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

June 29, 2011  

- When First World “do gooder” donations go bad,… And why that “feel good” effect doesn’t feel so good after a while.

- Autism in Latin America. What’s autism? 99% of Latinos have never heard of it, there’s no statistics on it, Latin governments don’t want to hear about it, and why its way off the radar.

- For our disabled Expat wannabes; could living down here be a good, inexpensive option for you and your hi-tech wheelchair? Could be, and you’ll be surprised at the how and why.

- Coping with serious medical conditions and disabilities like diabetes and kidney dialysis. What about physical therapy and long term care? Are Latin health care providers up to it?

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June 27, 2011  

- What you should do when in the process of getting robbed, and the truth about trafficking in stolen ID documents (yours!).

- How to secret away a second(and very secure)set of ID documents, in case yours get lost or stolen.

- Why I don’t recommend living in Brazil (though everyone else who’s NEVER been there does).

- Personal car and rental car tips; how to keep your vehicle from getting stolen (which is guaranteed to ruin your vacation and cost you dearly, even though you’re insured, or you think you are).

- Secret places in your car where you can hide your valuables (and when, where and why it’s sometimes recommended you do just that).

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June 22, 2011  

- More on hospital, medical costs and health insurance.

- How extreme levels of Christianity (and Christian hypocrisy) fuel the Latin population bomb.

- The unrelenting pressure to have kids (and other facts of life) if you ever end up marrying a Latin.

- If atheists and agnostics are alive and well down here, they're awful deep in the closet.

- Where area all the ambulance chasers? The state of malpractice and malpractice insurance and why doctors almost never get sued.

- Anonymous S.A. corporations in Latin America and the wonders they can do for low profile Expats.

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June 20, 2011  

- The safest, as well as the most dangerous, countries in Latin America.

- The truth about crime in Central America versus South America, and why most parts of South America are so much safer than C.A. and safer, in fact than the USA.

- When bullets fly in nice residential areas; a personal story.

- Latin America; where road rage is the rule.

- Robbed at gunpoint at Burger King; another personal Latin American Wild West story.

- Expat tips on keeping a low profile.

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June 15, 2011  

- A widespread growing problem; changing and using US paper money.

- Shopping tips on how to beat the dollar vs local currency exchange rate.

- The truth about counterfeit bills (both US dollars and the local currencies).

- Expats and vacationers; you can leave all your $50’s and $100’s back in Cleveland since most banks and retail shops that do take dollars are now accepting only 20 dollar bills (and only when in excellent condition by the way).

- Tips on how Expats can beat the next big leg down in the continuing saga of the worldwide financial crisis, and why you shouldn’t believe all that “economic miracle” hype about Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

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June 13, 2011  

- The low low cost of (nearly 1st World) medical care and some typical medical procedure costs.

- Latin HMO private medical insurance plans- vs - going raw. And why for some Expats, going raw is NOT such a bad gamble.

- National health care 3rd World style. It’s everywhere down here, nothing to brag about, downright dangerous and positively medieval.

- Why your pre-existing medical conditions aren’t automatic health insurance disqualifiers.

- What you don’t know about street food and the venders who sell it (or, how to ruin a nice vacation in one delicious bite).

- Expat tip for the day; Try to read a Spanish language newspaper (at least slog through the headlines).

- Question: what’s the fastest way for an Expat to get to know the locals?

- Answer: Quit hanging around with other Expats!

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June 8, 2011  

- How high gas prices and the financial crisis are affecting wealthy Latins- the shame of it all! They’re actually being reduced to laying off bodyguards (how demeaning)

- The early warning signs of a great shopping mall and retail crash.

- Who owns a disproportionate number of retail businesses and sweatshops? You’ll never guess (hint, if you speak a Chinese dialect or Korean, you can write your own ticket down here).

- How to make an honest to goodness 1st World salary working for someone else (but it ain’t easy). A word about those high-paying executive and hi-tech 3rd World jobs listed in the back of the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, etc.

- Poor but fat; a sad Latin American irony. Probably the two worst 1st World exports to LA - obesity and diabetes.

- Why mayonnaise is the national Latin salsa, and margarine the national spread. Very unhealthy, yet they slather them on practically everything (like Americans and their ketchup).

- How and why the Latins switched from healthy natural coconut oil to cheap (and unhealthy) refined palm and corn oil (and now down here everything is infused with it).

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June 6, 2011  

- How cell phone companies slyly rip you off on practically every call you make, and nobody cares (or notices).

- Trickle down class action 3rd World lawsuits via 1st World lawyers and how they happen.

- Phone wars; the proliferation of mind-numbing phone ringback songs Expats have to put up with (another bad 1st World habit that took wings down here).

- Who would actually withdraw only $5 (or pesos) from an ATM machine? Why, Latins of course, they do it all the time!

- Flex fuel, flex fuel vehicles, and explosive rear-end collisions.

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June 1, 2011