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

March 30, 2012  

-What if you have NO experience at all in running a small business up North and no matter what you’ve heard about the “gringo advantage” you’re still dead nervous and worried about facing the prospect of going down to Latin America and making a go of it?

-You've heard the old gringo saying "C’s get degrees". Well, no matter how useless your college degree is up in the first world, it’ll probably be even more useless down here. But don’t worry. You’ll not wait tables at Starbucks in Guatemala or Nicaragua! Remember, you have that magic “gringo advantage” going for you down here and many a first-world expat dufus ends up on top of the world, even with his worthless drama degree.

-Speaking of degrees... MBA’s and other useless first world advanced degrees are all the rage down here. Latins think MBA’s are the be all to end all- and that's another good example of the first world “lag time” effect and why we expats will seem to look like clairvoyants when that party's over.

-Latin Private schools badly want to hire gringos as English teachers. Then once a school has a few expats on staff, they become the school’s best marketing tool. That’s because the 3% of rich Latins that can afford those private school prices like nothing better than to have a "real live" first worlder’s teaching gringo ways to their darling, spoiled, entitled brats.

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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March 26, 2012  

- Latins, their “third world” inferiority complex, and the basic hygiene and cleanliness issues only us expats seem to notice (what’s up with that?)

-Why is there such a proliferation of bad taste when it comes to local Latin businesses design and basic home construction? (Maybe there really is such a thing as an international white trash fashion gene!)

-When new Latin employees are hired, many consistently arrive a few minutes late on “manana time”. That bad habit can be a big problem for expats with first world style businesses that run by the clock.

-Expat Eddie tries a cheap, dirty and well-worn employee incentive that’s better than money (only on Latin America!)

-99% of local (non-franchise) Latin businesses don’t have employee manuals (they don’t even know what they are!). By contrast, all the successful expat business owners I know have one- in English and Spanish of course. It’s all part of our gringo upbringing and an adjuct to the "gringo advantage”

-For expats with an eye to starting a business, here are a few things you should know about Latin employees, their habits and how to manage them

-What does the “gringo advantage” have to do with cars, buses, Latin ladies and green cards? You’ll be surprised!

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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March 23, 2012  

-Johnny reports on his upcoming Latin American insider’s seminar with more details about it.  For more information on the seminar send email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com and put the word “seminar” in the subject line.

-The continuing saga of Expat Eddie, and his growing aversion to surveillance cameras- and how he’s found a few ways to foil them.

-Eddie shares his pearls of wisdom in regards to expats just like him who have successful Latin American businesses and he explains some of the best and worst things about owning and doing business in Latin America

-Some thoughts on that sinking feeling first world folks often get when they see all those steel bars on windows and the razor wire down here. (The truth regarding negative first impressions)

-Many Latin businesses have a night watchman or guard. Will your new (or prospective) business need a night watchman too?

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March 16, 2012  
-A word about “part time” expats that straddle both worlds- with one foot in the US and one somewhere in Latin America

-The continuing problems gringos seem to have with Windows operating systems in Spanish, and the trouble we have with those damn Spanish keyboards too. Although ninety-nine percent of every computer bought in Latin America is sold that way, and it’s a big pain at first, trying to conquer a computer configured in Spanish does eventually help you a great deal with the language

-Some tips when you use other people’s computers in Latin America

- The truth about Latin American café internets. Although they are unbelievably cheap on an hourly basis and do come highly recommended, there are some serious caveats and some definite dos and donts when you use them.

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March 12, 2012  
SHOW #135 - Mon, Mar 12, 2012

-When “lag-time” phenomena (the thing that gives us a nice measure of our “gringo advantage” especially in business) has its unfortunate downside. We can predict that sooner or later everything bad, distasteful, trendy or faddish in the US will also eventually land down here and take root… things like diet foods, energy drinks, multiple piercings, cute tattoos and brain-dead reality shows.

-In all big Latin cities obesity is rearing its ugly head (and belly) but surprisingly, not much fat in the countryside- some disturbing news about Latin eating and dieting habits (but hey....yours probably suck too!)

-Depending on the dish, all local Latins cook with three bad types of oil- corn oil, margarine and lard. Yes I said lard! And those three artery-clogging fats are in most all bakery products too. So next time you get invited to someone’s house for dinner, don't forget to complement the cook while you wolf down that lard.

-Some basic truths about those funny Latin American currencies with all those smiling colonial conquerors and genocidal dictators on them.

-Latin Millionaires: how Latin cultures view the definition of “rich” much differently than we do up north

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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March 12, 2012  

- The real dirt on Uruguay. It’s touted by some to be the next Costa Rica (but so is every other Latin American country, including Costa Rica itself!)

-In Uruguay, be prepared for super high import taxes that often double, even triple, the price of cars, appliances and all electronic stuff (almost everything but food is imported!)

-As you go further south into Latin America the fewer English speakers you’ll find. In South America for example, the locals have little need to speak English since their countries do much less commerce with the USA than northern countries like Mexico do.

-Keen observations on both expats and locals who do business in Uruguay (the “gringo advantage” rides again!)

-Banking in Uruguay; under international pressure they’ve just eliminated their formerly very strict bank secrecy laws, which means you can forget having a low-profile life down there (if that’s what you were looking for)

-Security and safety issues in Uruguay

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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March 2, 2012  

- The real dirt on the recent prison fire in Honduras that set a new hundred-year prisoner death-toll world record

-How people can and do buy their way out of jail

-Because in a macho society crimes of passion are endemic, often times the perpetrator gets the court’s sympathy and simply walks

-How and why high level Latin politicians almost never go to jail no matter how crooked they are ( or much they steal). They just disappear for a few years, come back, and get re-elected.

-Why third world countries sign extradition treaties with the USA, but often don’t make similar treaties with other countries

-Why common Latins clamor for the death penalty while their politicians keep hammering against it

-A few examples of what can happen when Expats get busted for drugs

-Email me on questions about Latin America at theexpatfiles@gmail.com

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