Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Stuck In Ecuador
Old 07-24-2020, 01:05 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Vung tau
Posts: 103
Stuck In Ecuador

Our crazy virus travel experience....


Vung Tau, Vietnam - Dec 24: We gave up and turned over the keys to our studio apartment, stuff was already stored at a friends house, and we were on the bus to Saigon to catch our plane to Panama where we would leave for our 4 month trip thru S. America on Dec 27 after spending Christmas with friends. If only we knew what lay in store...


Dec 27: We, we being myself an American man and my Vietnamese (incl her passport) fiancee arrived at the airport at 11:00 am for our 2:00 pm flight. Plenty of time, the way I like it. Our flight went from Saigon to Taipei, LAX and finally Panama City, Panama (not the one in FL). I handed over all our documents to the check-in staff. This is when things first started going sideways. She looked at us suspiciously and went to chat with her manager. The two of them cam back looking serious and stern. "Where is her visa to the USA or her permanent residence card?", they asked. We informed them we were just transiting thru LAX on our way to Panama, not stopping in America. No way, she needs a transit visa to go thru any USA airport. Unless you have that she can’t board.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


I had planned this trip from months. Panama, Chile, Peru, Ecuador – a 4 month adventure to really see the continent. How could I miss this fundamental issue – a USA transit visa. I had never even heard of it. I subsequently learned that America more or less did away with transit areas. You have to clear immigration and check back in therefore a visa/proper documentation is required. We called time-out and found a seat to discuss. They warned us we only had an hour to cancel the tickets or they would be worthless so make up our minds quickly. I rapidly went thru all the emotional states and finally cleared my head. We had no choice – cancel the trip or buy new tickets on an airline that didn’t transit thru the USA. As it turned out almost all flights go thru the USA and even the few that didn’t also needed transit visas. What a nightmare. My fiancee was insisting I go on the trip alone and she would wait for me in Vietnam. No Way!! We were going together, period! First we canceled the tickets and surprisingly got a good majority of our money back, yes! Then we sat there at Saigon airport searching online for a new flight. $17,000 on Swedish Air, hmmm, no thanks. Finally, I found a reasonable flight on Turkish and Copa Airlines. It went via Istanbul, Sao Paulo and finally Panama. A whopping 55 hour trip and we had a potential issue in Sao Paulo as no one could tell us if we needed a transit visa in Brazil and we couldn’t get a boarding pass until we arrived there. Jeeeez. We booked it and prayed. It left at 11:00 pm that same night.


I learned something on this trip. It really pays to have a passport from a developed country. My fiancees VN passport was questioned, challenged, frowned upon or even rejected everywhere we went! It started upon boarding our first flight and didn’t end until we were in our hotel 60 hours later in Panama. A Novotel King size bed never felt so good! I can tell you zombies are real as that was our physical state from about the 40 hour point on. Turkish Air were incredible the whole way, simply wonderful.


Things went relatively smoothly in Panama, Peru and Chile. February, in Santiago, in the middle of the riots there we got tear gassed once, that was a first and hopefully last. We loved the mountains, volcanoes and desert. What sights to see! Finally we were on our way to our last destination – Ecuador.


The Virus: We arrived in Quito in early March. We spent a week there before heading to the Amazon to experience the remote jungle life. It was wonderful and remote enough to be offline most of the time but we were getting tidbits that the virus was finally impacting S. America and we heard that Ecuador was going to close on March 16, our last day in the jungle. Other tourists from all over the world were scrambling to get home. The place was deserted by that night. We weren’t ready to leave Ecuador yet, logistically it would have been really difficult and we didn’t think the virus would turn into the monster it became. How wrong we were...


We have been trapped in Ecuador ever since. Vietnam has closed their borders so we can’t return home and the situation in S. America is deteriorating. Panama City and Quito are both in dire straights now. We are seriously expecting we could be here the whole year. We have been able to travel within Ecuador and have enjoyed Banos, Cuenca and now Vilcabamba. It’s a lovely country but in desperate need of international cooks, haha!


There are a lot of side stories about flooded airbnb’s, enormous hail storms, bank freezes and more but this post is long enough
VungTau is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-24-2020, 01:20 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2,519
Oh, my, what an ordeal.
Are you able to find someplace safe/decent to spend the next year at, if needed?
Best wishes to you, hope to hear more of your story.
__________________
You are no longer in a savings mode.
You are now in a slow spend down mode.
pacergal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 01:53 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
NYEXPAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Miraflores,Peru
Posts: 1,984
You can fly to the USA anytime you want as there are flights everyday. The GF, well that's a different situation. But I've seen couples break up for far less.
NYEXPAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 02:15 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Sunset's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Spending the Kids Inheritance and living in Chicago
Posts: 11,699
OP - You could write a book, or how about starting a blog, to detail your "adventures" and travels.
Then we could read about how rich you become as you enthrall all your followers with the stories.
__________________
Fortune favors the prepared mind. ... Louis Pasteur
Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 02:24 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 375
Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Glad to see you are keeping good attitude thru all this. Would love to hear the rest of your story. Take care.
Rickt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 02:45 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Vung tau
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacergal View Post
Oh, my, what an ordeal.
Are you able to find someplace safe/decent to spend the next year at, if needed?
Best wishes to you, hope to hear more of your story.
Yes, we have found nice accommodation, helpful landlords and plentiful produce. No real issues but we sure miss home. Thanks for your and everyone's concerns and comments!
VungTau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 02:52 PM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
MrsHaloFIRE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 801
Fascinating. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you continued good health
MrsHaloFIRE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #8
Administrator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland again!
Posts: 34,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by VungTau View Post
[LEFT] [SIZE=3]
We have been trapped in Ecuador ever since. Vietnam has closed their borders so we can’t return home and the situation in S. America is deteriorating. Panama City and Quito are both in dire straights now. We are seriously expecting we could be here the whole year. We have been able to travel within Ecuador and have enjoyed Banos, Cuenca and now Vilcabamba. It’s a lovely country but in desperate need of international cooks, haha!
There’s some pretty decent local cuisine if you go for that kind of thing. The ceviches and encocados are tasty, and there’s lots of goat dishes.

If your budget allows it, this might be an opportunity to see the Galápagos Islands.
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 03:37 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 13,176
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
...........If your budget allows it, this might be an opportunity to see the Galápagos Islands.
Yea, I can think of much worse places to be stuck. Ecuador has everything from the Galapagos Islands to the Andes peaks to the Amazon rain forests.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 05:28 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Tampa
Posts: 8,394
Interesting story. Try to take advantage of it as much as you can. You appear to be adventurous.
__________________
TGIM
Dtail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 05:58 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Vung tau
Posts: 103
If your budget allows it, this might be an opportunity to see the Galápagos Islands.[/QUOTE]


It has just opened up again, we might have to look into it!
VungTau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 06:19 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 29,573
Quote:
Originally Posted by VungTau View Post
Our crazy virus travel experience....

Dec 27: We, we being myself an American man and my Vietnamese (incl her passport) fiancee arrived at the airport at 11:00 am for our 2:00 pm flight. Plenty of time, the way I like it...

I had planned this trip from months. Panama, Chile, Peru, Ecuador – a 4 month adventure to really see the continent...

Then we sat there at Saigon airport searching online for a new flight... It left at 11:00 pm that same night.

Things went relatively smoothly in Panama, Peru and Chile. February, in Santiago, in the middle of the riots there we got tear gassed once, that was a first and hopefully last. We loved the mountains, volcanoes and desert. What sights to see! Finally we were on our way to our last destination – Ecuador.

The Virus: We arrived in Quito in early March. We spent a week there before heading to the Amazon to experience the remote jungle life. It was wonderful and remote enough to be offline most of the time but we were getting tidbits that the virus was finally impacting S. America and we heard that Ecuador was going to close on March 16, our last day in the jungle. Other tourists from all over the world were scrambling to get home. The place was deserted by that night. We weren’t ready to leave Ecuador yet, logistically it would have been really difficult and we didn’t think the virus would turn into the monster it became. How wrong we were...

We have been trapped in Ecuador ever since. Vietnam has closed their borders so we can’t return home and the situation in S. America is deteriorating. Panama City and Quito are both in dire straights now. We are seriously expecting we could be here the whole year. We have been able to travel within Ecuador and have enjoyed Banos, Cuenca and now Vilcabamba. It’s a lovely country but in desperate need of international cooks, haha!

There are a lot of side stories about flooded airbnb’s, enormous hail storms, bank freezes and more but this post is long enough

Wow, what a story! So, your planned trip for 4 months is still on-going after 7 months. When one has money and does not have to work, he can make the best of the situation and try to survive. I shudder to think of vacationers who get stuck and their bank account run low. What do they do? Pan-handling in a foreign country?

Please keep us posted. If you are a Youtuber and a good story teller, you can get some views and make some money.

PS. Stay safe, and try to not get sick with this virus.
__________________
"Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities Can Make You Commit Atrocities" - Voltaire (1694-1778)
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 06:54 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
swakyaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: central California
Posts: 681
This is an amazing adventure and ordeal! If you and your fiancée stay intact after all this, you are truly meant for each other. I went to Peru and Ecuador last summer, and not being an experienced international traveler, opted for a small group tour. I felt safe and well-looked after, so that I could more fully appreciate the Inca ruins in Peru and the Galapagos in Ecuador. So glad I missed traveling to South America during a pandemic. Thank you for sharing with us your incredible story.
swakyaby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 07:41 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 11,446
What an adventure ! You have a great attitude about it !
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 07:54 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Vung tau
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Wow, what a story! So, your planned trip for 4 months is still on-going after 7 months. When one has money and does not have to work, he can make the best of the situation and try to survive. I shudder to think of vacationers who get stuck and their bank account run low. What do they do? Pan-handling in a foreign country?

Please keep us posted. If you are a Youtuber and a good story teller, you can get some views and make some money.

PS. Stay safe, and try to not get sick with this virus.



We have met a few of those unfortunate travelers who don't have the financial resources to ride this out. They banded together to share accommodation, got help from the local people and are surviving. Guess there are a lot of people with crazier stories than ours...



Thanks for your thoughts!
VungTau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 11:54 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
kcowan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific latitude 20/49
Posts: 7,415
Send a message via Skype™ to kcowan
We took Turkish Air from Zagreb to Istanbul and then on to Zurich. It was one of our finest airline experiences.
__________________
For the fun of it...Keith
kcowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 05:19 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
dixonge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: On the road
Posts: 1,398
While we enjoyed Mexico immensely, and had lived there 6 out of the last 8 years, we became a bit bored after the lockdowns. What's Mexico without roving bands of tourists drunk on Tequila? No parades? No fireworks? It got very quiet and started feeling a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.


We began thinking about returning to the States to ride out the virus in an RV. At about the same time, we began to get concerned about actually getting back. Our first flights were cancelled, and subsequent flights were as well. And who knew when some President might just shut down the border? We finally rented a car, drove half-way across the country and *walked* back across the border carrying everything we own.


We also want to explore South America. Hopefully we can do it without being trapped...


Very sorry for your hardships, but at least you've got a lot of amazing stories to tell!
dixonge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2020, 08:17 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Golden sunsets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,204
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
While we enjoyed Mexico immensely, and had lived there 6 out of the last 8 years, we became a bit bored after the lockdowns. What's Mexico without roving bands of tourists drunk on Tequila? No parades? No fireworks? It got very quiet and started feeling a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.


We began thinking about returning to the States to ride out the virus in an RV. At about the same time, we began to get concerned about actually getting back. Our first flights were cancelled, and subsequent flights were as well. And who knew when some President might just shut down the border? We finally rented a car, drove half-way across the country and *walked* back across the border carrying everything we own.


We also want to explore South America. Hopefully we can do it without being trapped...


Very sorry for your hardships, but at least you've got a lot of amazing stories to tell!
Wow. What part of Mexico were you living in?
__________________
"Luck favors the prepared mind"
Pasteur
Golden sunsets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2020, 03:27 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
kcowan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific latitude 20/49
Posts: 7,415
Send a message via Skype™ to kcowan
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
While we enjoyed Mexico immensely, and had lived there 6 out of the last 8 years, we became a bit bored after the lockdowns. What's Mexico without roving bands of tourists drunk on Tequila? No parades? No fireworks? It got very quiet and started feeling a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.

We began thinking about returning to the States to ride out the virus in an RV. At about the same time, we began to get concerned about actually getting back. Our first flights were cancelled, and subsequent flights were as well. And who knew when some President might just shut down the border? We finally rented a car, drove half-way across the country and *walked* back across the border carrying everything we own.
We were booked on a direct flight to Vancouver April 26th. That had been planned last fall because DW was schedule to have her hip replaced June 10th. When that flight was cancelled, we started looking at local surgery and she got the operation done in May (Canada had cancelled her date with no reschedule).

When the physio sessions were done, we flew American through DFW July 15th from PV. Everyone was masked the whole way. We had to overnight in DFW. Going into our second week of our quarantine.
__________________
For the fun of it...Keith
kcowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2020, 09:38 AM   #20
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Toronto
Posts: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by VungTau View Post
If your budget allows it, this might be an opportunity to see the Galápagos Islands.

It has just opened up again, we might have to look into it![/QUOTE]

If your budget stretches this far, I highly recommend a cruise with Juan Salcedo on the Samba. He's a second-generation guide, is exceptionally knowledgeable and has great connections (which means good landing times, etc). The Samba was comfortable and well-equipped, and you travel with a small enough group (about 12-14 guests) that you can experience the Islands without crowds. We booked through Cheesemans but there are other companies (like this link) that offer tours:

https://www.cnhtours.com/active-tour...dates-details/

And here's a link to some of my photographs from our trip in 2016:
https://www.frogoutofwater.ca/Portfo...-Islands-2016/

One other thing - prior to our cruise, we stopped in Guayaquil to help Rescate Animal Ecuador, which was mobilizing resources to help dogs and cats after the earthquake. We've stayed connected with them ever since - and if you are looking for an animal rescue group to support while you are in-country, you might check them out. Their regular website is down for maintenance but here's their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/RescateAnimalEc/

And here's a link to some of the photos I took at their shelter. The first eight photos in this series are from their emergency shelter. (The next eight are from work I've done in Puerto Vallarta.)
https://www.frogoutofwater.ca/Portfo...nd-cat-rescue/
Andromeda is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
living as expat in Ecuador katste12 Travel Information 20 03-11-2012 05:31 AM
Ecuador impressions Onward Life after FIRE 69 05-29-2010 11:11 AM
Ecuador or Bust AlmostThere Life after FIRE 91 10-28-2008 01:33 PM
Ecuador Andina Life after FIRE 1 02-15-2003 01:59 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:09 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.