Carl Hiaasen

Nauru’s got sunshine and palm trees, Mr. President, and so much bird poop, it might come down on the price! | Opinion

The island of Nauru sits between Hawaii and Australia, 25 miles south of the equator.
The island of Nauru sits between Hawaii and Australia, 25 miles south of the equator. Getty Images

Summary of the report to President Donald J. Trump from the White House Global Real Estate Task Group, chaired by Randy “The Closer” Duckworth, owner/manager of Duckworth Century 21 in Gaithersburg, Maryland:

Since the negotiations to purchase Greenland have stalled, our task group has been researching the other international properties proposed by the President for possible acquisition.

Iceland

Despite its name, Iceland is actually less icy than Greenland — and greener, too. Most of the population lives in the capital city of Reykjavik, which has modern hotels, great bars and (fun fact!) no pesky polar bears.

However, like Greenland, Iceland isn’t for sale. The government officials who notified us of this were extremely cordial, and not one of them rudely used the term “absurd” to describe President Trump’s interest.

Persia

Unfortunately, Persia as a country doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s called Iran. We double-checked this sneaky name switch with our sources at the United Nations.

Afterward. we made a few exploratory calls and learned that the country formerly known as Persia has 10 percent of all the world’s oil reserves, making it an extremely lucrative real-estate asset.

The bad news: First, Iran is definitely not for sale. Second, the leaders “detest” our government and basically pray every day that America will end up as a smoldering, desolate crater. Third, they might soon have nuclear weapons.

Therefore, the task group strongly advises President Trump not to go on Twitter and make any half-assed comments about buying Iran.

Bhutan

This serene, landlocked country in the eastern Himalayas would be a classy addition to any real-estate portfolio. It’s rich in coal, copper and other valuable minerals, though the citizens have a strong (though not insurmountable) environmental ethic.

We foresee some internal resistance to the idea of becoming a U.S. holding, since Bhutan has never been colonized and is proudly independent. The people are mostly Buddhist and consequently not materialistic, which means they probably won’t be impressed by a flashy multibillion-dollar offer from President Trump.

Still, this scenic property — tucked cozily between China and India — is worth pursuing. We recommend a private phone call from the Oval Office to the leader of Bhutan (who, by the way, is known as the “Dragon King.” How cool is that?)

Nauru

This tiny tropical nation is essentially a coral outcrop in the southwest Pacific Ocean. A snorkelers’ paradise, the island’s growth has been stalled by its remote location and lack of infrastructure.

With few hotels, Nauru attracts only about 200 tourists a year, but this number could rise astronomically if the atoll were bought by the United States and a Trump-style resort got built.

The sunny climate, blue waters and lush palm trees are bound to remind the President of happy times at Mar-a-Lago. At eight square miles, Nauru is larger than Key West and has enough undeveloped acreage for an 18-hole championship golf course and adjoining cricket facilities.

Aside from the now-familiar problem of the country not being for sale, another potential issue in acquiring and developing Nauru is that much of the land has been stripped bare for the phosphate due to eons and eons of accumulated sea bird poop.

The task group recommends that any purchase offer for Nauru be based on an independent appraisal that takes into account the strip-mining damage — and also the cost of removing the residual guano deposits.

Ceylon

Same problem as Persia, with all due respect to the White House. There’s no longer a nation called Ceylon. It became Sri Lanka back in 1972.

The task group is aware that the first lady is partial to so-called “Ceylon linen,” particularly the duvet covers. And while this isn’t our area of expertise, several of us on the panel can personally vouch for the silky comfort of high thread-count sheets and pillow cases that are being sold as authentic Ceylon linens.

Unfortunately, much of the bedding being marketed this way is not actually manufactured in the country formerly known as Ceylon.

Furthermore, we must firmly advise against attempting to purchase the current Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Despite its ancient origins, fascinating diversity and booming textile trade, the place has a turbulent political culture with a long history of human-rights violations.

Also — and we don’t mean to sound like a broken record — the island is not for sale. Sorry, Mr. President, but it’s just not.

So, please, don’t even ask.

We respectfully await further instructions.

  Comments