Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#23242 - 06/23/00 10:23 PM Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Sandshaker Offline
I would just like to address a problem that I have heard people comenting on and have seen with my own eyes. No matter where you go in the world for vacation, if it is in a tourist area, you will have the occaisional person with their hand out. Belize is not immune to this problem. It is worse in some areas like Belize City than in the rest of the country. My advice is for you to be aware of this before you get here. Soft hearted folks like me can get rid of a lot of cash in a few days unless you understand the problem. In Belize City, poverty coupled with drug use, is the source of the problem. There will be a beggar on every corner saying...."gimme a dollar"....gimmie a schilling". I spent a lot of money my first week there.....until I learned they go right around the corner and buy crack with it. The police do what they can but it is a big problem and people have just learned to ignore them now. I decided to call one's bluff one day and offered to buy a meal instead....LOL.....he wasn't too hungry all of a sudden. Even in the states you have your beggars that stand on street corners with signs that say..."will work for food".
So it's everywhere. Just be aware that you don't have to hand out money every 50 ft. It is your vacation.....enjoy it! As for the island,(Ambergris Caye) you don't have many beggars.....but you do have some hustlers. These are the guys that spot you when you get off the plane....."hmmmm....look rich & ready to party". They don't really want to rob you in the way we usually think of robbery. They just want to separate you from a little of your cash in the way of free food and drinks....and to tell you their sob story or how great it would be to guide you around....show you the hot spots....so to speak. I get so aggrivated when I see a family come into a bar and...WHAM!...with in 2 minutes, some local (usually the same ones all the time)is right up under them, attaching himself like a tick on a blood hound....LOL Please don't feel obligated to include these people on your family vacation!
There are a lot of nice friendly people on the island who will give you advice and talk to you ALL day and night...and not charge you one cent or ask you to buy them a beer.
If they ask for money....loose them quick!
All tour guides must have a tour guide card with their picture on it. Ask to see it.
I hope I haven't put a damper on anyone's expectations.....it was not intended. Ambergris Caye is a paradise....and tons of fun...with the friendliest people I know. I just wanted to give everybody the heads-up on this issue that has been bugging me.
I want your vacation and your memories to be the best possible....so now you know what to look for....Enjoy!
OK....I've vented enough....LOL :-)

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#23243 - 06/24/00 01:18 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Barry Offline
You are so right! Beggars and hustlers are everywhere. Use common sense. I personally had no problem last trip to A.C. Saw it though and " steered clear. " Be firm and as they say, " Just say NO!" If it's the money they are after on my upcoming trip, Good Luck! My wife is staying home. She seems to keep it all.

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#23244 - 06/24/00 02:27 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Sandshaker Offline
LOL @ Barry.....that is probably the safest place for your money. I hold the pocketbook too!....LOL Yes....just saying "No thanks" is the best thing to do....but it's very hard when they flash that pretty smile and talk in that smooth caribbean lingo! Some don't say..."gimme"....I had a lady yesterday come into my office and actually poured herself some water from the water cooler...took her back pack off.....sat down and made herself at home and began to tell me all her woes....LOL Then after about 15 minutes....she asked for a "donation"....with the most pitiful look on her face. GRRRRRR.....I hate that cuz it always makes me feel like a heel when I say no....LOL What was worse is I really didn't have any money....LOL If you ever give it to them one time....you won't be able to beat them off your doorstep.
Looking forward to seeing you next month. Let me know when you arrive and I will take you up to the property....yes....bring snorkel gear....LOL
See ya!

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#23245 - 06/26/00 03:02 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Debbie Offline
Sandshaker,
I have to say, we did meet some colorful characters while in Ambergis, but it was not my experience that any were "beggars". My kids and I got to meet "sexy Eddie", and some of the other colorful characters, but they were all quiet nice, and didn't ask for thing. The only time we were approached were by people that had legitimate goods to sell. Carved wooden fish, beads, necklaces, or home cooked food. My husband wears his hair long, and on one occasion a little weed was offered, but No one asked for a handout.(Being in our mid-40's we had to giggle about this) It is irritating when it does happen, and I know how you must feel, living there and wanting the tourists to have a nice time, but we found everyone to be gracious.

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#23246 - 06/26/00 03:37 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Sandshaker Offline
Dear Debbie,
Sounds like you had the perfect time here. I'm so glad! I laughed when you mentioned "Sexy Eddie"....he is a comical character and a very nice guy...really sweet. He stops in to see me when he passes my office.
The problem isn't rampant.....it does happen though. I'm glad you weren't approched by anyone. They look for signs of wealth....a lot of gold, fancy clothes, carrying a lot of electronic gear (like your still working while on vacation...LOL)...things like that that alert them that you've got BIG bucks.
The best way to come is incognito...LOL
Look like a bum when you get off the plane and nobody will bother you....LOL
Just kidding!....LOL
Just casual....low profile....you should have a wonderful time!

[This message has been edited by Sandshaker (edited 06-26-2000).]

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#23247 - 06/26/00 04:01 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Chloe Offline
We enjoyed talking with "Pisano" you will see him everyday on the beach, older short man with white curly hair, hat and in shorts and tee shirt. Iguana Jack's has portraits of him in the window. He is most interesting, just have to listen carefully.
I bought a shell from him, and bought him sodas to drink. He showed us where he lives by the airport. He has quite a history.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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#23248 - 06/26/00 05:56 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Debbie Offline
Sandshaker and Chloe,
Yes, We met Pisano as well. I bounded up the steps to my hotels office and almost tripped over him one morning. The tile floor was cool, and that's where he chose to nap. He is an interesting person. I was told he was the wealthiest person in Ambergris at one time. As for Sexy Eddie, he walked me and my kids halfway home one evening. The boys were fascinated. He was quite upset. Some people had been picking on him and he looked like they had even roughed him up. He was so nice to the boys. He told them that "what ever they do, to stay in school, graduate, go to college if possible and "just like girls!!!!!!". Good advice huh??? Very amusing and just a big sweetheart. Said hello to the boys everytime he saw them after that.

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#23249 - 06/26/00 06:23 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
Chloe Offline
I don't think I met Sexy Eddie, what did he look like? One vendor of the carved wood items, with dreadlocks, always said Hi Gramma each time I passed. We talked along time to wood vendors from the mainland, on Ramon's pier, and they enlightened us on the mainland. The family selling beaded bracklets, etc, were darling, the little boy sold me an ankle bracklet, I asked him to pick out the prettiest and he took a long time studying his supply, and chose one. Just darling.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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#23250 - 06/28/00 01:07 AM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
fd5602 Offline
when my wife and i were in Ambergris 5/2-5/9/00 had a great time no hustling or begging just smome small vendors walking at worst stayed at Coconuts super place cannot wait to go back when on mainland few years before know only to well about Belize City and its problems oh well love Ambergris thanks FD

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#23251 - 07/07/00 03:53 PM Re: Beggars, hustlers, etc.
CHOOCHOO Offline
A hopefully helpful word to the wise..we had never had any trouble with "hustlers" until last year, and that has been the only time.

A beach carving vendor named Brown approached the condo, with a charming line a mile long. We kept him on the beach, but he really didn't want to leave. He was joined shortly by "Lennox" who is a real creep and VERY bad news. Neither would leave. Finally had to call the SP PD.

These two are to be avoided at all costs, at all times.

Brown even managed to track me down at my office in the States. He was calling to borrow $100 so he could return to SP after being stranded in Houston. What we did and how we got rid of him is a story for another time. Suffice to say he now avoids us in SP like the plague.

Pisano is an "interesting" character. I'm not sure how much of his "history" is not a local tall tale. You've really arrived when he charges the cart and fakes throwing a Belikin bottle at you for no reason. Did that at the airport last April much to the "delight" of several planes full of first timers just deboarding. The consumate capitalist, he charges several of the local bars a small fee to go away when he visits during their busy time. You can tell how well the bar is doing by what he charges. He is truly an island classic..a bath every month or so might help though.

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