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

February 28, 2014  
-Some news about the obesity and diabetic explosion within the Latin working classes, and how at least one forward-thinking company is trying to its educate factory workers by setting down some unique workplace rules and examples (that surely wouldn’t be legal in Cleveland).   
 
-When eating in Latin seafood or sushi restaurants, beware of fake crab meat. No matter what the waiters or the owners say, it’s a good bet if your dead crustacean is not served in the shell its not real at all but more likely the disgusting processed stuff made of hydrolyzed protean soaked in red dye (shades of Red Lobster).
 
-Venezuela proposes a new law that would place a five year block on the passport of any citizen found protesting against the government. Don’t think it can’t happen in Cleveland. At home the Feds could easily ram through a law like that- all in the name of “national security” of course…     
 
-Things you should know about casual dress “gringo style” and the strange traditions regarding Latin formal wear for men. For example, tuxedos.
 
-Many hundreds of Spanish words sound very nearly like their English counterparts which means you’ll instantly get a close translation even if your Spanish sucks. However more often than not, the Spanish spelling of an “English” sounding word may be so weird that it will totally blow your mind.


 

-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 21, 2014  
 
-By now long time listeners know all about the “Gringo Advantage”. They know it’s especially strong the farther one gets off the gringo tourist trail. But note that when you first get down to Latin America, sometimes when that “advantage” is alive and well and working nicely in your favor.and you don’t even know it. So today we have some examples of that phenomena.
 
-Maintaining a very low personal profile is very very difficult if not impossible when up in Hartford or Cleveland. However, you’d be amazed how easily it can be done here in Latin America. Now though it may seem ironic, in many cases the “gringo advantage” can actually help one keep a low profile!  
 
-A few things you should know about Latin ATM machines, Part 1.  
 
-RFID chips are now starting to appear on the latest Latin government ID documents: such as licenses and passports. But not to worry, as usual, Latin bureaucracies are missing some of the key pieces in the technology department. No surprise here. Guess what? So far, none of the RFID chips we have studies can actually be machine read or scanned.   
 -New, fresh gringos and expats can get bouts of loneliness,especially if they don't know any Spanish. One way to handily conquer that feeling and make quick, long-lasting friendships is just get a cheap ($50) guitar. And if you have absolutely no talent or rhythm at all... just buy a blues harmonica in the key of “F” ( 25 bucks). And no kidding, in one hour you will be able to make some pretty nice sounds.
 
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 16, 2014  
- Today, another expat story proving that when you’re off the tourist trail the “gringo advantage” rides again!
 
- Why you might not want to become an expat in Brazil: reasons #8646 through #8679.
 
-If you decide to move to one of the handful of Latin countries that are not much recommended for expats, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some choice little paradises in those countries still left to discover. Do search them out with “boots on the ground” since you won’t discover much about these little gems on the internet…. which is actually a good sign you know. Little or no web PR is what helps make great off-the-radar destinations for expats. If that’s your goal, here are some general guidelines to help you on that search.
 
-With Colombia getting recent high marks from the first-world travel press like the AARP, International Living and a host of retirement newsletters, its no surprise that it didn't take more than a few short years for the top big Colombian cities like Cartagena, Cali, Bogota, Medellin to become first world expensive…. that is, if you want to live in a nice neighborhood. So if Colombia’s become first-world expensive, why go there? Well maybe because its beautiful, the people are educated, the weather’s perfect and there is no Big Brother, or even a hint of oppressive government. 
 
-We talk a lot about the so called ‘gringo advantage” but what about first-world Europeans? Do they have a kind of similar ‘European advantage” when in Latin America? You’ll be surprised to know that Latins themselves have very strong opinions- negative and positive stereotypes- regarding different European ethnic groups. So depending on the European country of origin, some folks have more of an advantage than others(socially speaking at lest).               

-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 14, 2014  

-What every potential expat must know about the art and science of parking a car in Latin America:

-If you have a nice late model car or have any kind of items or packages in your car, parking lots and on-street parking can be unsafe. But of course we must all go shopping and occasionally drive here and there... sometimes loaded down with computers, boxes packages and other valuable stuff. So then, what parking options and precautionary measures should one take to secure and protect items left behind when leaving a car in a public lot or on the street?

-In Latin America private security guys armed with shotguns seem to be everywhere. Scary stuff, right? Well not quite. But its true that its quite unnerving for new expats when they see uniformed armed guards with shotguns riding along in Pepsi and water trucks.

-Did you know that if you have car insurance in Latin America and are unlucky enough to get into multiple accidents, your premiums will not go up. And surprisingly enough, companies will not drop or threaten to drop a client as long as the premiums are paid … no matter how stupidly one drives. I personally know some very, very bad drivers… and even they have not tested the patience, or limits, of their car insurance companies yet.

-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 9, 2014  

-Part 2 of what to expect (and what you should do) if you’re pulled over by the cops or the transit police. Note that Latin cops are generally calm and non-confrontational. All in all, when dealing with Latin cops you’ll find it’s a totally different and usually a much more relaxed and friendly experience than what you might be used to when dealing with our more edgy and confrontational cops up north. But also note that all bets are off when dealing with Mexican cops!

 
-Want to know what happens if a gringo or expat gets nailed in Latin America on a DUI charge?
 
-Parking games in Latin America: The unwritten rules of neighborhood on-street parking (i.e., how to get your gringo advantage clipped).
 
-A discussion of speed limits, driving regulations,vehicle safety, and many other over-optimistic Latin fantasies.
 
-Do Latin cops eat Latin doughnuts?
 
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 7, 2014  
Divorce Latin Style: in macho societies like Latin America, divorces are on a steady upswing but still much rarer than in the first-world. For one thing, its not a litigious society, and secondly the majority of people stuck in bad marriages are too poor to pay a lawyer and can’t skip work for court appearances. But most of all, divorce rates are low because women nearly always get screwed out of the assets (if any) in the process. The lady ends up with the kids, he gets his freedom and any assets he may have tucked away in the prelude to the divorce proceedings…and gets way with it. With Latin American divorces the man is almost always the winner. Even if saddled with child support or alimony, the majority of guys become fast deadbeats since there is little enforcement in that department either.
 
-What do you know about the so-called National Police (Policia National Civil) and the other uniformed guys and gals: the Transit cops (Policia Transito)? Here’s a good primer on a subject that is certain to surprise you.   
 
-The more time you spend in Latin America the more chance you have to get pulled over at a road block by one type of cop division or other. Its inevitably going to happen so you might as well be ready for it. So what’s that all about, will they violate your rights(do they even know you have rights?). What's the best way for a gringo or expat to deal with it? Get ready for more surprises..
 
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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February 2, 2014  
-Latins have discovered Facebook, Twitter and social networking in a big way and they’re becoming addicted just like so many US folks have. Copying the bad example of privacy-ignorant first-worlder's, Latins are freely giving up all their personal data etc., to anyone, or any pop-up window that asks for personal info. They’re making all of the same mistakes first-world people make, even more so. It’s that “lag time” effect again multiplied by the strong desire to be “gringo wanabees” that's driving the Facebook craze… 

 
-Most middle and lower-class Latin bathrooms are genuinely disgusting, and to put it kindly... quite scary. Expats really need a few Latin restroom / bathroom tips to keep a sane mind. Be sure to listen to this rant if you want to avoid unspeakable colonic grief and anxiety.
 
-Internet access with smartphones in Latin America and almost everything else you wanted to know about prepaid (non-contract) cell phones and service plans south of the boarder.
 
-The inside track on using your Latin lawyer, and what to expect when both on and off the gringo tourist trail
 
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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