Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#134540 - 03/02/01 06:24 PM sensitive topic
meusgeier Offline
I have a question about the locals/tourist dynamic. As an "enlightened" liberal arts grad and third world traveler, I have always struggled with my affect, as a tourist, on local ecosystems/economy/psychology. I know that tourism is important to AC, but on my last visit I grew uncomfortable with the locals and their "excellent" treatment of myself and my parents. My parents own two condos at the palms as well as a lot up past Mata Chica, near Mexico rocks. I found myself feeling embarrased when waiters and bartenders whom my parents know called me "ms. Heidi" and treated my parents like gold. I KNOW that this is how some make their living, but I can't help but feel exploitative. I love AC and am coming in a week, but I feel ambivilant about my parents owning property there, about me basking in the sun while somebody kisses my but so they can feed their kids. Any thoughts?

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#134541 - 03/02/01 06:29 PM Re: sensitive topic
NYgal Offline
Hi, Isn't that a small prcie to pay for such warm hearts? They are loving people in Belize. They really mean it when they show it too. They do not kiss butt, appreciate how love is to be shown. You will be coming back with a warmer heart too, I bet.

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#134542 - 03/02/01 07:18 PM Re: sensitive topic
CHOOCHOO Offline
Meusgeier, (What IS that by the way?)

We have discussed this at length, not only as it relates to AC but relative to places in the US and abroad.

If we stop and think about it, the service industry is centuries old and certainly not an ignoble profession. Most major universities offer degrees and even some graduate degrees in the hospitality business.

Generally the people of Belize have gentle and kind dispositions which flows into their job, whether it be building boats, baking bread or working in the tourism industry. This should not be confused with "butt kissing". I feel that in many respects we have come to expect less rather than more from those who provide goods and services. When is the last time you had a really true happy experience in a department store? In the US we have a widespread employment base and work force who in many respects are resentful, unhappy, and think that the world owes them a living. In many instances these are the people who are looking after your needs for goods or services, whether on vacation or not, and unfortunately we start to settle for mediocrity, with rudeness thrown in as an acceptable standard.

That all being said, we have also noticed from time to time some very subtle resentment among a few of the residents of SP who make their living catering to tourists. (Remember, I said few). Basic griping point is that they do not like being "servants". The problem with that is that they, with limited background, are confusing servant with service, and remain unaware of exactly what kind of economic rewards can be had for individuals who are very good at making their visitors feel that a little backside kissing is not a bad thing.

Heidi, I think they are just being thoughtful, and glad to have you and your parents as residents/visitors/customers, and it shows. It's kinda fun to have people treat you like they actually cared if you came back or not.

Jeez, it's Friday. No more of this for me. I had to think for a minute and it wore me out.

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#134543 - 03/02/01 07:55 PM Re: sensitive topic
M-A Gaffney Offline
These loving people love one thing . . . and we all know it. Human is human worldwide. Praise the almighty US dollar.

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#134544 - 03/02/01 08:05 PM Re: sensitive topic
meusgeier Offline
Meusgeier (mice-guy-er) is my last name... german... anyway, I read your posts (thanks) then re-read mine, and would like to retract my use of the word "but-kissing". I meant to use it as an exaggeration... I guess I'm still a bit too jaded for AC and have a hard time believing that some people are just plain nice- LOL- I need this vacation more than I thought. Thank you kindly for your thoughts, as I have a hard time figuring these things out unless I say it out loud or write it down and have people to bounce ideas off of. My parents say similar things about the locals. But I also feel that stereotyping is stereotyping, weather you are calling a group of people jerks or a group of people nice. For me it calls up memories of our nanny when I was little- she was african-american and I ate up the whole Aunt Jemima thing. It wasn't until years later that I looked past the image of her that I created into the reality of her life. I don't know. I agree with and understand your posts, but something is still gnawing at me...

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#134545 - 03/02/01 08:17 PM Re: sensitive topic
NYgal Offline
Enjoy your visit with your family. Take each day as it comes. Relax, since that is the way things are in Belize, warm, relaxed and heartful. It takes all kinds to make up this world and you will get a taste of this culture to add to your knowledge. Gain from it and share with others wha you have learned. Hope to hear about your trip after your return home. ENJOY....

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#134546 - 03/02/01 08:45 PM Re: sensitive topic
Debbie Offline
Chooch,
I think what you said was very well said. I commend your eloquance. I also happen to agree with you. The people there WERE different. There is a happiness there that I would give anything to see here again. I think perhaps it comes from a stress free life on a whole. No fast lane there..... Plus all these people know one another. They all grew up together and it's more like a family. In US towns and cities this is a thing of the past. Only small town residents know of it. I call them the front porch people. They still sit on their front porch and watch the world go by. They wave to all they see, and know most the names. There is a peace about them that I envy. The same goes for San Pedranos. When did you have that luxury? Anywhere we go, most people are stangers. In the US that means you are automatically suspect. We just happen to be "used" to being treated that way. I think the comfort level for the San Pedro people must be very high. I also see an old time set of values and morals. You know, back when you were a kid, when people still had "manners". When it was acceptable and expected to treat a stranger with kindness. Take their kindness at face value. I can feel the sincerity. Just be thankful it still exists.... somewhere....
Debbie

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#134547 - 03/02/01 09:03 PM Re: sensitive topic
CHOOCHOO Offline
M-A,

I may be a throwback (may?), but I have a hard time not loving the all mighty American dollar myself.

And..I'm REAL tickled when I see others get some for themselves. Ah, better clear that up. That would be by EARNING it fair and square regardless of how hard they worked for it, not taking it from our own earnings consfiscated by You Know Who.

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#134548 - 03/02/01 10:24 PM Re: sensitive topic
chunkyruth Offline
Thank you Meusgeler for such a thought-provoking topic!

Some of my feelings on this are as follows...

Worldwide, the majority of time, people treat you as you treat them. I would guess that your parents love and respect the people of San Pedro...thus they (and...by heredity...you) are rewarded with these same sincere feelings in return.

I have never felt my butt being kissed. I know you have retracted that statement, however, I must comment. Just because you are treated well, and with respect, does not mean that your butt is being kissed. I guarantee you, if you treat people badly, they will be glad to return the favor...again, this is worldwide!

One of the things that attracted me most about San Pedro is the fact that you live and play with the locals. On so many islands we have visited in the past, the local people were bussed in to wait on you, cook for you and clean your rooms. Then after they had worked their asses off for you, they were bussed back to their homes (generally quite a ways from where you were staying!)

Mu husband and I consider ourselves guests on these islands...and have always felt that this is a horrible way to treat your hosts!

The joy of day to day living with the locals in San Pedro...shopping in the same stores, swimming and frolicking on the same beaches, eating at the same restaurants...is probably the #l reason we keep returning to San Pedro.

As a rule, San Pedranos are wonderful hosts who are proud of their island and of themselves...as well they should be. And I (for one) am very grateful.

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#134549 - 03/02/01 10:45 PM Re: sensitive topic
munichchick Offline
Hi Heidi! I am also German and we are seriously thinking about moving to AC. Would be nice to meet you and your parents and talk about their experiences moving and living there. I live with my American husband in California right now but will be on AC in June.

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