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

January 27, 2013  
-The state of the Latin car insurance industry and some novel car theft prevention ideas for both the first and the third world
-What if your car gets the “boot” somewhere on the streets of Latin America? Yup, they have the Denver Boot down here too, but they’re called “Cepos”. Here’s what you need to know and do if one gets slapped on your vehicle.
-Can persnickety first world expat wanabees come down to Latin America and feel comfortable knowing the sanitary standards are not nearly as strict as back in Cleveland? Will clean freak expats be forced to live in a bubble while they gag at everything they see? Well here’s the scoop on that…
-If you have a maid, cleaning lady, or own a restaurant, disco or bar you will want your help to have taken a course in basic hygiene and food handling. There is actually a short 3-4 hr food hygiene course offered by most Latin governments. Attendees who sit through it get a nice diploma that says, “Certificado de Manipulacion”. (Latins are nuts about framed diplomas and awards). But there is a slight problem.. if one has 20 or 25 bucks, he can skip the course and buy a diploma on the gray market. Luckily, about 80% of people who need diplomas actually take the course since they don’t have the dough to buy one outright. But do they really learn anything at one short, government sponsored hygiene course? Here’s the real story...
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 25, 2013  
-A report on the most recent Expat Wisdom Seminar (off the tourist trail) in Latin America that ended just a few days ago.
-Describing an adventure way off the tourist trail, where gringos fear to tread… except for, naturally, our somewhat fearless EXPAT WISDOM seminar gang (with me in the lead).
-Funny how our own Expat Wisdom seminar guys and gals had a virtual explosion of business ideas ideas… and all that after only about three days in the field!  How’d that happen? Are they business prodigies? Well, not exactly….they were all very smart folks to be sure, but it took “boots on the ground” to get the real picture and start those entrepreneurial juices flowing.
And the moral here?.. those great ideas you get up in Cleveland that you think might transfer here, er…should probably stay back in Cleveland, bub.
-And now for a way over-the-top expat success story that beats em all………..
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 20, 2013  
-What you need to know about electronics and appliance repair. Are USA warranties honored in LA? If not, how do you get service and parts for an ”off brand” you might bring down. What about warranties on appliances purchased down here?
Here’s some advice that can save you a ton of money!
-Are you the handyman type? Do you fix things around the house and try your hand at plumbing, wiring and general repair just to cheat the plumber or electrician out of his 70 bucks an hour before he gets it out of you? Well, down here you don’t have to cheat anyone out of anything. Everyone’s happy and here’s why….
- Can those scruffy, disorganized “hole in the wall” mom and pop TV and appliance repair shops really repair high-tech stuff like smart phones, LCD TV’s, computers and video game platforms, etc? And can you really trust leaving your $2000 sixty-inch Sony 3-D with the dust the rooster, the dirty laundry and the dog poo?
-Saving energy with skylights, and tips you need to know when building or remodeling a house or apartment
-Know that there’s a chronic shortage of electrical outlets in almost all Latin homes so be prepared. Here are some tips on how you can upgrade your electrical service without having a dust disaster(remember the walls are cement block and concrete, and any modifications will cause huge amounts of dust and mess)
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 18, 2013  
-Part 5, the last installment of Johnny’s essential “cheap and dirty” travel kit. More descriptions of useful items I carry when traveling and/or exploring as well as additional travel tips for your safety and security:
-Kitchen utensils; a few you want to bring and which ones to leave back in Cleveland.
- Using decoy wallets, cellphones, fanny packs, computers and credit cards; your best defense against common crooks in crowded places
-How pairs of stealthy pickpockets and common thieves operate in public places and spaces
-We don’t recommend you ride chicken buses, but what about the much better looking public METRO transportation systems (with nice Mercedes Benz buses) you find most of the larger Latin cites these days? Well, neither are recommended -unless you are poor lower or middle class working stiff and don't have a car. Here’s why!
-Those pocket translator devices have come a long, long way since their big, bulky and hulky days. With one of the latest little devices even language challenged dummies (like I used to be) can get a thing or two across to the locals in no time - and vice versa. So, should you dish out 250 bucks or more and get one? I say no, no, no, and here’s why….
-Every year Latin America tops the charts for world class coffee. What’s $30 to $50 a pound at your Cleveland Starbucks goes for five bucks a pound here. So why not indulge? Here are some tips on how you too can enjoy world-class coffee on the cheap
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 13, 2013  
-Part 4 of Johnny’s essential cheap and dirty travel kit. More descriptions of useful items I carry when traveling and/or exploring as well as additional travel tips for your safety and security:
-Bungee cord tricks… which types are adequate, and why you need to carry two of them.
-Dental floss is not just for your teeth. And don’t worry about losing it or having to share yours.. not likely in Latin America!
Like one Latin dentist says, “down here only dentists and gays use it.” (its one of the more unfortunate “lag time” effects)
-Get a cheap and tiny mp3 player (and here’s what I have loaded in mine)
-Latin music: its everywhere of course. Down here music in general is much more a part of life than it is in the lives of people up in Cleveland(even though they have the rock and Roll hall of fame!) But what do expats really think of Latin Music? Do they understand it, do they even like it? Well here’s what we think of the subject…
-If you come down to Latin America expecting a plethora of memorable songs like La BombaTequila or The Girl from Ipanema, blasting from every speaker on the street…, and bossa nova songs from Sergio Mendez packing the juke boxes (yup, they still have those here) you’ll be greatly disappointed. Oh, there’s plenty of music blasting day and night and at first its ok, but soon it gets old and boring pretty fast. The truth is, no expat I’ve ever met actually is enamored with the Latin music scene!
-Raincoats, umbrellas or modified garbage bags? Here’s the scoop on how smart expats stay dry in the rainy season. Here’s what to take along in your travel kit…
-A sunscreen primer: some tricks on what to use and carry
-Napkins and moist towel wipes; don’t leave home without em’
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 11, 2013  
-Part 3 of my essential travel kit. More descriptions of some useful items I carry whenever traveling and/or exploring as well as additional travel tips for your safety and security.
-The facts and myths about thefts from hotel rooms. What are some of the unspoken differences between one two, three and four star hotels (besides price, noise, bedding, dustbunnies and the thickness of the shower scum)?
-A discussion about general hotel and room security and the basic measures you should take whether in or out of your room
-How to add a very neat extra portable lock to your hotel room door… a lock that’s a fantastic deterrent to intruders and something that only you or someone you are traveling with knows how to remove.
-How about a tiny little all purpose sonic alarm that has 101 uses? Here’s the poop on the one I carry when traveling.
-The care and feeding of your original and certified ID documents like your passport and drivers license. In a foreign country you’re supposed to carry them on you at all times, right? WRONG!
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 6, 2013  
-Part 2 of my basic travel kit. Describing more of the useful items I carry whenever traveling and/or exploring.
-Tips on how you too can remain safe, secure and comfortable no matter where you stay or whatever means you use to get there
-A bit about those famous Swiss Army knives; the clones, the competition and the knockoffs. Which one(s) should you carry… do you need one at all?
-Latin insects are big, tough and love pale gringos- especially backpackers. What kind of repellent should you carry and apply to protect your own tender bits?
-The real story on those wall-safes and secure metal boxes you often find hidden in the closets of mid to high-end hotel rooms. Should you use them? Are they really safe and secure? What are your options when there is no such box?
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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January 4, 2013  
Ever since I started The Expat Files I’ve been getting emails from folks asking me to describe all of the little gadgets and items that I carry around with me when I go travelling and exploring. People also want to know the costs and where to find the stuff I recommend and use myself. Well, I do have a long list of small but important stuff that makes my life on the road easy, safe and carefree. So, in the next couple of shows I’ll be going through my list.
-What will it cost to run out and buy all the stuff I recommend and actually use myself? Probably around $200, but you’ll have to do hell of a lot of searching and digging around on the internet to find it all first- and you still might come up short.
So to make it easy on everyone, pretty soon I’ll be putting together a travel kit available on ExpatWisdom.com so do check it. Stay tuned and I'll announce when its ready. And it will be an exact copy of the principle stuff I use all of the time.Don’t forget, partly because of the stuff and methods I use, I haven’t been robbed, assalted or bothered one bit in over 15 years! (and no, I don’t pack a gun, baseball bat, Nunchuks or any conventional weapons)
-More about carrying a gold coin as an emergency measure: the where, how, why, and the basic details on the coin you should have stashed on you at all times.
-What about when you’re on the beach or at a pool (well away from your hotel or house) and you want to hit the surf? How can you possibly secure your passport, camera and other valuables? Well you can and its easy.
-Some very good tips on how to correctly (and comfortably) conceal money, ID's and other things on your person
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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