Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sabbath day fail

Saturday night before bed, we got on one of the two ancient and very slow moving Macs provided in the hotel lobby to see if we could find a place to go to church.

Much to our excitement, we found a listing for a San Pedro Branch on 17 Lagun Street that starts at 9:30 a.m. "Perfect!" we thought.

Only problem - where is 17 Lagun Street? San Pedro doesn't really have streets. The few streets it has don't really have names. And certainly NO streets have street signs indicating names. We asked the clerk working the front desk if he knew where that was and he had no clue. He looked at us blankly. "An address isn't really going to help... what's it by?" Well, gee, we don't know. The church doesn't really give directions that way. How the church came up with this address in the first place, I'll never know.

We looked at google maps, but if you google San Pedro you'll notice that there are absolutely no street names listed. Not helpful. I googled it every way I could think of and found a blog from an older couple who had visited the island last fall. They claim to have found the church (they didn't say where) and that it was a small branch with no more than 50 people (I think that's pretty large for an island that small!)

Anyway, we decided to give it a try. We knew the general area, so we figured we'd wander. The older couple's blog said there was a big sign out front that looked like a missionary tag.

Sunday morning things started to fail.

I think I mentioned before that Mata Chica provides a shuttle to and from town based on the arrivals/departures of guests. They have a chalk board in the lobby where they list what time the boat will go into town and when it'll come back. When we checked Saturday night, we saw that room "Mamae" (what the heck is a Mamae? not any fruit I know!) was leaving at 9 a.m., and the boat taking them to town would return at 10:45. That seemed pretty perfect. We'd get to town by 9:10 and have time to wander and find the church, stay for sacrament, and then catch the 10:45 boat back. Done!

So we got up early and it was cold. Cold cold, had-to-force-ourselves-out-of-bed cold. We got all dressed and headed out to the dock to catch the boat. Oh what's that you say? Mamae loves the resort and decided to stay another day? There's no boat going to town anymore, you say? Awesome.

The host offered to call a water taxi (the one that costs $12.50 each) for us. We debated. Do you spend money on Sunday, if you have to spend money to get to church? Was it worth it? I really wanted to go, so Hans told the host to set up the ride.
"Er, sorry, but the taxi driver says he can't be here until 9:20. Is that ok?"
Well, jeez. We won't get to town until 9:30, right when church is starting. And we still have to walk there from the dock. But it can't be more than 10 minutes away, so I guess we'll be 10 minutes late. Ya, I guess we can do that.

We go out to wait for the taxi on the dock. We wait. And wait. And wait. by 9:35 he's STILL not there and we're figuring we can't get to church before 10 at the earliest and sacrament will almost be over. Finally, we admit defeat.

Being super cold, we decided to go get back into bed. Our Saturday adventures have left us pretty wiped out anyway. We go climb back in bed and didn't get out until almost 2! It was so warm and cozy.

We finally did catch a ride into town later that day. I wanted to see if we could at least find the building where church was supposed to meet. Once again, we failed. We walked the entire length of the street that several maps alternately called Lagoon, Lagun, and Laguna, and we found a building marked 17, but it looked like a vacant building and there was definitely no sign. My only guess is that the members meet in some other type of building (a school, someone's home, another church) and only put the sign out on Sunday. I was really disappointed, but I guess we tried, at least.

The same hotel host who had helped us in the morning had promised us that there was a boat going back to Mata Chica at 6:30 p.m., bringing a large party of arrivals. He warned us that if the boat wasn't at the dock right at 6:30 not to worry because the party was coming was boat, so they might be a little bit behind.

As we waited for the boat, we picked up some souvenirs for ourselves, Hans' parents, and Liz. It took us a while to check out and we were getting nervous. I got back to the dock at 6:32 (with Hans coming right behind me) and there was no boat. I wasn't too worried, Eric had said it may not be there on time. Hans was convinced it had left early. We waited about 20 minutes, though, and no boat. I didn't think it could be that late. Another Fail.

What to do? We could always pay the $25 to take a water taxi home. But we HATE doing that. We could go to Portofino for dinner - that restaurant has complimentary pick up and drop off. We do need to eat, and that'll give us a free ride home. But how to call Portofino? We don't have a phone.

As we contemplated these things and started to walk away from the dock, who should come up to us but our friendly host, Eric. I was surprised to see him because I knew that he'd gotten off work some time before. It turns out, his wife works at one of the restaurants right across from the Mata Chica dock and he'd been hanging out there waiting for her to get off work so they could go home together. He'd seen us waiting on the dock for some time so he had made some calls on our behalf. It turned out the arrivals were just really, REALLY late the boat captain was still waiting for them. But he knew we were there and would definitely come pick us up.

I was really impressed that even though this guy had been off work for a while, he still provided rockin' customer service. Seriously, the folks at this resort really know how to treat people right.

Knowing that there was indeed a boat coming, we had no problem hanging out at the dock. It was amazing that even in the dark, you can still see all the way to the ocean floor - the water is that clear. We were checking out these cool little skinny fish and we saw a ray! We watched him swim around for a while. He was all fluttery and graceful. I think Hans wanted to jump in, grab him, and bring him home with us.

Finally, the boat came and we headed home.

Since it was our last night in Belize, we decided that we wanted to have our last dinner at the Rojo Lounge, mostly because their dessert was our favorite and we wanted it again. But when we walked over to the Rojo Lounge, we discovered that they were closed. Fail again, though refreshing to see that there are some businesses beside Chick-Fil-A who are not open on Sundays.

We decided to just have dinner at our resort. We'd only eaten there once, on the night we arrived, so it seemed like a good way to book end the trip. It ended up being absolutely wonderful. I had a pecan crusted chicken that was to die for and Hans (always the superior order-er) had the best shrimp fettuccine either of us has ever tasted. We topped off the meal with a smooth and flavorful key lime pie.

Not our most successful day of the trip, but definitely a lazy Sunday that ended on a sweet note.

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