Equator Gringos

December 23, 2007

Luque Stolimas and the Chamber of Books

Filed under: Ecuador — Tags: , , , , , , — lstollin @ 8:15 am

Thursday at school I got a form addressed to Luque Stolimas saying that a package had arrived (Joy’s dad and step-mom sent us a box of stuff on November 29th , which was supposed to arrive in six to eleven days) and to go to Customs to get it. So here’s what we did:

  1. Find customs/post office, go to first window. A woman (hereafter first-window-woman) tells me I need two copies of my passport.
  2. Go across the street, get copies. Return to window.
  3. First-window-woman charges one dollar to use several stamp-pad stamps and then motions me to sit down on a bench and wait for my name (Luque Stolimas) to be called. I sit.
  4. After about an hour, I walk up to the door. People standing at the door ask if I am from Academia Cotopaxi (I have a school t-shirt on which provides the clue). Apparently they had called Academia Cotopaxi “about a thousand times.” You can’t really hear them calling from the benches.
  5. After only five or six minutes I am taken to see (but not touch) my package. The customs man opens the package and sees that there are books inside (among other things).
  6. He puts a stamp on my original form (the one from first-window-woman) and hand-writes on a scrap of paper the name of the next place we need to go, the Camara Ecuatoriana del Libro (Ecuadorian Chamber of Books) and where it is located (half-way across town).
  7. We get in the car to find the Chamber of Books. We find the right building, but the Chamber of Books office door is closed and locked. I knock, not finding a buzzer. I knock again a couple of times and in a minute or so the door buzzes open. The only person in the whole office tells me that I need a photocopy of my passport as well as one of the first-window-woman form.
  8. I walk down 9 flights rather than wait for the elevator, get the photocopies at a little store on the corner and go back up to the ninth floor.
  9. Book-man takes my paperwork and asks me to have a seat. Ten minutes later I get my papers back with some stamps and am charged three dollars.
  10. We drive back to the customs office. I am told I need another photocopy of the Chamber of Book-stamped first-window-lady form, and another photocopy of my passport.
  11. Go across the street for copies and return.
  12. Go to another window and wait for a different guy to look up the original form in a binder, take all my forms, and have me sign another form.
  13. After more than three hours, get the package and go.

It’s just that simple!



  1. Moral of that story – NO MORE PACKAGES SENT TO QUITO! We simply do not have time to go the post office to get them:-)

    Comment by Bettye Kelso — December 23, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  2. And we think it’s difficult in the US. An important story, Luke. Merry Christmas from the US to Luque Stolimas and Joy.

    I just got home from singing in two church services with the choir. The candlelight service was beautiful and church let out just after midnight. Now I am 69 years old.

    Comment by Carol Doty — December 25, 2007 @ 3:33 am

  3. Happy New Year Luke and Joy. May 2008 continue to surprise you with more cultural encounter from Ecuator. May the year also bring you good health, happiness, and joy of life.

    Minh and Tim from San Francisco.

    Comment by Minh Ta — January 2, 2008 @ 2:08 am

  4. Hope you and Joy had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! Morgan and Kenton are keeping us hopping! JoClare and I had the kids’ pictures taken for Christmas presents. If you get a chance, go to rikkiknightphotography.com and click on “family”. Morgan (16), Kenton (11), Nathan (7), and Nicholas (4).

    Take care!

    Paula Mae

    Comment by Paula Mae — January 7, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  5. Hi Luke, Welcome to Ecuador! Just try doing business here! I live the joy every day.

    Yeff Estern

    Comment by inthetropics — January 7, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

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