Pattaya has been in the throes of a building boom not seen anywhere on the planet since Harry Truman decided to level Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a matching pair of atomic bombs to make way for a series of American fast-food franchises and car dealerships.
The upsurge in building began a few short years ago and has accelrated faster then a Suzuki Smash off the lights at South Pattaya Road. Pattaya has cornered the Thai brick and concrete marked and almost everybody seems to be cashing in on this almost unseemly rush to build. Khun Lek, owner of the fastest somdtam cart this side of Sukhumvit Highway, now has a list of properties hanging alongside the papaya salad and seems to be forever fielding calls on her mobile phone from interested parties wanting to check out the latest bargains in Soi Wherethehellisthat. Anybody with a mobile phone, a digital camera and a laser printer seems to be in the progress of hanging out a real estate shingle and looking for customers. At last count, Pattaya had more real estate agencies than beer or karaoke bars. Indeed, down the Soi Healinghands, Khun Noi has spent 100 bath on converting the Nimble Fingers Karaoke and Massage Bar into the Wallet-Emptiers Real Estate Agency.
The question for potential purchasers of real estate is who to trust. Who can you belive? After all, most real estate agents in Western countries have a reputation not much above used car salesmen, politicians and paedophiles. In most countries people need to have done a government-approved course in order to set up shop in the real estate caper, not so here in Pattaya.
Therefor, in the interests of protecting my reader, I have decided to provide a list of the most common phrases employed by real estate agents to advertise their products with an accompanying sentence or two to describe what they really mean.
Build to the highest international standards: We conform to the North Korean Building Code, the Recommended Building Structures Certificate of Burkina Faso and the Engineering Structures of Tajikistan.
Investment opportunity: We are having great trouble selling this ‘dog’ and the stupid owner won’t budge on price.
Recently renovated: If you consider the lenght of time homo sapiens have been walking in an upright position, 1977 is recent.
Beach access: One you cross Sukhumvit Highway, make your way via the little dirt road you’ll see on the left. Keep walking for about 30 minutes and you’ll see a barbed wire fence. Carefully lift the lower strand and crawl through. Turn left and walk for another 10 minutes and there, right in front of yo, will be the beach.
Imported flooring: Illegally logged from the forests of Laos and the backblocks of Bangladesh.
Keenly priced: There’s a sucker born every minute. Some idiot will come along and snap this over-priced piece of garbage up.
Sea views: If you stand on a stool in the ensuite bathroom and look carefully between the two condo towers situated about five kilometres away you will catch a glimse of blue water.
Modern Thai-style home: Chickens and pigs in the backyard, rainwater draining into giant earthenware pots, no hot water, a polluted stream (no more then a trickle) out the back provides daily washing water. Complete with noisy neighbours who tend to start drinking lao kao at about 6:00AM and don’t stop until they’re comatose.
Off the beaten track: In the middle of nowhere.
Classical style: No architect has designed anything remotely like this since Frank Lloyd Wright died.
Natural beauty: Next door hasn’t moved the blasted lawn for about 20 years and there are weeds and vines growing out of control all over the joint. A colony of monkeys also seems to have taken up residece.
Only five minutes from Foodland/Friendship/Lotus/Carrefour: By fast-attack helicopter or Formula One race-car.
Renovator’s delight: A shanty in the middle of a tapioca plantation. One decent bump from a tail-wagging dog and the whole structure will come crashing down around you and look like a giant mound of kindling.
Prestige living: By comparison with the backstreets of Lagos, Mogadishu and parts of Cairo this is luxury.
Secluded area: No hot and cold running water. Kilometres from anywhere remotely civilised or habitable. You’ll have to walk for 20 minutes before seeing anything resembling human habitation.
Modern flexible design: You want a roof, we’ll put a roof on the house. You want a flushing toilet, we’ll do that as well. You want a bedroom and a living room, we can accommodate your wishes. Just add a few zeroes to the asking price and your wish is our command.
24-hour security: OK, cut him some slack, the poor bastard has to sleep and eat sometime.
Any similarity between the above collection of marketing adjectives and the advertising used by most of the real estate companies to sell their products in Pattaya is purely intentional (and tongue-in-cheek).