This is Belize: ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’

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This video about tacos makes the point that while Belize has "fast food" you won't find a Taco Bell, McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken in the country. No franchises, mon!
This video about tacos (See it below.) makes the point that while Belize has “fast food” you won’t find a Taco Bell, McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken in the country. No franchises, mon!

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.

Only this time, her Wonderland turns out to be Belize.

Belize is a magical rabbit hole. Once you slide down into it, you almost never want to leave.  I don’t and it has now been 2.5 years, one hurricane, three rainy seasons, two bicycles, scores of trips to the reef, more beautiful days than the imagination can grasp and more smiles from passing strangers than I ever thought possible.

This is Belize.

When I try to explain it, though, it comes off like shiny and colorful postcards — Palm trees! Sand! Blue-green waters! Sunshine! Barrier reef!

There is a word for that. Well, a made-up word: Vemodalen. It means “the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.”  You can look it up in the entertaining Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Let me explain vemodalen for you in two words: Blue Hole.

Belize is so much more. And apparently the Belize Tourism Board and its advertising agency have been grappling with how to show the less-cliched sides of this amazing country.

In my estimation, they have succeeded wildly.

In an attempt to combat dejavutography and set Belize apart from the crowded Caribbean tourism racket, BTB and its advertising partner Olson have launched a new campaign that pursues culture and experiences that are outside the cookie-cutter pool of Caribbean imagery. Launched this past week, it is titled “Belize: A Curious Place.”

Ad Week explains: “Tourism campaigns for Caribbean destinations often have a similar aesthetic—sandy beaches, honeymooning couples, frosty drinks by the pool. But the Belize Tourism Board and its agency, Olson, had enough of that. For its latest ad campaigns, the BTB focused on local experiences unique to Belize . . . ”

Exactly. You see one set of bare feet in the sand, you’ve seen them all.

Karen Bevans, director of tourism at the Belize Tourism Board, explains the new campaign in Ad Week magazine, “It tells a story, and it shows the true Belize, and that it’s different than any other destination. The locals are so passionate about their country, and that adds to the campaign because you can see their passion.”

Indeed. You can also see a surprise cameo by one of the most photographed institutions on Ambergris Caye, Coconut Leo. Curiously, he shows up in the video titled “Birds.” Go figure. Leo is doing what he has done for ages, thrilling visitors with his high-wire coconut tree antics, in this case shimming down a tree face-first.

It is an unexpected delight at the end of a clever ad.

As you’ll see here, most of them are unexpected delights, sweet glimpses into the colorful and authentic side of Belize.


7 thoughts on “This is Belize: ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’

    Kristina H Nadreau said:
    August 28, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I believe you are in San Pedro, which most of Belize considers to be a gringo tourist town.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Not only is it a “gringo tourist town,” Ambergris Caye is often named the No. 1 tourism island destination in the world. Tourism is the No. 2 source of revenue for Belize and nearly 50 percent of that comes from AC, very little of which is returned to the island for improvements. I’m not sure of your point. Is “gringo tourist town” meant to be pejorative? I can assure you there are thousands of people living, working, playing here who are actual human beings — Belizeans, expats, tourists…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Peter Oberhaus said:
    August 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Does A.C. have a Health Department? Becky do you trust all food stands?No need for names you do not trust. I enjoyed your last blog about thee cost of living.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      I believe there are some sort of inspectors through the Ministry of Health, but I have never heard of an inspection or any establishment being shut down for health considerations.

      Buying from a roadside stall is an act of faith. Shortly after the hurricane power outage I heard of several people getting sick after dining at a local restaurant. I suspect refrozen food.

      Honestly, I don’t know of anyone personally who has gotten sick from food vendors, but it is surely possible. Go with the ones where you see lots of people eating — strength in numbers! Also, eat before the blazing tropic heat of mid-afternoon rains down.

      Rebecca’s blog on cost of living was excellent. And spot on: Living here is not cheap. If you try to live on the cheap, there are lots of compromises that gringos will have to make. Living inland on the mainland is a considerably cheaper option.


        Peter Oberhaus said:
        August 30, 2016 at 9:11 am

        Sorry for the mix up,enjoy both Blogs.

        Liked by 1 person

    itsacyn7 said:
    August 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Having traveled extensively around Belize (the mainland as well as the cayes) for a good part of a decade now…I’ve really found no difference between the happy souls that call themselves belezeans – they are (all) the most genuine and likable people we’ve met anywhere in the world, so much so that my husband and I have bought property on AC 4 years ago in hopes of making the wonderfully pleasant island our home sometime soon!
    Robert a delayed thank you for your great coverage of Earl…a lot of our friends didn’t have internet as soon as you did – so it was a relief for us when you posted so quickly. We always look forward to everyday life updates from Ambergris caye.

    Liked by 1 person

    Dawna Roy said:
    August 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Robert – so glad that Rose, you and all are safe after “Earl”
    I love all the ads the Tourism Board is promoting. I have made my living here in Canada “catering to the tourists” and it has been wonderful, frustrating, creative, seasonal, and bountiful! Where I live during the winter our local hospital services 8000 people……….. in the summer we have 250,000 people in our community.
    These are people of affluence and require lots of services. Bingo! jobs for the locals.
    As I prepare to move to San Pedro in the next 6 months I embrace the idea that the families of AC will benefit from a thriving tourist industry.
    I will be in San Pedro Sept 18-25 and will connect with Rose and you.
    A Gringo:)


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