The nearest branch of our church is in Rivas. To get to Rivas, we needed to wake up at 4:30 am to catch the "somewhere around 5:30 am" bus. Ride that bus over dirt road and cobblestone streets to San Juan, then wait for the second leg of the bus journey --a second hour --to Rivas. Once there, we had to find our way to the church which was listed as " one block east, and one block south of San Pedro" even on the church website. What the heck was San Pedro? I figured it was the Catholic church building in Rivas. Luckily I saw it through the trees from the bus window, confirmed with the lady sitting behind us, and we jumped off the bus. First we walked to San Pedro itself, about 1/2 a mile maybe, then figured out the block east and south.
We saw some cool old houses on the way. Everything is stuck to the building on either side of it in this town.
Newer building near the park.
In our Sunday best. Did I mention fasting? We brought water bottles in case things got ugly, it is HOT down here and I wasn't sure if we could make it without water in the heat. I figured members down here did it once a month, but I was still nervous.
We got to the church building and it was locked. Lots of iron bars around it I suppose so nobody is tempted to break in. Most buildings of any repute have iron bars down here though.
Yeah, none of the gates opened. We noticed then that it was only 7:30. One bus that could make it before church started, but it wasn't the most convenient! Church starts at 9:00.
So we walked back to the park across from San Pedro, to wait. I've got Gospel Library downloaded, so I lay down on one of the cement park benches to read. I was just getting sleepy, when a policeman came by and clapped his hands at me. In Uruguay people would clap all of the time instead of knocking on a door, or at a gate, etc. to be let in, so I got it --he got my attention. He let me know very kindly --with a smile no less, that it wasn't allowed to lay down on the benches. I felt like a vagrant. Oh well.
We got some cool shots of the cathedral.
They were even open for some of them although it's too dark to see inside. At 8:00, all of the cathedral bells rang, and it was spectacular and went on for a long time. I guess they wanted people to get out of bed and go to church!
Finally 9:00 came, and we were able to go to our church. Notice the lovely plastic bow on the pulpit? I'm pretty sure it's in the handbook as not ok. Whatever. We met a nice family from Idaho, and a guy from Spokane, and a ton of nice people from Rivas. One guy drove us back to the bus station after church. We didn't know where it was since we got off in the middle of town to get to church.
I'd forgotten the crazy factor in South/Central American churches. There was no nursery, and all of the ladies kept their littles in with them in R.S. and they ran around and screamed. The windows were all open and the fans going because -no air conditioning, which was great, until the Catholic church bells started again and you could hear nothing. Halfway through Relief Society, the branch president's wife passed around a bag of candy. A few of the ladies sucked on lollipops through the whole thing anyway, don't know what happened to fast Sunday. So funny. Every once in a while, the wind would change, and the folding partitions in the back of the room would flip forward and bang back. I had a hard hard time following the teacher, I couldn't hear super well. Now I know what Ari goes through every day! After church was the bus ride back to San Juan, and then the next bus back to our place wasn't for 2 1/2 more hours. We felt like we couldn't stand waiting for it, and got a taxi meant for four people. We squished the kids and I all in the back seat of an old Toyota Corolla. Oh my gosh I was afraid that car would fall apart on the dirt road back. We had a nice conversation with the driver though about God and Jesus Christ etc.
We all went to bed for an hour or two, then made avocado sandwiches and watermelon and papaya, and apple bread (from our cool bakery guy) for dinner. Jeff rushed us outside to watch the sunset afterwards. It sets right around 6 every night.
It didn't do anything really spectacular this night, just kind of disappeared. We had a funny conversation about "Teen Beach Movie" from Disney --some song from it we'd heard that night we'd watched "Los Increibles"