I was harassed by the locals in Belize City

Old Mar 21st, 2007, 05:35 AM
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I was harassed by the locals in Belize City

I wonder if anyone else did not like Belize City. I went to this sad place by a cruise ship and had to tender into the port. Once we finally made it into port there was a huge enclosed shopping area with maybe a hundred shops all selling things from China at high prices.

We wanted to see the real Belize so we left the secure mall area and walked towards the main street of downtown. Instantly we were harassed by dozens of locals who asked us to give them money, buy something or go on a tour. I was approached countless times. The people seemed so desperate and poor and many would follow us up the street asking us over and over if we would reconsider our firm NO! Finally we decided it was not worth it and we went back into the secure port area.

Anyone else bothered by all these pushy people?
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 05:49 AM
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What a bummer! I think there are sad places in every country and, unfortunately, you only saw a tiny slice of Belize that most of us avoid like the plague on our visits there. For those of us who have visited Belize for more than a cruise stop, what you saw wasn't "the real Belize" at all. I hope you get to revisit sometime when you have a chance to see the beautiful ruins, jungles, caves, islands, villages, rivers, lakes, and astounding variety of cultural groups.

Here's a link to our travelogue from 2003 in case you have an interest in what "the real Belize" means to me:

http://www.belizeforum.com/cgi-bin/u...;f=10;t=000362
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:17 AM
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We went to Belize about 10 years ago. When we walked from our hotel in Belize City to the restaurant, there were guards on the corners.

What is the 'real Belize'? Is it the beautiful areas mentioned above, the crime and poverty of the inner city, or both?
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:34 AM
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The people I know who love Belize move quickly thru Belize City, and go on to other parts. This was true even 15-20 years ago.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:53 AM
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I'm so sorry for your bad experience. Unfortunately, it's usual for the ports to not be in a good part of most cities. Even in the US, I would hate to have Pennsyvania or Maryland (my area) judged by the 1mile radius around their cruise ports.

I've found that you really need to go outside the city areas to see another side of a place.

That said, as mentioned above, Belize City has generally had the reputation has an entry point only - not a desination.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 07:11 AM
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The real Belize is Belize City. The tourist Belize is Ambergris Caye. It sounds like you haven't travelled much in the third world. If all that happened was people asking you for money, to buy things or to book tours this is very common in any poor country that I've been too. Personally I think it is a learning experience to see how most people in the world live. It makes me feel more grateful for what I have as well as more likely to buy things from the people who have little.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 07:24 AM
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I live in Belize City and Placencia. The real Belize is Belize City, Corozal, Cayo, Orange Walk, Toledo, Stann Creek and the island and atolls off shore. Belize City, like everywhere, has its good and bad points, places and people. Takes time and traveling to know anyplace well, Belize included.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 10:45 AM
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Good answer Katie!

We loved the Hopkins, Stann Creek District of Belize. Hopkins is a fishing village and not at all "touristy". You also don't find the resorts like you find along 7MB of GC or in Aruba. The Jaguar Reef Lodge is just perfect in our book.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:13 PM
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I think RBCal has hit the nail on the head. Welcome to the Third World. This is, unfortunately, how most of the population on the planet have to live. (There are much more dire conditions to be found in the world than Belize City.) They eke out a living, hand to mouth, day after day after day, with little hope of ever getting ahead.

The people did not pester you because they wanted to make your day in port miserable. They sure didn't do it because they are too lazy to work. For most of them, there is just no work to be had. So they try as best they can to do something, anything, selling trinkets, offering to be your guide, or to carry your bags, or to hail a taxi, or to open the taxi door for you, all in the hopes of earning some meager amount of money. It's out of desperation.

I feel sometimes tourism is sold to a country as some great hope for lifting its economy and standard of living. It can do that, but only up to a point. It's limited in that way, and the benefits certainly don't trickle down to everybody. Local people see a cruise ship come into port and would like a piece of the action too. I don't blame them for trying, but most aren't able to derive that much benefit.

I'm sorry to hear you had an unpleasant day visitng Belize, but in a way, I'm glad you had the experience. It's good to have our eyes opened now and again.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 08:46 PM
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It has always amazed me that some of my fellow Americans actually enjoy traveling to a Disney-fied version of a third world country via a cruise ship. Generally, they are the same people raising hell about exporting jobs to third world countries.

Of course, their sunburnt corn-rowed scalps are the equivalent of a neon "sucker" tattoo on their foreheads.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:31 AM
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pretty cruel hills.....you should not make such sweeping statments. We like to cruise and we have never had a corn row!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Seeing any city from the cruise ship port will not give you the best impression. The locals know who the cruise ship passengers are and you are treated differently, and not for the better. This is true in most any port, even in more economically stable places.

As a side note to people who only read and post here on the Latin American forum, this poster has started many threads of a troublesome nature lately.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:20 PM
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Curt, my sweeping statement was about a specific type of cruiser, not all cruisers.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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I too traveled to Beize by cruise ship twice. Each time we got a driver for the day outside the port shopping center on the street. They were both very knowledgeable about the country and were fun to be with. On our second trip the cab driver spoke of his three children. We stopped and bought new outfits for all of them. Hewas so touched he did not want to charge us the cab fare. We insisted. We have traveled to many poorer countries or islands and feel its only right to do business wih the locals when possible. There are hardworking people all over the world doing what ever they have to to support their families. People on a luxury cruise should recognize this and try to be a bit more compassionate
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