Manners, Please:
The Tourist’s 10 Commandments

1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home, for thou left home to find things different.  
    Aaah…yes, this commandment brings so much to mind, but most importantly, brings to mind a comment made a while ago by an obviously hapless woman, “What do you mean you don’t have valet service?” This is San Pedro, and in general, Belize. You left your big bad first world country to come visit tiny us, don’t expect to have kid glove service. You will meet nice, friendly people, a beautiful country, with amazing adventures - and that’s what you get. Live it, love it – or go home.

2. Thou shalt not take anything TOO seriously, for a care-free mind is the beginning of a fine holiday.
    So, the towels weren’t warm to the touch, the milk for the coffee is ice-cold, not hot. The puddles on the street are more like craters. That cab driver just whizzed by and splashed you from head to toe (okay, that would be a bit much even for a local, but still…). If you have great expectations, you miss all the good things, the little things that make this place special. By nitpicking your way through, you’re basically forgoing the chance to have some seriously unconventional fun.

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3. Thou shalt not let other tourists get on thy nerves, for thou art paying out good money to enjoy thyself.
    Seriously. You are paying good money to have some fun on an idyllic Caribbean island. Why let the obnoxious tourist next to you ruin that? Always be thankful that you’re not the one wasting a perfectly good vacation bitching and moaning about those pesky mosquitoes and too much sun.

4. Remember to take only half the clothes thou thinks thou needs and twice the money.
    Tee hee hee. This one always cracks me up. Half the clothes – well, why not. You’ll probably be in a bathing suit most of the time you’re here anyway – and they’re rinse and reuse, so you’re “covered”. Twice the money – abso-fricking-lutely. You never know what you can’t possibly live without.

5. Know at all times where thy passport is, for a person without a passport is a person without a country.
    This is pretty self explanatory. Keep your valuables locked away in a safe – and your mind will be care-free, and you shall have a fine holiday.

6. Thou shalt not forget thou are a representative thy country at all times.
    Yes. You. You represent all that is either evil or good about your country of origin. You are the ambassador of your country. How you behave reflects on your country. Please, remember, even though you ARE on holiday, your manners should not. A lot of people forget that small detail, and believe that being on holiday means doing whatever it is one cannot get away with in their own country. We’re pretty lax, but be respectful of the boundaries of others, especially your hosts. And all will be well.

7. Thou shalt not worry, for he that worrieth hath no pleasure – few things are ever fatal.
    That mosquito bite does not equal instant malaria. Please check Commandment 2.

8. As a stranger in a strange land, be prepared to do as its people doeth.
    Belizeans especially love a tourist who is prepared to get down and dirty and truly ENJOY themselves. Mingle with the locals, ask them about themselves, show an interest in the community which you are inhabiting for a week. Try some of the local food, listen to the local music. I personally do not know if I recommend doing the Punta. Though for locals it’s great entertainment. Yes. Do try to dance the Punta. Make someone’s day!

9. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by the one person who hast given thee trouble.
    This sounds unfair given Commandment 6. But it is true. Crime happens the world over. It should not, but it does. If you have been ripped off by a local hustler, or done in by a land shark - it is just that. Not every Belizean is out to get you. If you follow Commandment 8, you will see what true community is all about.

10. Remember, thou art a guest in other lands, and those who treat their hosts with respect shall be treated likewise.
    Wherever you are from, whatever you do, however it is that you came to be on the island, you are a visitor. We are happy to host you, just as we are happy you have chosen to be here, instead of anywhere else in the world. But, this is our home, and we are very protective of it. We don’t take kindly to those who have a mission to cause ruckus. Take that somewhere else. Your actions do reflect on your place of origin. Bad behavior makes us wary – the reception might not be the same next time.           

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