Since my closest girlfriends now all live in different cities, we try to do a girls weekend every year so we can all catch up. It’s not the typical girls weekend, we prefer low-key, but exotic locations. A few years ago, we decided to visit El Salvador. None of us had ever been and we found a gorgeous beachfront house through vrbo (more information on choosing a vacation rental can be found here) that was surprisingly affordable. As usual, I was in charge of the planning. We didn’t really need to plan any activities, the main goal for the weekend was for all of us to catch up with each other and pamper ourselves.
We were able to get a cook for $10 a day. We also booked a masseuse to come to the house and give us massages for $35 per hour. Wow, I was thinking El Salvador is really cheap. We still had some room left in the budget. One of the girls threw out the idea – wouldn’t it be nice to have a cabana boy, someone who could fan us and bring us drinks as we lay by our private pool.
I thought, how hard can it be? I am going to make this happen. A cabana boy would help this an epic vacation! So I reached out to the lady we had rented the house from to ask about getting a cabana boy. She responded back by asking if we needed a bartender or waitress. I figured I should provide a better job description:
“If he can make drinks that’s great but not required. He doesn’t need to speak English (some of the girls speak Spanish). We may also want him to fan us. And if you could send a picture that would be great.”
After a day or so I heard back – “Sorry, I do not provide those kind of services” and she provided the email address of a man that might be able to help. This should have been my first clue, but I was on a mission and I was not going to be deterred.
So I sent him my request:
“Hi. I am hoping you will be able to help. We are having a girls weekend, and we really want to totally pamper ourselves. Can you help us find a cabana boy for May 22-23? Depending on the price we may be interested in having a couple of them. I would like to see pictures of the possible candidates. Please let me know if you have questions.”
He responded back with only one question – “What will be the right age of the company you are requesting?” I said 20s or 30s is fine. After a few days, I finally heard back. He sent me pictures of some candidates. The candidates were all about average looking and we could have been happy with any of them. The one problem was the price. He told me it would be $600 for the two days. Keep in mind we paid $700 for three nights at a 5 bedroom house on the beach with a private pool, $10 a day for a cook, and $35 per hour for a massage.
This is when I realized I think there might be a misunderstanding in what he thinks we want. While I did want an epic vacation, my vacation plans did not include gigolos! So I responded – “That seems pretty expensive, we really just want a guy to bring us drinks.” Unfortunately, I never got a response.
Oh well, we still had a wonderful time and it was a very memorable trip. We did have a little security scare while we were there, but more on that in an upcoming blog.
- Be careful, some things may get “lost in translation” even when you both speak English.
- Use the local prices of other goods/services to determine if you are getting a fair price.