I love Halloween.
From creative costumes to children trick-or-treating, Halloween is a fun time of year. After moving overseas, I learned that it’s celebrated in many countries around the world.
In the spirit of the holiday, I thought it’d be fun to share some spooky stories from my far-flung colleagues here at Live and Invest Overseas.
Here are some dramatic tales we overseas adventurers have survived…
Belize Bites Back
I was giving a tour of a Belizean development and I displayed a mahogany log we planned to incorporate in the Mahogany Bar area. A gentleman bent down and put his hand on top—and felt a pinch. He thought it was a thorn… there are no thorn bushes in this area.
We continued with the property tour but, 15 steps later, he said his hand was tingling. A moment later the tingling sensation extended to his arm. After another 60 seconds, the right side of his body was tingling. He got very scared, so we ultimately detoured to a nearby clinic.
The doctor concluded he was bitten by a scorpion. After receiving an injection, the poor man spent the rest of the day in bed. He didn’t buy a property, but he did decide to rent long term!
The Devil’s Doorway
I toured a house that looked great from the outside, but once we opened the door, it was like “The Night of the Living Dead.” The zombie tenants turned out to be homeless guys… but the rats were just as scary.
Attack Of The Ghost Lobster
I took a doctor on a property tour who told me he was extremely allergic to shellfish. I told the cook that we wanted a traditional rice, beans, and stewed chicken dinner because of my guest’s shellfish allergy. As we were enjoying a nice seaside dinner, the doctor’s throat closed up… he was near death. Fortunately, the village nurse had an EpiPen and saved his life.
Apparently the cook prepared the beans in the same frying pan she used to cook lobster. The doctor was thankful to be alive, understood the mistake, and he decided to buy a property.
50 Shades Of Gray Ash
In Ecuador they never set appointments to show real estate, so properties are never “staged.” In one house, the owner was sitting in a dark living room, with all of the shades drawn. The coffee table was littered with beer cans and a full ash tray, while cigarette smoke filled the room. He wore boxers and a nasty T-shirt, almost covered by a torn bath robe.
Needless to say, I didn’t make an offer on that one!
The Creature From The Black Lagoon
One of my first real estate tours in Belize included an agent who showed up drunk at 8:30 a.m. and then fell asleep on the bus. Without the agent to give him directions, the bus driver got lost. We finally stopped alongside a river to regroup… and the agent stripped down to his underwear and went swimming. He then got back on the bus, dripping wet, ready to continue the tour.
The Haunted House
While touring properties along the Pacific Coast in Ecuador, my agent lined up a house located on a deserted beach. The home was named Casa Encantada(Spanish for “Enchanted House,” soon to become ironic to us) and, although the doors and windows were open, no one answered when we rang the bell on the gate or yelled “Anyone home?”
As we checked out the empty beach, a young woman came out of the house wearing only a man’s button-down shirt and flip-flops. She let us into the house when a young man wearing only shorts came out to smoke a cigarette.
The house was a bohemian mess… this couple apparently didn’t believe in using closets or cabinets to store their belongings. After a quick look around we thanked them and got in the car to leave. Down the road the agent finally broke the silence and said what we were all thinking: We arrived during their midday rendezvous, and they weren’t going to answer the bell until finished.
When Thorns And Hornets Attack
On a property tour I had a couple considering two lots. I planned a photography outing for the husband and a jungle horseback riding trip for them both. The gentleman left early for a sunrise photo opp at the river bank. An hour later he came back bloody, sweaty, and looking like a drowned rat.
Apparently, when he stretched out over the water to get the “perfect” photo he slipped and slid down the riverbank, grasping at thorny bamboo to stop his fall. Fortunately he was able to launch his camera equipment onto dry land before plunging into the river. He laughed about it and took it in stride.
That evening, on our horseback ride, the lady’s horse kicked up a hornet nest. As the hornets swarmed, I jumped off my horse, yanked off my hat, and swatted her horse in the hind quarters. Her horse quickly ran off while I jumped back on my horse to get away from the swarm. The lady had a few stings, but was otherwise OK.
Later at dinner, they recounted the day’s adventures with enthusiasm, looked me in the eyes, and said, “We’re in!”
My wife and I viewed an apartment in Medellín. A few minutes later, the woman who showed it came yelling and chasing us down the street. She started ranting that we couldn’t buy it, and she wouldn’t sell it. She insisted that we destroy all of the images. She even hounded us until she witnessed me erasing the images from the camera.
We never did figure that one out…
Do You Know The Way To San José…
I was in Costa Rica when I was 24 or 25 years old, and I was touring properties in Guanacaste with an agent. Afterwards, I was to fly from the coast to San José. The agent took me to a big, open field with a dirt landing strip. Nothing else. Nothing resembling an airport or… well… anything. The agent dropped me off and drove away.
I sat down in the dirt to wait. Two hours later I started to wonder what I’d do if no plane ever showed up… but one eventually did. I walked over, got on board, and was taken to San José. I was the sole passenger.
True Night Of The Living Dead
On a dark, two-lane highway in rural Ecuador, we encountered something blocking the road, reducing the traffic to one lane. We had to drive around a large mass of people slowly walking in the road, all dressed in black.
We were forced to drive onto the shoulder, and we realized this was a funeral procession walking to the local cemetery. At the front of the procession, a pick-up truck creeped along with the casket in the truck bed, followed by a flat-bed truck holding a six-person band playing for the crowd who danced along with the music.
While it was interesting to witness this tradition, they probably should have started the walk sooner to avoid being on the road in the pitch-black night.
I hope you enjoyed these chilling behind-the-scenes adventures. When I asked for my colleagues’ real-life horror stories, I received more than I could squeeze into this week’s edition of Overseas Property Alert. I’ve saved them to share with you later… Keep your eyes on this space for more tales from the Live and Invest Overseas crypt coming soon!
Have a safe and happy Halloween.