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

December 21, 2014  
-Art and Artists in Latin America: there is so much very, very good (and very crap) art in Latin America. But did you know that almost no Latin artists- even the best ones- make what you’d might call a standard first-world style middle-class living at it? The Latin visual artists you occasionally see in the media, ones who have frequent gallery shows: those artists you might normally consider successful (meaning that don’t live at home with mommy anymore) usually owe their popularity and success to the patronage of first-world gringos and tourists…. 

-The sad, desperate state of public libraries in Latin America: they’re on par with everything else the public gets when lazy, corrupt Latin governments are in charge…

-Here’s a commentary on the state of women’s rights and the feminist movement in macho Latin America- including stark quotes from the most widely read Latin female author. She writes realistic, gritty novels about Latin women and highlights certain things Latin men don’t want to discuss… much less read about.

-The art of telling lies in Latin America, and how people call each other out on falsehoods in the Spanish culture.

-There are hundreds “Call Center” jobs off the tourist trail in Latin America. These big companies will hire just about any real gringo that walks through the door. Here’s a story about one fresh expat gringos who walked right in, got a job almost instantly and in 4-6 months became a “trainer” (basically a proper English teacher for the tele-grunts) for double the money he started with …

-Expat Eddie is in a tough spot again… this time it’s because he’s always been a soft touch for a hard luck story. Even when he was broke he’d give a bum the shirt off his back. But down here in Latin America that kind of generosity can sometimes have the parasites crawling out of the woodwork…            

 What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -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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December 19, 2014  
-In Latin America, cell phones are not only communication devices they’re also heavily associated with personal self-esteem and social status. Today you’ll hear what long time (Spanish speaking) expats have observed about cell phones and their fellow Latins who own them… 

-Explaining the conundrum of extraordinarily high levels of happiness in Latin America: There are a lot of theories, and I have a few of my own, but I recently heard the best explanation of the Latin high-happiness factor so far. It came from a long term gringo (ex-backpacker) who has been teaching English for many years at a high-end Latin “helicopter” schools. He’s seen the high-happiness factor face to face just about all Latin socioeconomic classes: but surprisingly, he says such high happiness rarely exists in the wealthy gringo wannabee classes! Does that ring a few bells? 

-As with everything else first-world, after a bit of “lag-time effect” Facebook has now become all the rage in Latin America. Now unfortunately, as with all social media, Latins are even more clueless than gringos. They’re quite willingly give up pretty much their entire life story, photos, and all their excruciatingly mundane details on practically any website they visit. That said, it’s no surprise that sites like FB are presently being used by numerous bad guys and no-good-nicks in order to sift out the whereabouts of wealthier Latin kids for extortion schemes, kidnapping and worse. And as you might expect, following on the heels of lame US gringo parenting examples, wealthier Latin parents continue to remain clueless about what’s really going on in their entitled kids’ lives. So what else is new?    
       
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.
 -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.
Listen Now:


December 15, 2014  
-The trials and tribulations of driving your car through Latin America:
1.      What’s it really like driving a car through Latin America?
2.      How are you treated on the road and at country borders if your Spanish sucks? What about if you speak decent Spanish?
3.      Will the cops and govt. border crossing slugs mess with you or try to hit you up for bribes?
4.      How is it going through those Latin country borders with your own car?
5.      What’s it like to drive on the famous “Pan-American Highway? You might remember from 7th grade geography that (if you have the cojones to chance the trip) it’s about a three or four day straight shot by car from Alaska to the southern tip of Panama.
6.      What’s the deal with all the rockslides, the pointless road blocks and checkpoints, vehicle fumigations, inspections and fruit/vegetable confiscation points and general delays?  

-       Belize is basically the only Latin American country where all people speak English. But is that a good enough reason to Expat there? Certainly not. For one thing, since they import everything (except certain foods) its first world expensive, not to mention it can be unbearably hot, electricity bills are very heavy and the list of negatives goes on and on….         
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.
 -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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December 12, 2014  
-Looking at a map you’ll see that Colombia and Panama are ostensibly friendly, adjacent, neighboring countries. But did you know that the majority of Panamanian women have an active distrust, even hatred, for Colombian women? Now, a female Panama resident might never admit that fact to you, a gringo, but it’s a well-known and touchy phenomenon within Panama society. Here’s why...
 
-By popular demand: a few words for those who think they’ve found (or are searching for) the Colombian or Venezuelan girl of their dreams on one of those Latin mating and dating websites. There are lot of slick sites that are strictly aiming at lonely-heart gringo males. Talk about minefields…   

-Today the general Latin sense of humor once again comes into play as this time a Latin immigrant to the states (a legal immigrant for a change) tells his story. This guy, good English skills (at about 80%), tells of his own missteps along the way trying to get the “American” sense of humor. As hard as he tried, for the first year or so he just could not understand why gringos laughed at things Latins simply did not find funny at all.    

-And now, for all of you caffeine freaks, a few words about the some of the world’s best coffee. It took me years to find the very best at the source but it paid off. I have stumbled into some of the world’s best little coffee plantations, many just little rustic mom and pop operations of a few acres. Some are still using 50 year old, mechanical, hand-operated equipment that can only turn out a few pounds a day! Nope folks, I don’t fool around when it comes to coffee. I get unbeatable world-class stuff direct from the plantation for around $4 a pound. Are you jealous yet? Talk about a boutique coffee, expat internet business opportunity!
FYI: In Latin America, all of the best coffee grows in the altiplano at around 4000 to 6000 feet.
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -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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December 7, 2014  
-Is it possible to use credit and debit cards anonymously in Latin America?
In the USA your bank’s credit card transaction department knows the purchases you’ve made, what you’ve spent and places you’ve been… that info is all openly available to US Big Brother alphabet agencies and more. But you knew that, right? But did you know that having a Visa or MC card issued from strictly a Latin bank will prevent that nasty, intrusive eventuality? And there’s yet another way to stay under the credit card tracking radar too…
 
-Today we have an excerpt from the autobiography of one of the most famous Latin men ever to immigrate to the USA. As you will see, he curtly explains the extent of the extreme upper-middle class macho society he came from with his own revealing family stories. That said, can you guess the name of this very famous Latin guy? 
 
-A much closer look at the tragic story of the Honduran beauty queen who was gunned down along with her sister after a night at the disco in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Here’s what the media is not telling you…
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -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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December 5, 2014  
-A stateside university educator chimes with an email concerning how he personally has seen the tragedies and failures of the first-world school system at the graduate level, and how it has also failed Latin immigrants too. 

-In Latin America, as opposed to in the US, you won’t see parents fawning over their kids “supposed” extraordinary talents. On Latin America Facebook you won’t see little 6th grade finger-paintings posted all over the place with parental references to their kid geniuses. Here, thankfully, kids are NOT seen as little prodigies to be petted and praised every time they tie their shoes correctly(not yet anyway).

-How is it that so many Latin men cheat and get away with it, over and over again? How is it they nearly always get a pass even when caught red handed at the local strip club? Would you believe Latin men unfairly defend the practice by blaming the “gringo” male strip-club culture?

-You hear a lot about crime and shootouts in Latin America. But when politicians kill each other (for revenge or to thin out contenders for the gravy train) no-one, gringos included, is too upset. Same thing goes when narcos kill narcos...  

-The Latin addiction to cellphones has reached unprecedented levels especially now that all cell companies offer very, very cheap ($5 to $6 per month) unlimited “family and friends” 24/7 talk packages. These days middle and lower middle class Latins have their phones glued to their heads day and night. Sound familiar? And of course no one down here has ever even heard of EMR brain damage… 
  
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -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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November 30, 2014  
-Of all the strange email questions that land in the in-box (besides the crazy ones about Latins and their sex habits), the weirdest and most unsettling questions I get from time to time are the ones asking me if I’ve ever run into a Nazi war criminal or even the children of said notorious 3rd Reich bad guys. At first the idea might sound like a whacky impossibility since by now 99.9% have died from old age. But not so fast! After you hear the first-hand stories presented today you won’t think it such a nutty proposition after all. If you have doubts what you are about to hear, remember that Hollywood makes billions on movies that aren’t half as interesting…. or believable.    

What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -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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November 28, 2014  
-Today we’ll hear from one of my recent Expat Wisdom Seminar attendees who shares with us news of his new quote for health Insurance through the “Obummer-Care” plan. In his case the premium went from $460 a month to $1,336.00 per month, an instant, painful near 300% increase. To which our e-mailer says “WTF man, get me outta here!” He also says that when he waves goodbye to the “Obama-nation” he’s sure going to miss his $500 a month car insurance, the $1,200 a year car registration, his $5,000 a month property taxes, etc., etc., etc., but he’ll probably get over it…. in about two minutes.

-Some tips on buying used cars, used furniture, antiques and collectables

-The longer you’re down in Latin America, the more you’re likely to run into the occasional… nearly gringo-likeEnglish speaking Latin person(s): some of these types having obvious first-world gained talents. Many of these guys (most are guys) have only a slight accent, suggesting they’ve lived up in the states for many, many years. So, today we have the story of such a guy who just two months ago actually worked as a computer tech at an authorized Apple store in Miami, having worked there 5 years before being caught and deported. The amazing thing is that this particular 28 year old guy had lived in the states as an illegal for 20 years, and now he feels like an alien in his own country. This guy with first-world skills manners, says he doesn’t fit in this strange Latin place that he barely remembers and hasn’t seen since he was 8 years old… 

What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -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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November 23, 2014  
-Another first-world copy-cat craze that’s hitting Latin America is the proliferation of stand-up comics, open-mike amateur nights and comedy clubs. Yup, the Latin “lag time effect” rides again and the comedy club phenomenon has in no way peaked here yet … as it had done some years go back in the states. Even so, creativity is not on the menu here. And if you speak decent Spanish and you catch one of these guys you might pick up on the fact that you’ve heard certain bits somewhere before- in English. Now if some think that signals a business or career opportunity… maybe so, but check this out first…

-Some thoughts on the state of university education in Latin America and some speculation as to why Latin engineers and scientific types- though very capable and knowledgeable in their own narrow fields- are substantially different in temperament and style than many of their first-world trained counterparts… much to their (not our) detriment

-The average Latin person, as a rule, may not seem as inquisitive or innately curious about life in general as the average first-world person, but note Latins, especially the middle and lower classes, certainly(by necessity) have their creative spurts…
-How the “lag time effect” and persistent Latin parental fantasies about higher education undermine the future of so many of the best young Latin minds      

What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking…. 
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -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.
Listen Now:


November 21, 2014  
-Last week we discussed “gringo prices” and how to spot when you’re being singled for the dubious honor of paying more than you have to… but today’s subject can be much more costly. It involves a relatively new quasi-legal airport and immigration type of gouge (more like extortion) that seems to have sprung up from badly-interpreted tourist visa guidelines that catch gringo and expat travelers with one-way travel tickets in a costly bureaucratic net. 

-Things you should know about getting legal residency in a Latin country

-Another very disturbing development has recently come out of Argentina’s Big Brother apparatus. Tourists, visitors and Expats; get ready for a new border-control- Spanish Inquisition style shakedowns- at all Argentine airports and land boarders. And now, after seeing what’s about to happen, it’s impossible to recommend that country as a place for anything but short vacation trip. From now on you can forget about Argentina as a low profile, stress-free expat destination. Sure, you might say nearly every Latin country is run by a pack of pompous, thieving morons, but Argentina has a very large contingent of rats, bottom feeders, cannibals and jackals too.  
     
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a just measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -Do follow the consult 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, let’s talk about your situation one on one.
 
 

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