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#185369 - 12/15/05 08:08 AM In defense of Lan Sluder
William Voltaire Offline
I have noticed over the past several months that there have been numerous negative posts against Lan Sluder on this and other Belize message boards. Iím not referring to the occasional difference of opinion, but posts questioning his very credibility and knowledge about the country.

Specifically, Capín Jesse recently wrote that Lanís comments have become increasingly negative. Whenever there is a tragic or criminal story coming out of Belize, he jumps on it immediately. Most who frequent Belize message boards would concur that Lan has changed his focus. However one must look at Lanís earlier writings throughout the 90ís which some in the past had labeled ďfluff reportsĒ. To be taken seriously by publishers, Lan must have known he had to change.

Sir Isaac Newton, you posed the question, ďI wonder why most people OUTSIDE of Belize consider Lan a trusted source when most of those INSIDE feel otherwise?"
To coin a legal term, ďAsked and Answered.Ē Its no secret that Lan is not exactly popular among many Belize business owners, be they local or expat. The reasons are varied and numerous so thereís no sense in going over them here. Suffice to say that Lan is not be considered a trusted source by many people who know him, simply because they have had negative experiences dealing with him. However, the majorities of people reading these Internet forums that do trust Lan know him only from his writings and assume he is knowledgeable based on those posts. They have not had personal interaction. Thats the huge difference.

Its getting to the point that people are openly challenging Lan on anything he says, A few months ago on another board, he wrote about the release of his new book, describing what it was like to start a new life as an expat in Belize. This elicited a chorus of negative responses asking how he was qualified to write such a book when he has never actually lived there. To his credit, Lan did admit that he does not live in Belize nor had any plans to so, then voluntarily deleted his own post advertising the book. But by that time the damage had been done. It cannot look good to have written a book about life as an expat, and then its revealed you are not one. Who would want to buy such a book?

And in the cruelest cut of all, a Placencia hotel owner recently stated that while Lan had been consistently giving his resort a 3 star rating for several years, he knew for a fact that Lan had never actually been there, thus calling into question the very reliability of his many tour guides.

Itís about time this constant criticism ended. Throughout the 90ís, Lan had built himself up as the leading expert on Belize. At the time, Belize was not on the tourist map and he had the field pretty much to himself. The Internet was just beginning, and within Belize was too expensive for anyone to use with regularity. Now however, when someone asks a question on a website, they can be answered by numerous people who actually live in the country and have the most up to date information, be it regarding real estate, hotels, or tourist attractions. How do you think this makes Lan feel, to watch his claims of expertise questioned, or worse, be disregarded completely?

Like him or not, accurate or not, I think we all need to remember that its the Christmas season. Lan may be out of touch with whats going on in Belize, but do people need to constantly point this out? I think not.

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#185370 - 12/15/05 12:19 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
dogmatic prevaricator Offline
This is uplifting, as I thought altruism was doomed to gathering mold like obsolete stock certificates in the trashcan of a fast-buck telephone boiler room.
_________________________
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

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#185371 - 12/15/05 12:32 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
diverdoug Offline
"Lan had built himself up as the leading expert on Belize"

this is one sentence i do agree on!

i remember back when the hummingbird highway mass hold up and murders occurred...well lan was the first and only to smear the news over all our tourism oriented websites/boards. if he had lived here and been a part of belize society then he would have left it alone.

however i do enjoy his humor... ' casa picasso - one of 10 best restaurants in the world'

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#185372 - 12/15/05 03:33 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
WhiteWater Offline
Do people think that what Lan says is wrong? Or, is the objection how he says it, or where he makes the statements? (I don't mean info that becomes outdated, that's a known peril of guide books and reviews.)

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#185373 - 12/15/05 04:13 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
Barbara K Offline
I have to defend Lan. He has probably encouraged more people to visit Belize than the rest of us put together. When this board first started, there were only a few of us who could answer people's questions about hotels, sightseeing, logistics, etc, with Lan being the main "answer man." Now it seems everyone is an expert. Tourism has taken off, websites are readily available, big advertising is happening, Belize is "on the map." A lot of this is due to Lan and other's direct efforts. When I first came to Belize on a routine travel agent trip, no one had heard of it other than divers and Texas fishermen. Since then a lot about Belize has changed - some for the good, some for the bad - crime is a problem, gov't corruption is out of control, scams, drugs and rip offs have increased tenfold. It is hard not to be negative when you report honestly these days. Even though my business is entirely about sending people to Belize, I have suggested to potential clients that perhaps Belize was not what they were looking for if I truly felt that way. Who wants disgruntled clients or bad word of mouth? I think it is better to be up front about situations than gloss everything over with "perfect" reports of Belize. I love Belize like no other place on the planet, but it is not perfect. There are problems and issues like everyplace. I have been jumped all over on this board for also posting negative things. It has discouraged me from posting many times. Many of the so called experts on this board have not even been to Belize or have been there once or twice. I have met SP hotel owners and expat "experts" who have never even been to the mainland except for the airport! I (or Lan) may not live there but I bet we have been to more parts of Belize and seen & researched more tourist places, hotels & sites than the majority of posters.

I give kudos to Lan, Katie Valk, djean, MagnumBelize, Nanette and the rest of us in tourism who even care enough to spend the considerable amount of time on these boards that we do!

(I'm back :p wink laugh )
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#185374 - 12/15/05 06:11 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
Chloe Offline
Good to read this, long over due. For sure in the early days, Lan was the one published and informed us on Belize. Now we have many experts/expats.

Too many expats practice shooting the messengers these days.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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#185375 - 12/15/05 08:36 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
Pam&Dave Offline
Barbara K / Go Girl! I got "jumped" on the board this morning because I stated an opinion of my experience. Some people can be down right mean. It is discouraging and I was kind of hurt, but then I read your post. Thanks for being honest and not self righteous. Hope to see more of your insight about Belize. Thanks again!
_________________________
"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself"

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#185376 - 12/15/05 10:16 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
indygal Offline
I enjoyed Lan's books very much a few years ago, and found them helpful at the time.
_________________________
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

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#185377 - 12/15/05 11:06 PM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
Gela Offline
If it weren't for Lan, his books and encouragement, I would never have visited Belize in the first place. I have visited 7 times in 4 years and have my 8th trip booked.

Most travel guides are updated every few years and published some time after that, so it's impossible to expect things to be up-to-date. That's why message boards such as this one, coupled with guides like Lan's, help us understand the complete picture.

So if the expats/Belizians don't care for "outsiders" writing about their home - why don't you write your own guide and publish it?
_________________________
Gela's AC Motto: "All Roads Used to Lead to BC's" frown

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#185378 - 12/16/05 01:39 AM Re: In defense of Lan Sluder
NYgal Offline
I begin the applaud for Lan and his work to encourage and enlighten all of us when there are positives or negatives.

Clap Clap Clap.....
Thanks Lan smile

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