I had planned today to write a post about Belize vs. Mahahual Part 5, comparing health care in both countries. But some events came up this weekend I wanted to share before I forgot.
I go to a Chinese restaurant around the corner from where I am staying a lot here in Playa del Carmen. The place is owned by a nice family originally from mainland China. I think they are from Shanghai. The food is very good at this place, and it is very popular among tourists and people who live in Playa del Carmen.
The woman who runs and owns the place is named Fanny Wang, and her family moved here from Corozal, Belize several years ago. They had a Chinese restaurant near the market in Corozal across from the bus station. They moved from China to Belize to start a new lfe, and they chose Belize because they had heard a lot of good things about it. A lot of Chinese, mostly Taiwanese, have moved to Belize and have practically bought up the whole country. Almost all the stores and businesses in Belize are Chinese owned and operated now.
I have talked to her several times in the past about Corozal, Belize, and the fact that we both lived there at the same time. So the other day during lunch, we struck up a conversation about comparing life in Mexico to Belize. I told her I was writing a blog comparing life in Belize to that of Mahahual and Costa Maya, Mexico.
I asked her which was better having a Chinese restaurant in Corozal, Belize or Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Well that set her off, and she started to tell me everything I wanted to know comparing the two.
She really had nothing good to say about her life in Corozal and running a business. She told me that after they opened their place in Corozal, she realized she had made a big mistake. They had a son in Corozal Community College at the time, and she told me she told her husband, as soon as the son graduated they were leaving Belize.
She went on to describe to me all the horrors of running a business in Belize. She told me that every morning they opened their business, there would be drunks laying in front of their business, passed out from the night before. Also she complained to me about how the police would come by and order beers and drink them, and never paid for anything. In Belize she said people in the local government were always coming by trying to shake her down for money or free food. Also she said every day, people would always come around begging for food or money.
They also had problems buying the necessary food and produce they needed for their business. She described to me how once a week she would cross the border into Chetumal and buy things like meat, and other things she could not find in Belize. She told me she got good at smuggling stuff back across the border from Mexico. She even had a special compartment in her van where she put meats and stuff to hide from border guards. She also described to me how she would drop off Chinese food to the Belizean border guards, so they would let her pass when she came back across, and not search her van. She informed me she could not have stayed in business if she had to rely on getting food and produce from Belize. (I know a lot of women from Corozal, that go to Chetumal once a week to buy household goods and food that they cannot get in Belize. Also consumer goods and food are a lot less expensive in Chetumal compared to Belize.)
Well as soon as their son graduated from high school, they closed up their business in Corozal, packed everything up they owned, and headed straight for Playa del Carmen. They had met several people from the USA in Corozal, that told them if they had a chance they should open up a Chinese food restaurant in Playa del Carmen, because Playa del Carmen was growing.
Well to make a long story short, they love it here in Playa del Carmen and Mexico, and could not be happier. They do a good business here with tourists and locals, and without the hassles and problems they had in Belize. Living in Mexico is the best thing they could have done, she said. She has a daughter in school here, that speaks Chinese, Spanish, and English. She also pointed out the schools here in Mexico are much more superior than those in Belize.
This is just one woman’s experience with living and working in Belize I thought I would share, I am sure there are other people who could share some of these same problems and experiences also if they had a chance.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina