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

December 30, 2011  
-Answers to some politically incorrect emails

-The real politically incorrect dirt on illegal immigrants in the USA, and why they continue to commit irritating cultural gaffs once they slip into the states

-The tragic hidden social problems that infect a huge percentage of not only the poor lower classes, but middle class Latin families too; namely endemic physical abuse, alcoholism, infidelity and incest

-Why it’s better for a man to shop at the local Latin produce market than a woman, and why a woman always gets more for her money when she brings a man along

-1st World trans-nationals and landed franchises DO NOT practice equal opportunity hiring or standard workplace policies in Latin America. Because this is the 3rd World and they don’t have to and can absolutely get away with it!

-Get em’ while they’re hot; Jesus, Mary and Joseph and mixed Nativity scene shopping bags! They’re all the rage down here during the holiday season. Even the gun shops down here hand happy customers their brand new Xmas Glocks and shotguns in religious-themed shopping bags (not to mention shopping bags from all the "Victoria's Secret" clones). Talk about mixed signals- ya gotta love it
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December 26, 2011  
A word about “Gringo prices” and “local prices” and how to get around what can often be a huge markup for 1st Worlder’s as opposed to what the locals pay (especially at tourist sites, national parks and in tourist towns). Even so, tourists rarely complain since Gringo prices seem cheap by 1st World standards.

-Some cutting observations regarding how Latins stereotype European tourists and other non-US 1st World travelers

- The Latin American love-hate relationship with Spain and with pure-blooded Spanish tourists they might encounter (most of whom put on airs, have exaggerated self-importance, and look down their noses at their 3rd World tan-skinned kissin’ cousins); even though Spain has 25% unemployment and right behind Greece and in line to be dumped by the EEU

-The telltale signs of steady progress. Or, how to know when your own kitchen Spanish shifts from being embarrassingly bad, to merely occasionally lousy, to you actually being able to somehow converse with mumbling children and drunks?

-Why you should take extraneous compliments or praise from Latin guys with a grain of salt. However, compliments made by Latin women are different. They’re much more reserved then Latin men and more likely to be sincere when dishing out the flattery ( so guys- take note when that happens)

How Latin American government tourist boards pump millions into 1st World ad campaigns, half the money gets stolen, and the other half that goes into real paid ads has practically has no effect on tourism at all
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December 23, 2011  
-How to orient your own mind geographically when discussing various Latin countries. Remembering where they respectively on the isthmus or the South American continent can be quite confusing. Well, now there’s a neat way to get them straight!
-A bit about those three oddball non-Latin countries smack dab in the middle of South America; Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana
-More on business franchises down in LA (or should we say general scarcity of franchises)
- What about US born Latins who come down as Expats? Does the legendary “Gringo Advantage” work for them too? Well, not quite……
-Fallen heroes; the unspoken re-socialization problems of illegals who get caught in the USA and deported back to their home Latin countries. What happens to them after having had a taste of North American living and those 1st World (relatively speaking) paychecks?
-When Latin men cry;
Yup, they can sure turn on the crocodile tears. And when all else fails, that’s what happens when a Latin guy gets caught in the act of cheating on his girlfriend/wife. And she often falls for it- does she have a choice? And yes folks, as you’ve probably already figured out, if a 1st World guy is anywhere in the vicinity, the “Gringo Advantage” strikes again!
-A very unusual, but definitive sign, that signals a Latin girl in love.
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December 19, 2011  

Exploring that strange dichotomy; namely, why Latin American small towns are very safe even when situated in countries not recommended by the US state department. (the famous US State department “feces” list).

The “regular” police-vs- the “tourist” police

Another expensive 1st World donation gone wrong; more of how 1st World charities and governments donate valuable stuff that ends up in the 3rd World crapper.

The real dirt on opening your very own 1st World franchise business down in LA, and what about the local Latin franchise competition?  Successful 3rd world companies often do sell franchises in LA, and even though they’re usually decidedly less than mediocre by our standards, they somehow get away with it and often make a ton of money (down here in LA of course) But when they try to penetrate the 1st World franchise market they almost never succeed except under very special circumstances.

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December 16, 2011  

-Hints on what gifts to get Latin friends or Latin family members for Christmas (or anytime) .

-If you’re an interior decorator, forget about having a decent career in LA. Bad taste is the rule; and often the more money a Latin has, the more Elvis-like his or her taste becomes (er.., sound familiar again?)

-“It’s much better to give than receive” or is it? Well it is, especially in regards to those occasionally hideous religious-themed gifts you’re bound to get from your Latin friends and acquaintances. So, what do you do when you get one?

-Of toilets and toilet seats; the delicate subject of the restroom

-The bottom line costs of setting up a small business in various countries in Latin America

-Some words regarding the least and most expensive countries to live, work, play and/or retire (or set up a business) in Latin America

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December 12, 2011  

- Christmas in LA compared to the USA: Latins are 10x as nuts about it and are 10x as broke by the New Year (comparatively speaking)

-The sad innumeracy of Latins in regards to credit, loans and credit cards (sound familiar?)

-Some very good party advice; its unwise to admit you are an agnostic or an atheist (god forbid), and never in mixed company. If you do so you’re bound to get the leper treatment from your (soon to be former) Latin friends no matter how so-called educated and liberal they think they are. So when at a party, and are asked your religion, make big brownie points and lie if say “Catholic” (then nod and wink at your Expat friends- they’ll get it). But never say ex-Catholic, or dagger eyes will fly (to most Latins, that’s like kicking the pope in the cojones).

-Loan sharking in LA; it’s legal, huge business, and the Latin public has absolutely no idea how they are getting screwed since they rarely read or even understand the loan terms (sound familiar?)

- How a LA loan shark hoodwinked Expat Eddie’s girlfriend, and of course she didn’t see it coming (none of them do)

-How Expat Eddie tried to single handedly change the rules of the new car selling racket in LA

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December 9, 2011  

-Answers to even more burning email questions;

-Advice and tips for African Americans and other 1st World Black Expat wanabees with an eye to relocating in Latin America

-How the “Gringo Advantage” works its magic in business, as well as the love and romance department, for African Americans and how it can be a double-edged sword too. And DYK that there’s a sort of “Jamaican Advantage” in certain parts of Latin America too (say what?)

-Some thoughts about having or needing an outside 1st World income like a pension or SS check

-How much money do you really need to stay and thoroughly check a place out? And how long will your 5, 10, or 20 grand stake last once you get down here?

-What businesses are good bets in LA and how to decide?

-If you’re use to working for “the man” you can certainly do it in Latin America too- but its NOT recommended. Having your own small business is the way to go!

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December 5, 2011  

-Answers to some burning email questions;

- Why it’s NOT a good time to buy Latin American real estate, not just yet anyhow; even though (when outside of the tourist haunts) properties may seem an unbelievable deal to 1st Worlder’s like you and me. Just wait!

-Some advice on buying investment property(ies) in LA as a 2nd flag escape plan (when the excrement hits the fan up in the 1st World, and don’t worry it will!)

-What’s the best way for expat wannabes to educate themselves about an LA country/city they might wish move to? (besides listening to the Expat Files and Richard Martin’s ‘Wake Up Call’)

-Some very good news about Latin American property taxes; and some bad news about how governments raid them (sound familiar)

- What if you must fire a bad employee in Latin America? It’s simply not like sacking a guy in the 1st World

-Tips on the best ways for Expat wanabees to really get a handle on real estate, neighborhoods, lifestyle and the cost of living in the Latin American country/city you have your sights on; without leaving home!

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