we found a place we just didn't like.
In fairness, we didn't give Orange Walk much of a chance either. We spent only one night there, and were more than happy to be on the first bus out of town the next morning.
Before I get into why we didn't like it, I should mention why we bothered to go there in the first place. According to our traveler's bible (the Lonely Planet) Orange Walk is famous for two things - it's home to Belize's cheapest and best street food, and it's the starting point for a river tour to the Lamanai Mayan ruins. We were less interested in the ruins, and much more interested in the food.
Not exactly street food, but even it is called "Yummy"
You see, Ashley and I love to eat. We've also become rather frugal (which is just a nice way to say we're uber cheapskates) as we try our best to conserve our savings to extend our trip as much as possible. Naturally, street food has quickly become a staple for us when we're not cooking in our hostel. It is both delicious and cheap and we love it a lot more than we probably should. The prospect of street food that was even more delicious and even more cheap than what we had grown accustomed to eating was too much to pass up. We had no choice but to go.
By this point, you are probably wondering just how good the street food was if it was worth a special trip. So are we. Unfortunately for us, and our gourmet supper plans, the weather just didn't cooperate. When supper time finally approached and our tummies started to grumble, the sky let loose one of the most torrential downpours that we had seen in a while. The rain washed the streets clean, and sent all of the vendors running for shelter, packing up whatever they had prepared to serve that night and taking it all home with them. We never tasted the famed street food of Orange Walk.
But that's not why we hated it. If it were just rain, we would have gladly booked ourselves into the hotel for another night and waited for a nicer evening. What we hated was the way we were treated by the people.
Specifically, the people who treated us like walking ATM machines
. Which was pretty much everyone.
Before the rain hit, we had a few hours in the afternoon to walk around the town and get a feel for the place. In that brief period of time, we were approached continuously by locals trying to pressure us into buying a tour to the Lamanai ruins. It must be that everyone in town is on commission. I don't think there was a person we met who didn't try to sell us the tour. There was the man who sold us a tamale outside the bus station, two hotel owners, the driver of a white van who had to pull over on the road to try and sell us the tour, a fellow in the park, the baker, a gentleman who was out for an evening stroll with his wife and newborn baby, etc, etc.
Just when we'd had enough and were heading back to the privacy of our hotel room for a reprieve, someone had the nerve to call us "cheap ass white motherfuckers" because we refused to buy a cellphone from him in the middle of the street. It certainly didn't help improve our opinion of the place at all.
When we made it back to our hotel room, and the rain started, we only needed to look at each other to know that we were not spending another day in Orange Walk. Not even for the best street food in the country.
I guess we can't love every place we visit.
It finally happened...