This morning, my friend Vikki emailed me this hysterical narrative. It struck such a familiar chord, I knew I had to share it with our "Life's a Beach" readers. I hope this tickles you all as much as it did me.
Suzan and I were having an afternoon cocktail at a local beach bar on Ambergris Caye, Belize, last weekend when we overheard this conversation. We felt uncomfortable listening in, but the participants were talking so loudly that we really couldn’t help it.
“Two more Panty Rippers, bartender!” shouted a sunburned American in a green muscle shirt and plaid shorts. “Make ‘em doubles…we’re on vacation!”
He hugged his equally tipsy wife on the barstool next to him. Across the room were what Suzan and I call The Usual Suspects. They’re found in almost every Caribbean beach bar…the Fishing Guide, the Dive Boat Captain, the Timeshare Agent, and the Prostitute.
On the barstool next to the drunken tourist couple was the fifth member of the Usual Suspects…the Alcoholic Expat. They come in all shapes and sizes, but this one was skinny and leathery, and he was nursing his fifth Rum Punch. He perked up when he heard the couple order another drink.
“So how do you like the island?” the expat asked.
“We love it!” the women gushed. “It’s Paradise! We wish we lived here! We want to buy something!”
“Hey, honey, relax!” laughed the husband. “She’s really having a really good time,” he said, winking at the expat, “if you know what I mean!”
“Hey, I know exactly what you mean,” the expat smiled, “that’s what a vacation is for. But if you guys are really serious about buying something here, I might be able to help with that.”
“No kidding?” The tourists sat up like alert puppies.
“A friend of mine has a little beach bungalow on the north end of the island,” the expat said. “His ex-wife finally found out he was down here, and she’s getting serious about the alimony. Besides which, his girlfriend just had another baby. He’s a motivated seller, if you get my drift.” The expat gave them a wink. “I could introduce you.”
“You’d do that for us?” the husband asked warily. “You don’t even know us.”
“Hey, we got to stick together,” said the expat. “We help each other out on the island, and you folks look like you’d fit right in. And I wouldn’t even ask for any compensation or anything like that.”
“Wow!” the wife exclaimed. “The people here are so sweet!” She slapped her husband on the chest. “That’s what we love most about this place…the people are so sweet!” She tried to slap the expat on the chest and missed, fanning the air. “You’re so sweet. Can we buy you a drink?”
When the next round of drinks arrived, the husband gave the expat a narrow look and said cagily, “We’d hate to take advantage of anybody’s tough luck …but how much does this guy want for the place?” He managed to get the entire question out with only a slight slur.
“Oh, it’s cheap,” said the expat, whose slur was much more practiced, “but if I introduced you, it’d probably be even cheaper. He likes me. And it’s the only place left on that end of the island. It’s a little swampy over there, but when the road gets paved and they build that five-star hotel and put in the new airport, you’ll be sitting on a gold mine.”
“Wow, that’s so sweet of you!” the wife said. “Can we see the place?”
“Sure, I’ll arrange it. Meet me here tomorrow at three, and we’ll go out and take a look. He has some other folks looking at the place, though, so he’ll want to know that you’re serious…”
“We’re not carrying much cash,” the husband said, “just a couple hundred on us right now.”
“That would probably do it,” said the expat. “Like I said, he’s motivated, and I’d vouch for you.” “Three o’clock tomorrow, then. We got a deal. Welcome to the island, folks!”
The expat finished his Rum Punch and left. The husband and wife looked at each other like they’d just hit the jackpot and ordered two more Panty Rippers.
Overhearing this, Suzan and I made up a set of foreign real estate buying rules on the spot:
1. Never talk about real estate over Panty Rippers.
2. Never talk about how much money you have over Panty Rippers.
3. Never consider buying real estate from anyone but a reputable developer or established local agent, and even then, never over Panty Rippers.
4. If you must discuss real estate, how much money you have, and the possibility of actually buying property while drinking Panty Rippers, make sure your lawyer is also present, and sober.
Truer words were never spoken.