Lonely Planet Caribbean
Sunday January 29, 2006, 5:21 AM
I was given the Lonely Planet Caribbean from Rose a friend of Craig�s; therefore, I have been trying to use the book to find rooms, find transportation and to figure out a path through the Caribbean. I have used the Lonely Planet for years; however, the Lonely Planet Caribbean so far has been a very big disappointment. It is like a bunch of rich people, NOT even KIDS; I would normally say a bunch of Rich Kids wrote the sections for each country. However, they seem old, like the Hong Kong, Macao book, a person that is not a backpacker.
This is some type of - Backpacker Theory - asking the question, what is a backpacker? I know that we are all tourist first and always in a way, although I may be stepping outside of this as I know I am really living or wondering around, tourist attractions have become less and less valuable to me, I am living here, what I do during the day is not focused on tourism, it is more on how to live comfortably and enjoy the location, not on how to find tourist attractions
The Lonely Planet Caribbean as best I can tell is NOT written for the purist backpackers, it not in the traditional mode of Lonely Planet them of - Traveling on a Shoestring - it is bridging or up scaling for either a sale to the person actually in the Caribbean and not trying to open this area of the world to the Backpacker.
NOW there are no backpacker to say in the Caribbean of this is my first impression, there are only round-trip-travelers, a type of person that may come for one month, two weeks, or three months, however at the end of the day they purchased a round trip ticket or a return ticket as the world often says and not the Americans.
THEREFORE if the persons entering the Caribbean have either a Round Trip Ticket to the Caribbean or a onward ticket when entering the Caribbean my thoughts in the perspective of the - Backpacker Theory - is that they are not really a backpacker, a backpacker does have normally a finite amount of time, plus the round the world ticket holders are real anal about times, destinations and such, however for instance I am a one-way ticket traveler. IF a person enters the Caribbean with an onward ticket or a round trip ticket, it removes the ability to wonder around in the Caribbean. The Yachties are more a backpacker than the writers of the Lonely Planet Caribbean, reading some of the biographies of the writer tells me many are long-term diver tour travelers, going from dive place to dive place, got a wild hair and decided to try their luck at writing, the Lonely Planet did not probably have an diehard backpackers willing to write so they took the option available.
This is not true the formula is there, the writing skills are good, the conceptual use of the Lonely Planet format is there, however they missed the idea of�
- TRAVELING ON SHOESTRING -
If the Hotels listed in Port of Spain Trinidad in the Budget Traveler, then they need to make a new category and call it - Cockroach Level - or something lower like sub-budget travelers. The Budget hotels made me instantly prick up my eyes and ears when all three they listed have web sites�. www� this is normally not connected with a budget hotel, however if you was writing a guidebook for a person in the USA or Europe and he or she is purchasing a round-trip ticket, then they would need a web site address or E-mail to get there daily reservations also, because a round-trip-ticket person also always is getting reservations. A purist backpacker knows they do not need a reservation, except in Europe where the whole place is anal and party zone, definitely losing my respect as wonderers of the planet, not nomadic.
NOT BUDGET HOTELS
We lived in a Hotel for 90 TT in Charlottsville in Tobago, and a Italian girl lived in a Hotel or room for 75 TT in Crown Point, I was joining up with Rose and Craig in the Crown Point Area and just went with the flow and got a room there for 120 at Sandy�s Guesthouse however my gut said, this is still almost double of what I need to pay, I found a couple of them for 100 and for sure there are cheaper, the Italian girl had one cheaper. However to fill out the budget listing for this area I would need to list the three or four 50-100 TT or under 15 Dollars per night Hotels in the Crown Point Area, I truly believe a person could pay about 50-75 TT per night an live almost all the time in Tobago or Trinidad.
6.3 to the Dollar is the rate I believe so 75 is just under 10 dollars a night and makes Trinidad on the backpacker schedule for Asia or South America, this is a too each and cheap price for the European Trolley Travelers and they could have a single room here and leave the 18-bed dorm rooms. Actually about any European Backpacker or wanna be backpacker could afford Trinidad with no problem.
I know only one Island; however, I feel I am going to have to work real hard and find good value rooms because the Lonely Planet Caribbean has skipped or sold out on finding the shoestring budget rooms. This is very annoying to me, back to my love-hate relationship with the Lonely Planet. The use of the term budget is the problem, Footprints is more on the correct path with their listing by doing it by price range, however I do not have a Footprints, or a Roughguide, I think a person would do good to have all three here, then they maybe be able to suss out where the cheap hotel area are located. I call this the center of the backpacker universe; however, there are probably no backpackers in this area so now I am going to have to call it the cheap hotel cluster or area.
There are always areas or clusters of cheap hotels. Craig thinks it is not possible for a cheap hotel area to be located to the 200 a night hotel he snagged with Rose or was paid for by Marcos and he was a guest area. He stayed in this really expensive hotel, in fact I think Craig�s best travel skill is maybe in getting others to pay for his room, or to get a free room with a person.
However the world does not have zoning laws, building are built where they can build them and the person in the Hilton are scared to leave therefore they do not just walk around in the hood. They stay in the Hotel, my 10 dollar Hotels in Manila, Philippines were just down the street from the Hilton and Best Western; these hotels were in the Former or still trying to be Red Light District of the Malate area of Manila.
Nonetheless, the Lonely Planet had turned red-light-district semi-pro as best I can figure out, I keep reading the future countries I need to visit, and they give me zero backpacker paths. I could go hang with the too-rich-yachties and go cheaper, in fact maybe a better proposition.