First of all...yes, yes I did use the word "whilst". Call me old fashioned, but it has a certain panache and is actually the correct usage, as opposed to "while". Sure, "while" is widely accepted now, but this is just how I roll.
We have been invited on an adventure with friends, which has waylaid certain plans and made it necessary to renew our passports early. (I think our 5 year passports have never truly been more than 4 and half year passports in reality.) But we're here and Canada is...well...there! Enter the Canadian Consulate in Guayaquil. "Of course you can renew your passports here!" "Yay", says I! We don't have to make the 7 hour journey to Canadian Embassy in Quito. Happy day.
We dutifully filled out the paperwork, got our photos and hopped on a ridiculously early bus to Guayaquil (a 5 am one, to be precise) so that we could arrive bright and early for the 9am office opening. Most of you know that morning is not my time to shine, much less the 3:30 wake up call, but I persevered. Because of the time of day, the 4 hour trip only took 3 hours and we found ourselves outside the consulate with 40 minutes to spare. A quick coffee and "continental" breakfast filled up the time and we were whisked up to the 6th floor of the Blue Tower to submit our paperwork. We were met by the very helpful Paola. We managed to catch the 9:55am bus back to Cuenca and found ourselves back at home a little before 2pm.
We'll ignore the fact that as Paola looked over our paperwork and asked us a few questions, she very happily told us that we could have couriered in the paperwork, we needn't have come ourselves. (!!!) Considering the hour at which we started our day, we took the news fairly well, but it was something that we really would have been happy to know through one of our email conversations with her. She softened the blow by saying they would courier our passports to us FOR FREE. No need for a second trip.
So, lesson learned and you're welcome, other Canadians, who might be put in the same position!
As one of our friends signs off on his email "this is the life we chose".