Love to Hate in Less Than 24 Hours, a.k.a. "The Vase"

I had made up my mind on this cruise that I wasn’t going to purchase any kitchy, touristy trinkets on the cruise. I learned this lesson after a trip to Mexico with my friend Bill when I drunkenly purchased several shirts that were hilarious at the time but make no sense and are highly inappropriate, especially when meeting your new neighbors. (You’ll have to get that story in person) So fast forward 2 years to Belize, when I find the item that I want to commemorate the trip. Lindsay and I entered a store called “A Taste of Belize” (I don’t remember it, the name is on the reciept that I consult in anger several times a day) and found beautiful wooden products. They are all multi-colored and there were salad bowls, vases, jewelry, a chess set, etc. Beautiful pieces. And pricey as hell. There is a vase on the ground of the store and I asked the shop keeper for the price. “$200,” was his reply, which sort of made me laugh and I said to Lindsay “yeah, right”. So we walked around to other shops, found some great textiles which we both purchased for our homes, bought some yummy Rainforest Rum Cake, and made our way back towards the ship. Except that I wanted to stop back at the wood shop to buy one of the $45 bowls that I had settled on as a centerpiece for the dining table. We get to the store, the shop keeper wraps up the bowl and I start negotiating a price on the large vase. I get him down to $175 and Lindsay and I agree it is totally worth the price, it’s a beautiful piece and will look great in the house. He unwraps the bowl and wraps up the vase. I can’t believe I spent that much money, but it is a beautiful conversation piece and a unique addition to our home. I’m happy as a clam as I lug that bad boy on the tender back to the ship and store in it our room. I feel crazy for spending that much money, but feel it was worth it. It really is pretty

Fast forward 20 hours or so and enter the first shop in Honduras that Lindsay and I enter. We both exclaim “wow, they have a lot of those wooden vases” and I ask the proprieter the price of the vase, so I can see what a good deal I negotiated in Belize. Are you sitting down? Sit your butt down and get our the Kleenex kids because this is going to be something special. Have you thought of your guess for the price? Did I over pay by $10? $25, $50, or even a whopping $75? I flippin’ wish that I overpaid by even $80. I overpaid by… I’m embarassed, I can’t even type this. I’m not telling. Ok, I overpaid by $135. That’s right. The proprieter told me the cost of my vase in Honduras was only $45, but she would give it to me for $40 because I had a “nice face.” I don’t know where they hell she got that I had a nice face because there was smoke spewing out of my ears and blood raining from my eyes. I then began ranting and raving to Lindsay and she will attest that I didn’t stop. EVER. It’s been a week and I’m still pissed.

up close detail

Despite popular belief and proof to the contrary from this story, I’m no fool. I considered purchasing another one for $40 and then defraying my costs between the two vases but there was the logistics issue of how heavy and annoying the vase was. So I decided to not purchase another one (or six for the price I’d paid for one-swimming back to Belize and returning them all for a great and wonderful profit-muuuhahaha) and it turned out to be for the best. I had to lug that darn vase around the airport and have a million people comment on how beautiful it was and where I’d purchased it. I tried to smile and say “thank you” but it’s hard to be the sucker carrying the albiet beautiful and wildly overpriced heavy vase around the airport.

I haven’t told you the worst part of the story yet. I know, dry your eyes from the tears of laughter and pity. I unwrapped it when I got home and it seemed fine. Yesterday I picked it up to bitch about it again to Mircea and THERE IS A CRACK IN IT. There was a little line on it when I bought it, and it didn’t appear to be a crack, just part of the wood. Well it cracked into a nice little gash, leaving me with two options in which to respond; a.) covering the crack with some sort of decorative grass that I’m sure Fernie will eat or b.) chucking off the back deck while yelling expletives and most likely holding a bottle of booze in the other hand.

Even I can laugh about this at this point because I’ve single-handedly boosted Belize’s GNP for 2009 and frankly, I’ve got a good story to tell. Too bad it’s at my expense.
***UPDATE: Holy Hell that thing has several more cracks in it and is now sort of experiencing a melting at the seams where it appears that it has been glued. Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you that I inspected the heck out of this thing when I bought it. I have no recourse either, just a big steaming pile of crappy wood in my foyer. That still looks good from a distance but may cause me to have a heart attack at 28.***
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