After a week in the hands of Eddy the Realtor, there had been nothing but disappointing viewings of every conceivable low-end condo. One had every room painted a terrible green for some reason, while another faced a large wall with razor wire on top. There was even a late entry that had a fierce dog inside, making it impossible to gain access.
Eddy called a meeting and with a fixed smile led us through the results of our first week together. In short: No forward motion. In light of that, would we consider loosening the purse strings a tiny bit? I started hyperventilating and said, “Errrrrr,” which I thought was a pretty snappy thing to say under the circumstances, while buying ourselves some time. Michelle said, “Fine, we will do it.” The room began to turn slowly.
After a sleepless night, we (Michelle) decided we would up the amount in order to, as Eddy said, “have a sea view.”
Up the hills we went above the Centro district, and I loved it. This was the real Mexico that we had so yearned for. Up and up and up we went, higher than we had ever been in Puerto Vallarta before. Out we got and into a beautiful building we went. This was more like it. New everything!
However (and I take full responsibility for this), I had forgotten to tell Eddy one other thing: We did not want a car in Mexico.
When I let Eddy in on our little secret, he opened and closed his mouth several times before going catatonic. The sound of grinding teeth filled the foyer of the new condo building with ocean glimpses.
We walked into a beautiful suite with a distant view of the sea. Michelle immediately recalled seeing the same scene on the internet but with a much closer beach. Did you know that the internet sometimes lies? Every place we had looked at was in fact a lie on the ’net, and this was no exception except it was very new, had a wonderful kitchen and while some way from the Pacific, still had a terrific vista.
There was another realtor waiting for us, a huge ex-pat from Seattle with hands the size of hams. If I thought Eddy’s handshake was severe, it was but a weak relative compared to this man’s. When I retrieved my limb it had a point on it as well as being useless.
I tucked into my pocket. I realized I had grown used to the soft Mexican hand greeting rather the vise-like squeeze. Hal, as this behemoth was called, would answer all ques-tions one way, a shouted “Outstanding!”
“How is the neighbourhood?”
“Outstanding!” etc., etc.
The truth of the matter was we loved it. It was everything we had dreamed of, apart from the obvious need for a vehicle of some sort. The tiling and kitchen were fantastic, as was the size of the living space in general (2,000 square feet) plus laundry, two bed-rooms, two bathrooms and a marvellous balcony. This was it! Except for the car prob-lem.
I suggested to Eddy that he drive down the hill a ways and we would follow on foot to see if the steep hill was walkable. Hal shouted “Outstanding!” while Eddy eyed me sus-piciously but nodded his agreement after a hopeful smile from my wife. Eddy’s car shot out of the parking lot and down the hill as Michelle and I made our way over the broken concrete and past the street dogs lying in the sun.
My 65-year-old ankles took a dim view of the loose cobblestones while Michelle was on the verge of vertigo as the street wound past mounds of garbage and playing children. How those kids could frolic with soccer balls at that angle is a question for the ages, because if the little goaltender missed a ball, he would have to go to Acapulco to retrieve it.
By this time we realized that as much as we were in love with the “Outstanding!” condo, it was too far up the hill without transport. Michelle started sobbing. I had failed on our last day.
Suddenly, as we reached the halfway point of our tearful journey, we found ourselves beside a building still under construction. It was a condo nevertheless with a “For sale” sign wafting in the wind. We were still looking at the sign when Eddy appeared, wondering what had happened to us. Michelle pointed lustily at the sign, stabbing the air in front of the realtor’s nose. “What about this one?” she stammered.
“Too expensive for you guys,” he said.
I know a cue when I hear one. “Never mind, maybe we can make a deal?” I said. Eddy quickly phoned the developer, Sergio, who delightedly told us to go in and have a look. It turned out by some miracle that he had built the condo we had just seen and loved further up the mountain and this was a virtual duplicate. Had our luck changed? Was this the motherlode, and half the distance to Banderas Bay? I swear I could hear a choir.
In two shakes we entered the model suite on the first floor just above the pool, with Michelle kissing me full on the lips. I felt manly-manly for the first time in weeks. I stuck out my pigeon chest, all a-glow.
However as Eddy and my wife burbled on and on about the laundry room, splash tiles and gas stove, I took a break and wandered up the stairs looking for the top, just as a matter of interest, and to escape the domestic chat below.
What happened next made everything worthwhile.
Next column Nov. 19: “The buy”.