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

March 1, 2015  

The Blasted news with Meria

Listen Now:


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  
Listen Now:


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.
 
 
Listen Now:


February 20, 2015  
he descriptions for... EXPAT FILES SHOW #435-02-20-2015 (FRI):
 
-Ever wonder about living in Puerto Rico? There’s been a lot of press lately touting the place as a very good alternative for resident expats, mostly because the local tax laws allow residents to pay as little as 4% income tax as well as zero capital gains tax… and single digit corporate taxes too. That alone should make Puerto Rico a much favored expat destination, right? Well, not so fast…
 
-There are two main reasons stateside expat wannabees and gonnabees might consider Puerto Rico over other Latin American destinations; but on closer inspection, neither of these reasons seems to be all that convincing or hold much water.
 
-Speaking of water, the unprecedented drought in Brazil (mostly due to extreme deforestation) has forced the city of Sao Paulo, the most populated city in all the Americas, to ration water and worse….
 
-From the “It can only happen in Latin America department. “
A funny thing happened on the way to a big time Travel Agency and Tourism convention… 
 
-Yes, you really have to hand it to whoever it was in the Disney organization that ages ago so firmly planted the Disney obsession in the minds of the Latin population. Surely it’s one of the greatest marketing successes of all time: the fact that every Latin feels the need to have a Disney wardrobe piece (or ten) and make at least one pilgrimage to Disneyland or Disney World before he dies (seriously!)                 
 
-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:


February 20, 2015  
-Middle Class Latin Party Etiquette (ignore this advice at your own risk!):
 
-When disinformation can be a very good thing: what NOT to say to friendly Latin guys and gals that you’ve just meet. -

-When stuck and somewhat forced by convention to make polite conversation with new Latin acquaintances (like at a party) its sometimes wiser to letthem do most all the talking… even if your Spanish sucks and you don’t get half of it.  
 
-If you’re down in Latin America with school-aged kids, here are some of the better educational options available in K thru 12  
 
-What really happens behind the doors of those exclusive helicopter (or bubble) schools? Today we have a few more strangely amusing stories as told by a long time gringo expat English teacher….. this stuff might very well piss you off!
 
-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:


February 13, 2015  
-This show goes out on a Friday the 13th and though Latin America is the land of superstition(on steroids), surprisingly enough the number “13” is NOT unlucky. South of the border it’s just a plain old digit.
-Why Gringos Fail: Today by popular demand, the entire remainder of the show is devoted to that red hot topic. Of course there are many varied reasons why things can go south for a gringo or gringa down here … forcing him/her to slink back to Cleveland, head bowed and tail between the legs. Failure to launch or thrive is on every fresh Expat's mind. And  aside from that oft heard and frankly wimpy “homesickness” excuse, i.e., homesick for the Krispy Kremes, homesick for the favorite bar, beer, home team, hangout or restaurant, homesick for the grandkids, or even the 50% tax bracket, homesick for the ever comforting police state (Stockholm Syndrome) or whatever- the fact is there are two general categories that a vast majority of gringo failures fall into. And nope, it’s not the obvious lack of a job or money either- that is... unless you live on the gringo tourist trail- since its cheap everywhere else and much more expensive to live up in the states.      
 -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:


February 9, 2015  
-Today we have some very rarely talked about news concerning one of the hot topics of the moment, Nicaragua- often touted by retirement rags as the next Costa Rica. Here we discuss some very disturbing news about Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega.
-Now more solid proof why Latin government leaders are corrupt, died-in-the- wool psychopaths, who, in any other chosen career or profession, would certainly end up on a prison rock pile. Come to think of it, that’s also 100% true in the first-world politics. Stateside government leaders are a bunch of ripe colostomy bags too.
-You’ve certainly heard the term “karma” and the that other glib phrase, “what goes around comes around”. Well, if you’re naive enough to believe that somehow “justice prevails”, you’ve yet to see how the Latin legal system works.
-Expats and income taxes in Latin America: 40% of working Latins are “off the books” and thus pay no income taxes at all while the rest of working Latins “on the books” pay 10% in taxes or less. Note that some Latin businessmen “on the books” pay almost no taxes either… depending on how their accountants and Lawyers arrange things. Just remember that tax evasion is a national sport in Latin America.        
            
-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:


February 9, 2015  
-Today we have a gold related boots-on-the-ground story that’s really worth a long, long look.

-Many expats and gringos pose similar questions about owning and transporting gold/precious metals. And some people who already have a stash of gold or silver in the states are questioning how to bring it to Latin America. They wonder if they should liquidate and re-purchase once they get down or try to walk or ship it across boarders themselves. 
 
-Some tricks on how to store and hide your gold from the usual suspects- your ex(es), common crooks and government thieves.

-Coin shops and pawn dealers in Latin America: yes they have them but they’re not found in every middle and lower middle class neighborhood like in the states…. and they're not much like the places you’re used to back home either.  

-Latin America, the murder capital of the world? Well, that’s what it seems like from all first world media reports. However, Latin America is not nearly as dangerous as you think. You’d know exactly what I’m talking about if you knew enough Spanish to read the local newspapers and were able to read for yourself just where all these crimes are taking place..

-Where is the next Costa Rica? Well, International Living, Yahoo news, The Huffington Post, retirement rags and more are saying its Nicaragua. So go ahead and dive right in, but be careful what you wish for. Know that Gringo tourism has contaminated Costa Rica and jaded the locals to such an extent that long time gringo expats are leaving the place in droves. Still want to jump on that Nicaragua ship? 

 -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:


February 1, 2015  
-Pirated Software Part 2: the latest on the use, abuse and massive availability of pirated software throughout Latin America. In this episode we see just how easy it is to purchase a $6 pirated version of Microsoft Office (normally $100+ for the legal, registered version) directly from a major Latin newspaper classified section yellow pages ad. Notice that if you purchase the stuff, no one will ever mention the word, “pirate”. They’ll simply refer to it as “unregistered”.  
    
-If you’re trying to re-learn or bone up on your faulty high school Spanish, be sure to install at least a few of your computer programs in Spanish, not English. At first it will be trial by fire, but very much worth it in the end.  

-Do #800 phone numbers work when calling them from Latin America? If so, are they free of charge? Well, yes and no….

-Its “buyer beware” or better yet, “buyer’s remorse” when signing contracts in Latin America. Know that there is no such thing as a“48 hour cooling off period” as opposed to certain legal transactions and contracts in the states.

-Some info for people interested in bringing a first-world franchise businesses down to Latin America

 -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:


January 30, 2015  
-If you’re trying to re-learn or bone up on your faulty high school Spanish, note that lately Netflix and some of the other video downloading and streaming services are now providing the higher quality Spanish programming from Spain with Eng/Span subtitles. It’s a very good way to see how middle and upper class Latins actually converse and quite above the kind of low street lingo that average Latin gardeners and illegals in the USA hood generally speak.
-DYK that all first-world college students who wish to become Spanish teachers in USA public schools must do at least a month immersion program with a non-English speaking Latin American family? Sounds logical, right? Well, hold onto your hat folks… because here’s a shocker you’ve never heard before!
-Now for some startling news about scorpions. Surprisingly enough, scorpion stings are the second leading cause of emergency room visits in much of Mexico(the first being gunshot wounds, naturally) … with over 250,000 people stung each year. In fact, Durango Mexico holds the world’s record. It’s ground zero for scorpion stings worldwide!
-Strangely enough, there will be times when way off the gringo tourist trail (often in the middle of nowhere) you’ll suddenly come across a bridge, park or highway named after a dead US president. Say what? Surely you’ll wonder how that happened….
-The latest skinny on the use, abuse and massive availability of pirated software throughout Latin America   
 -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:


- Older Posts »

Quantcast