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Belize Telephone Directory
I wouldn't usually write a book review about a telephone directory, but I think the Belize Telephone Book has some interesting notable things about it that make it worth reviewing. I don't suppose you can get this on Amazon, and I would guess that you can only really get it from Belize Telecom, Belize, www.btl.net ! They are the monopoly phone company in Belize, much in the same way that British Telecom used to be in the 1980s in the UK!
The first thing to notice about the Belize Telephone book is that it's a phone book about half an inch thick and this contains not only all the phones in one town, or one area, but in the whole country! That's a whole country telephone directory. Indeed, there isn't a separate Yellow Pages; that's included as one of the sections in the book. The reason for this succinct brevity of the phone book is because Belize has a population of about three hundred thousand people, and not everyone has a telephone.
The front cover is glossy and each year has a new picture of some gloriously idyllic remote tropical scene.
With any phone book, it's interesting to read the additional material in the preface, often remarkable things that the publishers have put in, and yet it's surprising that so few people know it's there. The same is true of dictionaries, often having a remarkable thesis on linguistic changes through history, etc. Phone books often have useful hints and clues, tricks, and things you can dial on a phone that you wouldn't have guessed. I'm particularly impressed with the guide to good manners on the telephone, presented by Belize Telecom, including such things as: Always be polite when answering a call and politely ask "With whom am I speaking?". Also, we are reminded to keep public payphones clean, be considerate to people, and never to slam a phone receiver down as it is very impolite.
Other things about the Belize Telephone Book: In the Yellow Pages there are no driving schools, but there are diving schools. There are some prestigious advertisements for the ice factory and a notable hardware store, and quite a few large advertisements for BTL's own cellphone services, but nothing at all for the Smart Cellphone rival company, not even a single entry phone number listing!
Remarkable as it may seem there is an e-mail listing, as well as a BTL cellphone listing, and a fax listing. Government and diplomatic listings are in a section of green pages, and it is remarkable how accessible and approachable well-known figures are.
The book speaks well of the country, and has a history of Belize, map, and some interesting cultural knowledge, quite informative really. I wonder if the people at BTL have considered the export market possibilities of the telephone directory.
If you've come to this page to look up someone's phone number in Belize, you could visit BTL.net and see if they've got the phone directory online. I haven't got an affiliate program with BTL, but you can still link from this page.
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