serving people.
After three hours, she finally got the form, took it to the Notary, and returned the matricula to me.
By now, it was 2:30 pm. I had wanted to get back to Shell before dark because of the roads, but it wasn’t looking too positive at this point since it gets dark at 6:30, and it’s about a 5 hour drive.
I got underway with a friend who also needed to get back to Shell. Partway out of Quito, the highway was closed, and we were diverted back into the city. After about an hour of weaving through city streets, we got back on the highway and continued on our way.
An hour or so later, as we were climbing a stretch of the Pan-American highway leading past Cotopaxi, there was a slight detour for construction. As I changed lanes, I hit a little something in the road. It tuns out it wasn’t little. It was a piece of rebar, and it punctured the tire. So, I pulled over and began getting out the tools.
It turns out that the jack that comes with the car isn’t tall enough to actually lift the car, so we improvised, using something else to put the jack on. After we changed the tire, we stopped at a tire repair place along the way to get it fixed in case of another flat tire. The rebar had gone in the tread, and come out the sidewall. So the guy put a tube and a couple of patches in it just to get us home. But I’ll have to buy a new tire.
By now, it was just about dark, and we were still about 3 hours from home. Thankfully, the rest of the trip was uneventful, even in the dark.
The next step is to register it in my name. I wonder what adventures lie in store for us there!!