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#305217 - 10/18/08 07:59 PM Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats
Amanda Syme Offline
Why do you come to Belize and Ambergris Caye?

Is the people?
The culture?
The environment?
Diving, fishing, bird watching?

Why did you decide on Belize and not another country?

Do you want us to direct, easy, inexpensive flights to Belize? Will the additional influx of visitor destroy the peace and harmony of the area?

Why can't those that live here be entitled to improve their quality of life, make more money, build and develop their businesses and enjoy nice things?

Why do folks think that while the world us changes, San Pedro should stay the same?

Why do so many people spend so much time on this board making suggestions and criticism - but not out pounding the streets actually trying to make a difference?

And this is for Chris Burkey - why don't we build stocks and erect them in Central Park!!


Edited by Amanda Syme (10/18/08 11:43 PM)
Edit Reason: added a crucial word!!

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#305239 - 10/18/08 10:43 PM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Amanda Syme]
Dutch Offline
I'll answer them out of order:

I chose Belize initially because of the reef, the English speaking locals and the climate. I choose to come back because of the people, the culture, the ocean activities, the excellent food, the healthy lifestyle the island allows and the relative lack of crime. I feel safe there.

Yes, I would like cheap, direct airfare. It would allow me to visit more often.

The locals not only ARE entitled to improved quality of life, a higher standard of living and 'nice' things, I wish them all good things. The people are, for the most part, kind and welcoming, friendly and warm.

People (visitors and ex-pats) probably want things to stay the same becsue they fell in love with Belize and AC they way they were when they first saw them, not with the way they will be in the future, which is uncertain everywhere. We tend to romanticize places we fall in love with, and fear change. That's a pretty common if not a universal human trait.

I try not to make too many suggestions, because I am a visitor, even if I will soon be a long-term visitor, I will act like a guest in your country and on your island. I will not comment on perceived problems with the government, nor make comments about how things should be, because I am a guest. Things are the way they are, and if I find myself dissatisfied with them, I should leave and find a place more to my liking. That doesn't mean I won't say 'geez, the road north of the bridge is a mess', that's an observation, not a criticism. As for others on the board that "spend so much time on this board making suggestions and criticism - but not out pounding the streets actually trying to make a difference?", I don't know. Human nature is to bitch.

As for the stocks in the town square, I'll leave that to you. It's a decision regarding law, and as I said, it's not my business to voice an opinion.

In short, I love the island and the people. I wish both all the best things...things they determine for themslves to be best. I do hope that we don't "love the place to death". I hope it's a beautiful place to live forever. When I move there, I'll volunteer at SAGA, and I'll clean up garbage along the roads and the beach. I'll do my part to be a good guest.

I'm not sure what you were looking for with this post, but it's my 2 cents (that's 4 cents BZD) worth.

_________________________
Now live from beautiful downtown San Pedro.

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#305245 - 10/18/08 11:15 PM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Dutch]
divingcowgirl Offline
I have to agree with Dutch on this and it was very well put. Thanks Dutch.
But as to WHY I like San Pedro I have included snippets of my trip Report when I was down in August.
I’m sorry if I take your questions as very “caustic” but I do. Especially one in particular.
“Why do so many people spend so much time on this board making suggestions and criticism - but not out pounding the streets actually trying to make a difference?”
Probably because a large portion of us are NOT there. Many of us WISH we were but due to whatever reason, the best that we are able to do is visit, put OUR hard earned money into the local economy, donate to charities that we chose to support and I feel reasonably sure that IF most of us lived there we would be attending meetings, voicing our opinions and yes “Pounding the streets”. If you feel that some of the fund raisers for different places in San Pedro (Reapers Poker Tourney for the school one year, the library this year, different silent donations to SAGA, and various schools around SP) is not enough or to your liking, I’m sorry, but it is the best that most of us can do. And IMO I feel that is part of making a difference.
As Dutch so eloquently put it, I too am just a visitor and I do my best to be a good visitor.
Here are some of MY reasons of why I love San Pedro.
As I climb aboard the Tropic flight and take off for San Pedro once more, I am thrilled by the sight. I catch a glimpse of several rays, dark shadows gliding over an emerald green reef. Waters turning from emerald green to turquoise to a dark shade of indigo, only divided by the waves that break over the reef looking like a strand of pearls that had been laid out by Neptune himself. As we round the corner and head for Front street, I’m aware if the roads. “Pavers” as they are called have taken the place of the sandy streets that used to be so quintessential San Pedro. But amidst the “improvements” (or modernization that some are opposed to) I still see things that have not changed, nor do I believe that they ever will. For one, the children, heading to school in their uniforms, smiles and laughter greet us as we pass by. Later in the evening we see some of the same children, playing on the beach, light-hearted and carefree. What a time to be a child and living in San Pedro. Looking at the reef, watching the kids and island dogs and in retrospect I am reminded how funny life is. As an adult, looking for my “blue heaven” I feel as if I have found it, but I wonder if the children in San Pedro really know how lucky they are to be living where they are. At the same time I wondered that as a child if I was ever mindful of how lucky I was to be living where I grew up.
Even though the weather is unusually warm I still welcome the tropical breeze that envelopes me like a favorite comforter. I recline in a well worn hammock. The smell of the sea/salty air, the sound of laughter and music in the distance I’m beginning to understand what the magic is that is part of San Pedro. It’s more than just one or two things. It’s a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds and smells. From the blues/greens of the reef, the colorful costumes during fiesta, the smell of the sea breeze, the various vendors cooking their wares and the music that you hear from live bands and juke boxes to the musical laughter of the children and adults alike all form a tapestry that is forever in-twined in the hearts and souls of the ones that call San Pedro “home.”
_________________________
Take the road less traveled

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#305249 - 10/18/08 11:49 PM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: divingcowgirl]
Amanda Syme Offline
Hi guys

Thanks for responding. That is what I wanted to hear. Lots of positive reasons why you love this place and continue to visit and keep it in your hearts.

Yes, sometimes being caustic gets people riled up enough to say something.

Dutch just hit a big nail on the head with his/her comment regarding people romantisizing places that they fall in love with.

Each and every time I have gone "back" to somewhere that I loved, most of the charm had been changed and could never live up to my treasured memories.

Many do not realize that if 2008 and were your first visit to the island it still represents a raw & beautiful appeal to the tired and the weary.

For those that visit often- you need to come more. If you see the changes happening on a regular basis it isn't as painfully apparent.

Please, everybody keep the comments flowing - this is one of the reasons I enjoy this board... getting to know you and finding out why you are here.


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#305250 - 10/19/08 12:01 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Dutch]
Don Greife Offline
Amanda, When you asked these questions of ex-pats AND tourists I'm certain that you will receive two different sets of answers. Probably most of us on this board are of the tourist variety, at least that will include me. I just finished counting the stamps placed in my passport placed by the officers at Belize City airport during the past two years. There were ten. That may qualify me as a 'frequent visitor'. The responses to your questions by Dutch and DC are right-on in my view and I can only add one more reason that brings me back to San Pedro 5>6 times a year. I can leave Kansas City early in the morning and be on the dock ready to go fishing by lunch time. SP is the only place in the world that I've found where I can do that. Every other place requires TWO days of travel to get to a fishing dock. Now,, do I need a break on air fares?? Damn betcha. The Dept of Tourism said yesturday that they plan to spend $1.5m to promote the sagging tourist industry. I wrote to them and asked that they consider subsidizing Continental, like the Mexicans do, with fuel and/or an increase in number of "X" promotional class fares to BZ. I need more trips to feed my addiction to fly fishing the Congrejo flats.

Finally, there are some things about the island that I would not like to see the GOB change. I would not like to see the law changed to allow North American or European medical doctors to practice medicine in BZ. IMHO, doing so would cause an invasion from Miami Beach upon San Pedro. The only reason they are not retired there now is because of the lack of medical facilities.
_________________________
I'll be happy to discuss my avatar with anyone who knows what it is.

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#305252 - 10/19/08 12:11 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Don Greife]
divingcowgirl Offline
Don, I am adding my 8th stamp in November in a course of 2 years as well. I would be down more often if:
1) My boss wasn't such a tyrant and let me leave at least every 2 or 3 months
2) Flight tickets were under $300
3) I haven't worn out my welcome at the Taco Mansion.
4) I won the lottery.
_________________________
Take the road less traveled

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#305254 - 10/19/08 12:21 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Amanda Syme]
Dan Carey Offline
Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme
Why do you come to Belize and Ambergris Caye?

Is the people?
The culture?
The environment?
Diving, fishing, bird watching?

The diving.

Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

Why did you decide on Belize and not another country?

I travel to other countries, as well.

Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

Do you want us to [have] direct, easy, inexpensive flights to Belize? Will the additional influx of visitor destroy the peace and harmony of the area?

Yes.

Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

Why can't those that live here be entitled to improve their quality of life, make more money, build and develop their businesses and enjoy nice things?

I don't know why they can't develop their businesses. Maybe it's the tax structure. Maybe getting reliable employees is a problem. You tell me. Why can't they?

I'm not sure that anybody is entitled to improving their lives. You're entitled to strive for the life you want to have, but at the end of the day you may fail to improve your life. Some people improve their lives, others fall short.

Making more money doesn't in and of itself improve one's life. I've known some bitter, unhappy rich folks. I've been quite happy myself when I was flat broke.

Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

Why do folks think that while the world [around us?] us changes, San Pedro should stay the same?


You're kidding, right? San Pedro was a great place to go diving. Now, it's nearly as crowded and noisy as Cozumel. I'd have liked to see San Pedro preserved as a nice, laid back spot, but greed kills.

Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

Why do so many people spend so much time on this board making suggestions and criticism - but not out pounding the streets actually trying to make a difference?


You presume that nobody is out there, pounding the streets, making a difference. Maybe that's not true. We're out here doing what we can on the causes we chose. Myself, I don't think that I can go out knocking on doors in San Pedro, telling people that building high rise condos (or whatever) on their property is a bad thing. But as San Pedro becomes more and more developed I find myself spending less and less time there.


Originally Posted By: Amanda Syme

And this is for Chris Burkey - why don't we build stocks and erect them in Central Park!!


Knock yourself out. You might as well build it while there's still a few square meters of open land.

_________________________
"Facts are the enemy of Truth"
Don Quixote

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#305260 - 10/19/08 01:23 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: Dan Carey]
reaper Offline
Amanda,
As you know when I first came to San Pedro seven years ago, Kristine and I fell in love with the place. The people, the view, the warm clear blue water, the food, the adventure. As the visits increased and we made wonderful friends such as yourself and your family, we started thinking of a life in San Pedro. Finally getting the "Boogie in Belize" off the ground and meeting many different people in the nation it opened my eyes to a lot of different things. I have had the privilage of meeting the Minister of Tourism, past and present and the former PM. I have also met many of the top business people in Belize. As you know my goal for ten days each February is to leave the island a better place than when we found it.
Here are some of my thoughts,
It is getting very expensive to vacation in Belize. The room tax, departure tax and food is all escalating. From year one in 2005 to next February the cost of my package skydive trip has risen from $1,200usd to $1,800usd.
Flights to Belize are difficult for many Canadians. No one wants to go through US and then Belize Customs. Flights are VERY expensive from Los Angeles. And now a domestic flight from Goldson to San Pedro is over $100usd.
Most of the regular message board contributors are frequent visitors to San Pedro. We enjoy coming down and seeing all of you that live there and also seeing each other. I will go way out on a limb now and say that 90% of the people that frequent this message board care more about San Pedro than 90% of the residents that could change things there. Yes, some on here just [#%!] and moan about certain issues, but there are MANY here that truly care and have given thousands of dollars and much of their time to San Pedro, and other Belizean causes.
I have asked this question before. Do Belizeans get tired of needing donations for certain things to operate, or be improved?
I hear things such as "You don't live here, you don't understand." or "Don't come down here and try to change things to be like where you are from".
I have read nearly every post here in every forum for the past four years. I haven't really seen anyone objecting to any local making a buck or improving their lifestyle. But if more development and jobs mean a better San Pedro, then don't ask us to donate any more. If Holy Cross is full of migrant workers kids, let the developers fund the school. If the Fire Department needs training aids, let the GOB pay for them. If the Police need ATV's to patrol up north, let the GOB pay for that also. I have seen some local folks blast posters here for trying to help out. There was a recent thread about a US doctor, Belize-N-Us, wanting to come work on the island. Some people thought he was coming down to sell crack cocaine in the park with their reactions. I have seen the line up of ill children at Ambergris Hope Clinic, and donated thousands of dollars in medical equipment to them. To think a doctor wouldn't be welcome to help out on an island bursting at the seams with children is ludicrous. While I agree that some don't like the good doctors blunt approach, I think he is a good intentioned human trying to make a difference in a place he loves.
So I guess my suggestion to the locals is, if someone wants to do a well intentioned thing, but it rubs you the wrong way for whatever reason, point it out in a way that makes more sense than you just not liking the cause they are trying to help.
I cannot ever not vacation in Belize now. My family has made too many wonderful friends there. We don't go to Maui anymore because we save to go to Belize at least twice a year.
The island is a microcosm of other places. Population growth, funding problems, traffic, development, etc. But I think the big thing worrying most is the rise in crime. The big developments like South Beach won't stop too many of us from coming to visit, but a rise in criminal activity will. The gang problem on the island is growing and the transients are causing a lot of havoc. This is an issue that MANY cities world wide face, or have dealt with. It can be curbed with the right police management AND funding.
I for one still love San Pedro, her people and the weather! I will work hard to continue to grow the tourism business in Belize and support the island in any way I can help. I couldn't imagine my life without meeting all of you, or never seeing the beauty of Belize.
I'll see many of you in November, and most of you in February!


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#305261 - 10/19/08 01:24 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: reaper]
reaper Offline
One more thing...I can't live without the Blue Water Grill's key lime pie, or Estel's fry jacks!

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#305265 - 10/19/08 02:03 AM Re: Why? A question for tourists and ex-pats [Re: reaper]
collyk Offline
I moved to Belize because:

1. I like Belizean people.
2. I like the scenery.
3. I like the food.
4. I like many of the expats here.
5. I like warm weather.

Not reasons I moved to Belize:

1. It is cheap. It is not.
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www.conchcreative.com
Belize Wedding Photography


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