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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fresh Start in Gulf Shores, AL

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NARRATOR: Surrounded by water, miles away from it all,

an island is the ultimate getaway.

Who can resist this?

With hundreds of islands off of America's coast,

why just visit when you can make this your permanent home?

-A manatee! -A manatee.

Wow. Nice.

This is "Island Life."

♪♪

Good. Bap, bap, bap.

-More money. Got it. -Ho!

[ Grunting ]

Two more. [ Grunting ]

Oh, good shot. You're making me hurt.

I'm Amy, and after serving my country in the Army,

I am ready to settle down in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Which knee when we're that close?

-Does it really matter? -Soon as the right leg touches,

push off strong and come back.

I'm originally from Kentucky.

My contract is up after getting back from Afghanistan,

so I'm just looking to take some of the money I saved

and make my lifestyle change.

I've always wanted to do kickboxing.

I started training more in the MMA style,

and I just fell in love with that,

and I also have my own Strongman competition coming up.

Okay. One, two, three, and right, drop.

Four more, four more, come on.

You got to push! Hey, come on.

My first experience with Gulf Shores

was when I was deployed in Afghanistan,

and I had a lieutenant talk to me about Gulf Shores.

I drove in, and I saw

the beautiful trees down the center of the highway.

As soon as I stepped on the beach

and saw those waves,

I knew I wanted to find my home here.

I'm looking forward to starting my own business, hopefully,

-in condo management. -Good job.

I'm going to put you in the water there.

I moved around a lot ever since joining the military.

I'm just ready to be in Alabama and find my home.

KRISTINA: I'm so excited

that you've got your first amateur fight booked.

-Are you ready? -Yeah, I'm getting there.

It'll all be worth it.

I know you're going to do great.

Yeah, I'm super excited.

I'm really glad that you chose the Gulf Coast,

and we are going to find you a home in no time.

What are your must-haves?

I would like to try to find something, like, around here.

I like how many restaurants and things to do

in this little pocket right here.

We'll definitely try to keep your search

central to this area.

I'm looking to have two bedrooms and one bath,

-for sure. -Okay.

Would love to have a little pool,

great view, on the beach or as close as possible.

I know within my budget, that might be a little hard

to find something that's really good.

How much would you like to spend?

$140,000 and below.

Okay, I don't think I could get you Gulf-front,

but I could definitely get you something across the street.

-Okay. -Finding two full bedrooms

may be a bit of a challenge,

but I know we're going to find something

that's perfect for you.

You've got to tried the fried pickles.

These things can be like the devil.

I'll treat you to a whole batch after you win, maybe two.

[ Laughs ]

NARRATOR: Gulf Shores is a quiet beach town on the Gulf of Mexico,

often called Alabama's best-kept secret.

The area has 32 miles of pristine white sand,

an emerging culinary scene,

and championship golf courses.

Most of the town's activity is centered around

the main public beach, called East Beach,

which is popular for fishing and volleyball

as well as the many festivals

Gulf Shores hosts each year.

Amy is looking for something that feels like home.

If she's willing to compromise on having a pool,

I think she's really going to love the Beachcomber.

NARRATOR: The Beachcomber is near Gulf State Park,

which offers hiking trails, a zip-line course,

and 2 miles of beach.

Is that the Gulf that's right there?

Yeah, that's your daily beach access.

So, a quick little walk right from your front door.

It is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit.

-Okay. -It's 816 square feet.

-Okay. -It's priced at only $114,000.

Nice, but I didn't see a pool. Is there one?

-There's not a pool. -Okay.

This is your outdoor space right here.

So I know it's not much, but you could still enjoy morning coffee

or maybe have dinner out here in the evening.

I keep hearing some construction going on.

Is that going to be all the time?

Yes. This is going to be something that you live with.

There's a lot of new construction

that's going on in this area.

It's ultimately going to help you

to drive the value of your property up.

Well, great.

Oh, man. I like this. It's nice and bright.

-It's really pretty in here. -Isn't it cute?

Definitely like that there's tile in here.

I don't see any chips or cracks,

and the ceiling fan looks new.

You're going to see hard flooring all throughout,

so there's no carpet.

The living room looks like a decent size.

Like, it doesn't feel crowded, so I like it.

So, you got your own little dining space here.

Yeah. It's a decent size.

You're not skimping on the table, either.

I like how big this island bar is.

I could still cook something

and have some barstools on the other side.

What do you think about the updated cabinets?

I really like them. It's a lot of cabinets

for such a small area.

The appliances, they look relatively new.

And they all match, which is great.

I see myself making some drinks or snacks,

having some friends over, just relaxing,

having a good night.

Oh, man.

I love how bright this is.

You just walk in, and you feel happy.

I really like how it changes to wood panel floor.

-Yeah, and look how big it is. -It's huge.

Is this the spare bed, or is this the master?

So you could use either-or as your master,

but they're about the same size.

That's nice.

So I guess we have the bathroom here?

The tub looks really good.

Definitely like the little shelves.

Nice built-ins over there, in the corner.

It's a tiny bit cramped.

I'm not crazy about the vanity.

If you chose to go with granite,

maybe upgrade your sink?

-Remember, $114,000, girl. -Yeah.

Oh, man. The light is just bouncing

off of these floors in here,

and the yellow paint is continued.

The headboard almost looks like

little seashells that are glued to the headboard.

It's really pretty, but also keep in mind, too,

this is a very large room,

so if you wanted to upgrade this to a king-sized bed,

I feel like you have plenty of room

for end tables on each side and more room to walk around.

I like the Beachcomber. I like how light

and bright it feels.

It's very welcoming and cozy. The only problems I have with it

are construction that's going on.

A pool is really high on my wish list

along with some outdoor space, but for the price,

I'm willing to compromise.

[ Man speaking indistinctly over radio ]

It's 500 feet over the beach, climbing to --

-There we go! -Whoo!

I'm about to go up in a glider plane,

and I'm super excited.

Oh, my God.

[ Laughing ]

Oh, my goodness!

So we got out on the runway.

I thought it was going to be, like, this long takeoff,

but we just went out, and it went straight up.

It was such a rush. This is so amazing.

Not a bad day at the office, huh?

MAN: My office has one heck of a view up here,

you have to admit.

We're cruising along about 76 miles per hour.

So if the engine went out, you could just glide this

-and set it down, right? -Safety above all.

I'm not really nervous about being high up,

just falling down really quickly.

It's crazy how clear the water is. I can see down into it.

I can see the beautiful lagoon, all of West Beach,

the little inlet that dips from the lagoon,

and these amazing buildings

that are from World War II soldiers.

This is Veteran's Drive up along here,

off of, uh, Mobile Street.

It's so breathtaking up here.

We're going to get you flying this puppy.

I was able to make a couple right turns and not crash us.

Look there, you're flying a trike.

Whoo! [ Laughs ]

-This is amazing! -I'm not doing nothing.

You're flying. I'm just sitting here watching everything.

You can enjoy the sunset.

I got this. How am I going to turn?

There you go, right about like that.

We're just going to come right on around.

Being so high up here and seeing my future home

just makes me that more excited to move here.

I know Amy wanted a two-bedroom,

but I want to show her all of her options,

so I'm taking her Lagoon Sun.

NARRATOR: Lagoon Sun is on the Little Lagoon,

a 10-mile-long lake

that's ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Super peaceful, it's very quiet.

So you don't have to worry about the tourists coming in and out.

You can actually have more of a homey feel

and get to know your neighbors here.

We're going to see a one-bedroom, one-bath.

It's 600 square feet. It's listed for only $125,000.

It's a little smaller than I want to look at.

I think you're really gonna like the balcony.

Does it have a pool at all?

There is no pool here.

You've got the lagoon to your right,

but then you're also about a 3-minute walk to the Gulf.

Well, we'll see.

Oh, nice. I like how big this is.

It's kind of open.

I like the countertops.

I think it's one of the most updated ones I've seen.

The cabinets could use some TLC.

I like the appliances.

They look relatively new and taken care of.

Check out all your prep space that you've got here.

Such a small area, it's more to work with.

I think the paint is really dark,

so brightening that up will make the area look a bit more open.

And it's only $120,000.

You definitely have some room left over

to maybe make me a couple of margaritas.

[ Both laugh ]

Only if you help me paint this room.

Such a short walk right over here, into your living.

We've got beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.

I love how they brought the mirrors in, so it reflects off.

I like that there's, you know, a big-enough space

that I could still have some people over

to have a little dance party.

And the mirrors continue.

This is a huge space with a queen-sized bed,

and I still have all this walking room.

It's pretty amazing.

The only thing I could see changing is the wall paint.

You've also got the ceramic floor.

Yeah, I like that.

This is kind of a unique bathroom setup.

You've got two closets in here,

your sink and vanity here,

along with a stacked washer and dryer.

It's kind of oddly placed.

Where's the rest of my bathroom at?

Let's go this way and see the rest.

You can see that the shower and commode is in here.

Yeah, I don't like that shower.

There is no sink in here.

So I would have to use the bathroom

and go wash my hands in the other room.

Yeah, that's a little weird,

but at least we have a festive palm tree.

[ Laughs ]

Oh, wow. Look at this.

-Isn't that awesome? -This is pretty awesome.

-Does this come with it? -It does.

KRISTINA: This whole area is yours.

You want to give it a try?

[ Laughs ]

Isn't that awesome? I can see you

spending so much time out here, chilling in this bed swing.

This is pretty awesome. I like this.

I knew you were going to like it.

I ended up liking it more than what I thought it would.

I love the view that I can see.

It has, like, a lot of potential.

I wasn't crazy about the bathroom

and the other bath-closet laundry room,

but more spacious than I thought.

It's priced at only $120,000,

so you have plenty of room to work with

to customize this unit to your specifications.

Yeah, it's some things to consider.

KRISTINA: Amy's all about the water,

so I'm taking her to the Cove Unit

that has everything that she's looking for.

NARRATOR: Located in the quiet neighborhood of West Beach,

the Cove is directly across the street

from the Gulf of Mexico.

So is that the pool that's over there?

Yeah, you can see a little bit of it from right here.

It's two bedrooms, one-bath, 600 square feet,

only $125,000.

We're here on the corner,

so you're only sharing one community wall.

Nice.

Decorated super cute.

-Oh, wow. -So come on in.

I like this.

You can see, we've got the loft right here,

so you've got room for extra company.

I really like the tile. I feel like

that would be really helpful for the sand.

Absolutely. Probably one of the easiest surfaces to clean.

I like this space, definitely for my, you know --

my dance parties that I like to throw.

I love this kitchen. I feel like it's really cozy.

Yeah.

It's not the largest kitchen,

but I feel like you have everything in here

-that you need. -I think it could be updated.

I don't like the light. It makes it feel a little dark

or dingy in here,

and the microwave takes up too much counter space,

so I can update that and maybe the stove.

For under $5,000,

you could make this look like a completely new kitchen.

Yeah, I like the fishes.

It adds to the island-tropical life,

which is what I'm looking for.

All right. So we come in here to the bathroom.

Interesting, off the kitchen.

I think the vanity could use an update.

I don't think it really matches.

The mirror and the lights, maybe another coat of paint?

There's nothing really big in here,

so that makes me happy, for sure.

What do you think about this bedroom?

I definitely like the bedspread.

I think they all swam here together from the Gulf.

[ Laughing ] Probably.

Do you feel like this is an adequate enough size

-for your bedroom? -Yeah, I think so.

Only thing I don't like is that TV shelf.

The TV does look like it's from 1983.

So maybe we should update the TV.

And the door's hideaway, and I can close that off if I need to.

Some interesting stairs.

Yeah, you got a nice spiral staircase.

Yeah, I feel like a little kid in a treehouse or something.

We could always eliminate the stairs

and just put in a fire pole.

As long as it came with the firemen,

I'm down for it. [ Chuckles ]

There's a little less privacy up here,

so if someone wanted to change or whatnot --

We can replace this banister right here,

with a solid piece of wood to give you some more privacy.

Sounds good.

AMY: I like the deck.

I mean, this is great. It's huge.

I like that it's elevated,

the palm trees, the view,

and I like how big this pool is.

Isn't this awesome?

Yeah, it gets up to 7 feet deep.

-Crazy. -And all of the decking

and the pool liner was replaced last year.

I hear some birds chirping in the trees. It relaxes me.

What did you think about the unit overall?

I like that, uh, they made great use out of this space.

It is open. They layout's perfect.

The kitchen was probably the one room that I really didn't like.

It's a little further out from, like, the restaurants and stuff,

so do you have anything that's closer,

within walking distance?

I've got a lot of great options for you.

Right here is our public beach,

and it's actually going through a renovation right now.

We're in the process of adding a boardwalk.

Was that really a "Don't feed a crocodile" sign?

We don't have crocs. We're not in Australia.

Alligators -- just don't bother them,

and they won't bother you.

Gulf Shores is known for a lot of wildlife here.

That's actually our nature park.

Most of the time, you'll see pelicans flying overhead.

That's why with the city's logo,

you see the pelicans in the background.

-It's for that spot right there. -Interesting.

I can't wait until you become a local.

Being in the military and traveling around all the time,

it'll be nice to settle down on the Gulf,

something I've been dreaming about.

We're going to find you the perfect house,

and then you'll be able to start relaxing.

Awesome.

I'm showing Amy the Gulf View unit

because it may be at the top of her budget,

but it has all the needs and wants

that she's looking for.

NARRATOR: Gulf View is on East Beach

and is easy walking distance

to the best bars and restaurants.

We're right here basically in the heart of Gulf Shores,

right where all of the action is.

We're actually going to see a 2-bedroom, 1-1/2-bath.

It's 863 square feet, and it's $139,900.

I know it's a little high for you, but you do have a pool.

It's a little small.

I do like that's it's 6 feet deep.

Not crazy about how close it is to the highway.

In this price point, I wanted to get you

as close as I could to central Gulf Shores.

Awesome. Well, let's go look at it.

All right. So here it is.

What do you think?

I like it.

I like the colors. I like how big the space is.

The floors, they're not really dark,

so it kind of helps brighten it up a little bit.

The furniture comes with the unit, too?

It sure does.

So, yeah, with it being at the top of my price range,

that's definitely something that I can consider

-not having to buy more of. -Absolutely.

Oh, wow. I like how big this kitchen is.

The cabinets could use some updating,

as well as some updates to the appliances.

It's quite odd to have the washer

and dryer in the kitchen.

We can always build out a half-wall right here.

Where does this door lead to?

That actually leads to your own private balcony.

Nice. And the bath?

Oh, I love the tile that's in here.

This is gorgeous.

It's perfectly beachy, isn't it?

Even got the shell-shaped sink.

Adds, like, a little bit of flavor into the room.

I'm definitely happy with this room.

Oh, wow. I like this bedroom.

I definitely like this custom headboard

that they have in here.

You've got some built-in storage on each side.

See, the only thing that I don't like about it

is that it is blocking off that amazing window.

So maybe just rearranging the bed

to where it fits better in the room.

I don't know if this funky dresser goes with it,

but I really do like it.

I don't have to do any other updates.

No.

So it's pretty much ready to go.

Oh, wow.

I really don't like this one as much as the last one.

Maybe, like, brighten it up.

These are brand-new windows.

They're actually the push-out windows,

so if you wanted to open your window a little bit

and get some fresh air in here, it'd be really easy.

I still think it's a great room,

but I think it would be a great guest bedroom.

It has some great potential that I really like.

So what did you think of Gulf View?

I liked it. The pool was a little smaller

than the others that we had looked at.

I didn't like that it was right near the road.

The bedrooms were really big.

Kitchen was really big, too.

I'm able to walk down to the Hangout and enjoy a good meal.

I agree. That's something that I do love

about this location

is just how centrally located you are to everything.

Yeah.

NARRATOR: Want to see other homes from the Gulf of Mexico?

Check out hgtv.com/islandlife.

-Feels good. -Ahh.

[ Laughs ] This is what's up.

-This feels great. -Doesn't it, though?

We should have done this every day.

This is just a small example of what you can look forward to.

I can't wait.

I gave you some options to look at.

So what did you think?

What I really loved about the Lagoon Sun was the view.

I could sit in my living room and see the Gulf.

I wish it was a little bigger.

And then, it was the toilet, bath, closet --

It was just odd how it was all put together in there.

I loved the wraparound deck.

I just wish it had a second bedroom.

It didn't have a pool,

and we were a little further from the beach.

It was definitely the furthest away

of all the ones that we looked at.

I liked the Cove.

It was right across the street from the beach.

It had an amazing pool.

Kitchen could use some updating.

It looks really old.

Yeah, there are some upgrades that could be gone,

but nothing that I don't think that could prevent you

from moving in right away.

At $125,000, it was within my budget

and also had that one bedroom with the loft.

Even though there wasn't a lot of privacy up there,

it's still, like, an extra space

for people to stay if I needed it to.

Gulf View condo -- I like the fact that it had a pool.

Just that being so close to the street,

I don't know how I like that, still.

Gulf View was a little noisy. The plus with that

is that you were located right in the heart of Gulf Shores.

Wasn't really crazy

about the washer and dryer in the kitchen,

and it's at the top of my price range.

That Beachcomber, it was gorgeous,

especially for like $114,000.

It was a really good deal.

And not having to make a lot of changes to it --

It was probably the most turnkey of them all.

Bedroom units alone were big.

It didn't have any amenities,

and that construction

that was going on the entire time --

With $114,000, think of all the money you'd have left over.

You could treat me to pedicures every week, right?

Wait, I thought you were getting this.

[ Laughs ] If you buy a condo, I got you.

Okay.

Do you think I should set up some more showings?

-I've already made my decision. -Yeah?

Yeah. The Cove.

Oh, I'm so glad. I love that one.

It has everything that I was looking for, plus the Lagoon.

It just felt like home.

I'm glad to hear you say that.

What are you thinking about offering?

I was thinking about $110,000. What do you think?

Is that a good place to start?

I think that $110,000 is a great offer.

Perfect. I can't wait to hear back.

All right. Oh, I love the color that you picked.

[ Seagulls squawking ]

WOMAN: Curve it.

[ All laugh, speak indistinctly ]

Got it. You got it. There we go.

-Ah. -Oh!

Yeah! [ Laughs ]

I initially made an offer of $110,000 on the Cove,

but it wasn't accepted.

We ended up settling at $117,000.

I mean, this is like a perfect day.

-It is. -It's perfect out here.

-Whoo-hoo! -Oh!

I'm excited to open a brand-new chapter in my life.

We got to catch up. [ Laughs ]

I'm so happy to finally be living down here,

and it is a dream come true.

-Ohh. [ Laughs ] -[ Cheering ]

-Nice game. Awesome job. -Good job.

-Good job. -Who wants next?

Island life to me is beach and great friends

and just finally getting to call a place a home.

[ Laughs ]

Whoo!

[ Waves crashing ]

The Description of Fresh Start in Gulf Shores, AL