25 - student - NYC That's all for now.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Worst Vacation Ever (Day 3) : The Fire Station, The Embassy, and Jeanine Shuts Down Belize

We woke up early this morning to get breakfast before we went looking for the "other" police station. Let me just add, at this point, another creeping concern. A lot of places accepted credit cards, but there were certain things that you couldn't do unless you had cash. Unfortunately the only cash machine on the island which accepted American ATMs was broken (of course). Therefore, we were running dangerously low on our cash reserves.

Anyway, we jumped on our bikes around 7 to go look for some food and the station. Once we got into town and ate we asked around for directions. We were pointed down several sketchy allies and had to turn around a number of times. Apparently no one had any idea where this new station was located. Eventually we found ourselves in a very run-down neighborhood with mostly ripped-up buildings. One of them looked to be an abandoned fire station, missing the garage door. This was actually the police station. It was essentially a large room with 3 walls, a desk and some rooms in the back (i can only imagine).

I went up to the woman behind the desk and asked if I could get a copy of the police report I had filed yesterday. Here's an approximation of the dialogue - I kid you not.

Me: I'd like to pick up a copy of a police report I filed yesterday at the other police station. I need it to bring to the embassy so that we can replace our passports which were stolen.
Woman: That will cost $8.
Me: Are you kidding me? Fine. Whatever, here (reaching for my wallet).
Woman: Oh, I'm sorry. I can't take the money. The person who takes the money isn't here.
Me: You have to be joking. Why do you need a person who takes the money?
Woman: Because he has the key to the cashbox. We can't take the money unless we can put it in the cashbox.
Me: Well, when will this guy arrive who takes the money? We're in a hurry.
Woman: I dunno. I haven't seen him for a few days.
Me: WHAT??? (Frustration setting in)
(This argument continues for some time before I finally convince her to take the money)
Me: Okay, you'll take the money. Now can I get a copy of my report?
(She disappears into the back and returns empty-handed. About 25 minutes have elapsed since we arrived.)
Woman: The guy who makes copies is not here. I can't give you that report.
Me: WHAT? I need that report! Last night, I called the police station and they told me that he would be here at 8 this morning. Can you just go make the copy? Hell, give me the original and I WILL MAKE THE COPY! (Frustration reaching a crescendo - I am actually yelling now)
Woman: I'm sorry only he can make the copies. And he's at court all day today and won't be back until Friday. He is also the court stenographer. (It was Wednesday).
Me: We need the report today because we're going to the embassy today. I don't know how else to explain this.
Woman: I'm sorry. I don't know how else to help you.
Me: How about making a copy and giving it to me?
(This goes on for another 10 minutes before I extract a promise to fax a copy to the embassy upon request. I copied down the phone number of the "new" station and we left extremely frustrated.)

I mean, come on, what is the actual likelihood that they are going to be able to fax a copy of the report to the embassy when they can't even make a copy? I sure as hell didn't see a fax machine. I didn't see a copy machine either. Hell, I didn't see a telephone. I didn't even see another person. There was a door. I could only hope that it led to a copy room and at least one competent human being.



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