"The presidential palace belongs to all" according to the past Commander in Chief, Rafael Correa.
Come in for a tour. From the right side facing the plaza, go up the steps onto the balcony - a gift from the French government right after the French Revolution - taken from the Palace of Les Tuilleries in Paris... but only at your appointed time.
The times posted bring laughs. On the Espejo Street side, a wrist band must be granted and a time appointed. Apparently, this gives them control over the size of the group they allow in at any given time.
The guard directed me to go do whatever I needed to do and come back at the authorized time. I gladly grabbed the excuse to shop - thankful not to have to wait in line for well over an hour.
All foreigners need a passport and locals need their cedula or ID. Everyone goes through something vaguely similar to airport security which requires that you leave your cell phones and baggage behind.
The special guards stand at attention at the outer doors.
Formal changing of the guards with all its fluff occurs once a month.
Once inside, the guide circles you around the area as he reveals culture with displays of limited exhibits surrounding the garden area. You're shown an empty ballroom with pictures of each and every president claimed by Ecuador lined around the top of the walls.
If congress isn't in session, one of their legislative rooms awaits your presence... the only actual governing room allowed for showing to the public. Still, it's more than in the past.
As a souvenir, you get a free photo card of yourself inside at the palace courtyard. The whole excursion seems to be a propaganda promotion of sorts.
Passports, cedulas and baggage wait to be returned as you exit. With the exception of your passport and cedulas, they don't really keep track of who owns what. You need to if you want your bags back. They just stuff them in a nook behind the admissions desk.
A glimpse of history comes thrown in for the taking on this guided tour of the presidential palace along with that of Museo de la Ciudad. I expected more.