The Expat Files: Living in Latin America A guide to moving to Latin America, finding work, and settling in.

March 27, 2015  
-Timely tips on dealing with (non-medical) Latin professionals like lawyers, architects, accountants, engineers, bookkeepers  

-There are many ways to find a very good first-world trained medical doctor or dentist in Latin America. And one of the easiest fastest and very best ways to go about it is to come down to an Expat wisdom seminar. I mention this because a good percentage of my past seminar attendees had made me aware (before they came down) that they’d like to somehow work in an appointment to see an English speaking dentist, physician or specialist for either a workup, second opinion, or treatment plan. Of course I know some of the best medical people and can easily make the proper introductions for first-world care at 3rd world prices. I’m not referring to so-called organized medical tourism- Costa Rica or Mexico style- that seems to be the latest gringo tourist-trail racket. Though it can be a good alternative to outrageously expensive USA care, it’s also loaded with pitfalls. Bottom line: it’s definitely preferable to get your Latin medical/dental references and recommendations from long-term Expats. Unfortunately, searching the net for medical tourism ads, talking to tipsy gringos in expat bars, and throwing darts at the Latin yellow pages are not very reliable ways to locate good, inexpensive high-level healthcare providers.                       
 
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: Make your plans now for the next Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and get in on the early-bird discount). Just go to the www.ExpatWisdom.com main page and click on the Latin Seminar link for full details. The seminar will take place from Saturday, July 11th through Thursday July 16th, 2015.
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
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March 22, 2015  
-Just like in the US, Latin governments are terribly corrupt... so the next duly (or unduly) elected chief thief nearly always finds the coffers empty. But no matter.... the next scumbag party chief thief in power does as every careless spendthrift government does and floats a new bond issue to cover the debt of the previous bond issue. Meanwhile, the earlier bond issue that was floated by a previous corrupt administration never quite covered an even much earlier bond issue, etc., etc., ad infinitum. The fact is, old bond issues are always out of sight and out of mind… and all part of the bigger fool theory- on an international scale.

-Everyone with a brain knows the employment situation in the USA is dismal and getting worse. If so, why are the monthly “remisas” (i.e., the small amounts money sent back to Latin American households by relatives by mostly illegals living in the USA) at absolute record high levels? How can one explain it- what’s wrong with this picture?

-You might be aware that the US government federal debt burden per US citizen works out to about $59,000 each. So then, what might be the equivalent debt burden per capita for citizens in the various Latin countries; like for example Peru, Panama, Mexico or Costa Rica? Well, the answers are so surprising I’m not gonna tell… you’ll just have to listen and hear it for yourself.
 
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and to get in on the early-bird discount) copy this link http://expatwisdom.com/?p=7230 orsend an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will take place in the second week of July, 2015. 
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
 
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March 20, 2015  
An update on the Latin real estate bubble… it just keeps getting bigger. Every middle and upper-middle class Latin’s dream is to buy or build a new house in the “burbs”. Doesn’t that sound like a line from your grandparent’s book? By the way, living in the “burbs” is just one of the latest middle and upper-middle class Latin measures of success. That means with Latins, the “living in the burbs thing” has a lag time of only about 40 years!    
 
-The muddy truth about getting and keeping liquor licenses in Latin America. If your dream is to have a typical brick and mortar business; a bar, restaurant, hotel, or bed and breakfast… you’ll need a liquor license. With all licenses, as with most things in Latin America, there are two different and very flexible standards. There’s one standard when “on” the tourist trail and a very much more relaxed standard when “off” that trail.     
 
-There happens to be a severe bathtub shortage in most all Latin American households. Actually it’s more like a bathtub dilemma. So how’d that happen? The subject has always been a bit complicated and it’s not generally about the money either.
  
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and to get in on the early-bird discount) send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will take place in the second week of July, 2015. 
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
 
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March 15, 2015  
-Expat Eddie checks out the proposed Nicaraguan Canal Zone himself- looking for new business opportunities. Being Eddie, along the way he strayed into a few bars and casinos (both legal and dodgy) and finally ended up getting scammed by a brand new gringo acquaintance and two young female con artists in Costa Rica.
 
-Another example of why in Latin America it’s not usually a good idea to start a “brick and mortar” business when there happens to be direct gringocompetition nearby.  
 
-Did you ever do something long, long ago that was so embarrassing that you’re ashamed to reveal it even years later? Is there something in your past that still makes you cringe when you think about it? True, they say people are basically the same everywhere, but you just may hit the reset button after you hear three true stories from young Latin ladies who reveal their own embarrassing and shameful stories(no names please)
 
-Expats looking to start businesses really do find the strangest niches to fill. Today you’ll hear about a veryunique two man operation…an expat and his Latin partner who travel all over Latin America, work about a one week per month in a very fun, low-tech business and make between $3000 and $6000 per day!
 
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and to get in on the early-bird specials) send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will likely take place in the second week of July, 2015. 
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
 
 
 
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March 13, 2015  
-With a whole lotta spamming, scamming and hacking of websites going on; today we discuss an email from an upset listener who complains that he does not like giving up his email address and dats when required by certain sites … for fear of landing on some list of suspicious of trouble makers and agitators himself. Yes, that could be a problem. But not to worry- there are some easy and deviously fun solutions to most any common web security worries, and today we tell you how smart Expats deal with those issues  
 
-How would you go about finding a job in South America… in your specific career- if you happen to be a recent stateside university graduate- and were lucky enough to have a double major… with one being Spanish? That’s the email question posed by a recent college graduate.
 
-And now excerpts from a surprising interview with the new Colombian miss universe. She shows she has a brain -while discussing the debilitating effects of the institutionalized macho society along with her country’s female obsession with plastic surgery        
 
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and to get in on the early-bird discount) send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will likely take place in the second week of July, 2015. 
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
 
 
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March 8, 2015  
-The strange relationship between dogs and coconuts
 
-Cockroach, “La Cucaracha” home invasions revisited. A new, expat gringa’s cautionary tale of her personal arthropodic woes
 
-Meanwhile one of our Expat Wisdom seminar alumni explains the new e-book he has written regarding his extensive “boots on the ground” experience and investigation of Spanish schools, Spanish tutors and Immersion families. Looks like it could be required reading for expat wannabees/ gonnabees with the idea of learning or improving their Spanish while in Central America 
 
-There happens to be an outrageously successful Latin American TV series and mega-hit movie out of Colombia(in Spanish of course) totally unknown to people up in the first-world- though down here it has become a guilty pleasure for many, many expats both male and female. The title, “Sin tetas, no hay paradise.” English translation: “Without tits, there is no paradise.”
With a name like that, is there any wonder in Colombia, and in most other Latin countries, it’s the most watched program of all time? Then what’s it about? well its a stark, sad, true story of neighborhood narcos and the poor girls in the barrio who will do anything for plastic surgery. Definitely not a comedy…             
 
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and to get in on the early-bird discount) send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will likely take place in the second week of July, 2015. 
     
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
 
 
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March 6, 2015  
-Some words about the recent hacking issues at PRN and the mega-spam issues at my ExpatWisdom.com website 

-How does the Latin news media report first-world breaking news events?  Do they have their own roving reporters on the spot in Cleveland and Atlanta out to get the Latin angle? Not likely. Yes, there are Latin foreign correspondents in the states but only concentrated in American cities with huge Latin populations like New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. And note that 99% of the time they’re out covering purely Latin social events and entertainment fluff (sound familiar?) So any first-world hard news that appears in the Latin American papers, internet and TV media is generally a translated English version from the usual whitewashed sources like the AP, Reuters, BBC and CNN news wires. 

-What do 99% of all successful Latin American media, TV and music media personalities have in common? Though 99% are total unknowns to the English speaking US, when a flamboyant Latin type finally makes it big “down Mexico way”, the usual pattern is to hit the first world and tour the Latin barrios of the biggest cities in the USA. There they can make a lot of dough off the ready-made big, local, homesick audience. Then the Latin celeb applies for a green card, and buys a house in a wealthy area of Miami. So that’s the “real life” and Latin “soap opera” or “tele-novela” definition of success. What’s yours?  
 
-PT Marco’s email tells of new draconian freedom-limiting laws for travelling Canadians and how where he lives in Mexico (with all of its flaws) is still a great alternative to the Canadian Big Brother state.                    
 
-LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending the next, week-long, Latin American Expat Wisdom seminar (and get in on the early-bird discount) send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. The next adventure will likely take place in the second week of July, 2015.  
    
-SCHEDULING A PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT WITH JOHNNYFollow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to sort your plans, thoughts and ideas on living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America.
 
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March 1, 2015  

The Blasted news with Meria

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February 27, 2015  
-Some people speak of Puerto Rico as a Latin American country even though it’s a USA commonwealth. Unfortunately it’s so corrupt and badly run, and therefore broke and bankrupt, that political hacks are now threatening to drastically downsize government and services- if they don’t lay their hands on some ready cash. The right answer of course is to let the government ass-wipes go down with the ship… they’re all fat, thieving, dead-weight slugs, so why not fire them all! Yes, in a perfect world that would happen. But it won’t. The World Bank and/or some fool first-world bailouts will certainly be come to the rescue. What a shame... 
 
-Some thoughts on those very crazy and chaotic "alternate day" transit regulations regarding driving cars in and around heavily polluted Mexico City. Note that the drive, no-drive, day rules are complicated: there are even different rules for cars with Mexican plates versus cars with foreign plates. But its worse than that…  
 
-When off the gringo tourist trail, unless you are a loner or an unsociable jerk, it’s a given that you will get invited to various middle-class Latin parties and events. Be aware that often times what seems very normal to your Latin hosts will seem very strange and perhaps unnerving to you… so go with the flow and get used to it!     
 
-It’s sometimes best to remain silent when spotting clueless gringos and foreigners doing stupid things: like drinking tap water, eating street food or swimming in polluted waters  
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February 22, 2015  
-Expat Eddie rides again: today he tells another “It can only happen in Latin America” story- how he was recently shot by the security guard at his own restaurant … one of Eddie’s own employees!  
 
-An upscale fashionable Colombian insider, a so-called “guy in the know” tells a strange tale of how and why that country’s fashion industry has split into two separate, and decidedly unequal, classes… and how both factions pretty much despise each other.
 
-From the “you’re never a hero in your own home town” department:
This one takes the cake!… did you know that in Medellin, Colombia they have turned the home of the world’s most notorious (and long dead) drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, into a tourist shrine? Yes, you can go there yourself and get a “Scarface” T-shirt, or sit on his $100000 Harley. Do check out Colombia’s own tasteless answer to Graceland.
 
-Loan Sharks in Latin America: Part 1
 
-A few words about the ubiquitous used clothing stores called pacas that permeate practically all of Latin America
 
SEMINAR NOTICE: If you’re interested in attending my next week-long Expat Wisdom seminar in Latin America, to get the early bird discount, send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com or johnny@expatwisdom.com. If there is enough interest, the next one will likely take place in July of 2015.       
 
-Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
 
 
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