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Dice Have No Memory: Big Bets and Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas by William Bonner

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Chapter 9

The Expatriate’s Experiment Abroad

The Accidental Investor

February 19, 2001—Ouzilly, France

“You got a very good deal,” said Maitre Boulzaguet. “You bought at the very moment when prices hit bottom. Good move.”

Maitre Boulzaguet is the notaire who organized the deal when we bought our farm in France. I saw him on Saturday night at a dinner party organized by Blanquita, a woman from Venezuela who is married to a local Frenchman.

“But you can’t worry about prices,” said the notaire. “You never know if they’re going up or down. You just have to buy something you like. If you worry about money . . . well . . . you are doomed to be miserable.”

By way of further introduction to new readers, my family and I moved to France a few years ago. Our intention was to come for the summers, while I was trying to develop business in Europe. But without ever really intending it, we found ourselves making a much bigger investment—in both time and money—in our French property. The house is a huge chateau-style agglomeration from various epochs and various owners—which was in desperate need of attention when we arrived. We have been working on it, and spending on it, for the last four years.

Maitre Boulzaguet is the kind of man you want to know when you enter a new area. He knows everyone . . . and everyone’s business. If there is a local deal to be made, chances are he is in on it.

“Cuba is great,” he said suddenly, changing the subject. He and his wife had just returned from a vacation. ...

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