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

April 27, 2014  

Many touring and long-term gringos are technically illegal aliens. That’s what gringos become if they stay beyond the 90 day tourist visa. It’s very common and generally nothing to worry about. Normally you have to pay a nominal fine at the boarder the next time you leave. It’s a dollar or so each day you run over the 90 day period, and unlike in the USA, you don’t get black marks or end up on any feces lists, etc. You are welcomed back with no problems at all. However, if you ever get stopped at one of those pesky cop roadblocks and do happen to produce your passport and the cop is smart enough to see you are over the 90 days allowed, you can be sure you will have to pony up a nice bribe, or they may just keep you on the sidelines for hours. Even though it’s out of the cop’s jurisdiction and really no big deal, the cops will make it seem serious and scare a bribe out of you. I’ve been there, I know.

-How to use your gringo advantage along with some neat tips to avoid getting stopped at police transit roadblocks

-Keeping a low profile in Latin America is one of the keys to remaining free and unbothered. A low profile allows us gringos to mingle with all classes of people as well as go anywhere- and in great measure- do and say pretty much anything (non-aggressively) we feel like without annoyance or offense. But once you lose that anonymity your life here will become vastly more complicated and stressful. Ask any gringo who has slowly let his anonymity slip away. If so, then what happens and what can you do to regain it? And is that even possible?

-My upcoming JULY, 2014 "Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 17. The agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.

-Do 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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April 25, 2014  
-Americans are always surprised at how businesses use scantily clad Latin ladies so blatantly to sell and market just about every product imaginable in Latin America. Sexy is the norm for TV newscast teams too, who generally have a drop-dead sexy lady in a skimpy skin-tight outfit doing the regular news, the sports, the weather, or all of the above. They could never get away with that stuff on stateside network TV.
 
-Check out this recent quote. It’s from a 9 year old kid who said it to his expat Grandpa after visiting him down here (recently retired in Central America), “Hey Grandpa, you know what? They have the best Walmart in the whole world here.”
What does that mean dear listeners? I dare you to guess why the kid said that. The true answer is one for the books and is actually quite perceptive!
 
-Crime in Brazil is out of control, everywhere. No one is safe… not even man-on-the-street news reporters casually covering the buildup to the upcoming World Cup Finals. The stories are scary and hard to believe, but no one can possibly make them up! Used to be that just one week a year, Carnival week, was a thieves’ delight… now the World Cup has given Brazilian thieves and bad guys a few long bonus months of fantastically easy tourist pickings.                 
 
-Expat Eddie is having problems with his Latina fiancé. It’s his fault, he’s made one of the most common and stupid of Gringo errors… little by little he overindulged a nice middle-class girl and now she’ turned into a first-world style shopaholic. I’ve seen it before… quite few Gringo’s have been in that situation. Once it happens, it’s almost impossible to reverse the tide.     
 
-My upcoming JULY, 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 17. The agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click theLatin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.
 
-Do 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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April 19, 2014  

-Ten good reasons why you should never eat tortillas… even if they smell, look and taste terrific.

-The Spanish words “rica” and “encanta” are two of the most commonly repeated words you’ll hear Latins use when expounding on the good or excellent qualities of this or that. Now of course you know that Costa Rica has the word “rica” in it… meaning “rich” coast. But “rich” as in, chocolate cake rich, not wealthy rich, is only a small part of the various intended meanings of rica. Their word for "rich" is more akin to our brain-numbing, almost meaningless, English filler words “cool” and “awesome”. That said, “rica” is one of the most heavily overused descriptive words in the Spanish vocabulary.

-Gringos can brainstorm great business ideas up in Cleveland and still miss their projected Latin target market by inches or even miles (I mean kilometers). Now here's a real-world example of why you really need “boots on the ground” to gauge the potential of any prematurely brilliant Latin business idea that might have sprouted while munching Cheetos on the sofa in the hood.

-My upcoming JULY, 2014 "Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday July 17. The agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.

-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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April 18, 2014  
-The sad tale of what happens when Latins translate and/or subtitle US and European movies: ones that were originally in English. When Latins translate bad Hollywood movies, they remain bad movies… but when good first-rate movies are translated they are always much much worse for the effort and mostly unwatchable for us gringo and Expats. And for those of us who know Spanish well, we cringe even more…     
 
-Ever wonder what the Spanish translation is for the usually derogatory “N” word? You’ll be surprised…
 
-There is one cheap ubiquitous product that Latins use daily, as both a major construction material and as a very common food source… can you guess what it is?    
 
-Spanish speaking folks are adopting English words and phrases like crazy. It’s a good thing for clueless gringos with bad Spanish but many old time Latins lament that their language is being fooled with more and more. Old timers don’t blame the gringos. They blame their own younger generation, and things beyond their control like cable TV. Though they know it’s impossible to stop the so-called “progress”.
 
-There are times when having the “gringo advantage” will truly frustrate you. If you didn’t have that innate gringo drive going for you(as the locals obviously don’t), you wouldn’t occasionally simmer in your own juices from waiting half an hour or longer in some pointless queue just to pick up 2 dollars’ worth of dry-cleaning or collect 20 cents worth of tortillas, or to question a statement or bill.
 
-My upcoming JULY, 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 17. The agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.
 
-Do 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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April 13, 2014  

I will be talking about what is going on in the real estate business in Latin America 

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April 7, 2014  
-Today we sort out some very frequently used Spanish words that sound very much like their English counterparts but often cause some confusion among fresh gringos and new expats due to the double and triple meanings  
 
-I have to laugh when new expats and fresh gringos come down and ask me for a few pointers about driving a car in Latin America. It never fails, when I tell them how crappy Latin drivers are, and that less than 5% know the rules of the road or have even taken driver’s ed… not to mention the truly wretched mechanical state of most of their cars and trucks, etc., etc. Yet some gringos still insist on giving me the line about how they themselves are such good and prudent drivers, how they never had a single accident back In Cleveland, blah, blah, blah. After hearing all that, its still a fact that no matter how careful you are, soon enough you'll get rear-ended. It’s a 100% certainty… that is, unless one rides the Chicken Bus. They still get rear-ended, but at least the gringo won’t be driving!
 
-Did you know that many Latin American beat cops and cops in cruisers were once illegal aliens up in the states not long ago? It’s a crazy irony that being a deported illegal alien (and thus branded a criminal in the states) is actually a PLUS when applying for a spot in a Latin American police academy. And here’s why…   
 
-For all of you folks who’ve had the idea to come down and make some fast, easy money teaching English at a private school or academy, it’s very easily done when you’re off the tourist trail. But you’ll be lucky to make $500 a month to start. And if you make $5 an hour working half-time at an upscale language academy, consider yourself fortunate! Now that’s all ok and livable, but not quite first-world livable. However, there are some ways you can make really good money teaching English. Here’s how…              
 
-My upcoming JULY, 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 17, so do send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com and get on the early bird list. Note that the agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.
 
-Do 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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April 4, 2014  
One of the very first English phrases Latin Americans down here learn (both on and off the tourist trail) is “don’t worry”. Even if the average local Latin only knows ten words of English, he or she will probably have that one happy feel good phrase down pat in their tiny vocabulary. But do be advised that soon enough a gringo learns the happy upbeat “don’t worry” phrase can me just the opposite. In other words…. sometimes“don’t worry” means it’s time to start worrying!        
 
-For all of you expat gonnabees and wannabees still interested in expatriating to Belize…. have you ever wondered if there was more to the story behind the saga of John MacAfee, the antivirus software mega-millionaire? Remember him? He was the guy that made international headlines by expatriating to Belize. Then after living there a year or two, he went on the run while being sought after by Belize authorities as a murder suspect. Well, it’s been a year or so now and the dust has settled, and more has come to light. The story behind what you’ve heard in the media offers some very good lessons for all expat gringos and gonnabees who are looking at places like Belize as their final destinations.   
 
-Part 3 of Antiques, Yard and Rummage sales in Latin America. What’s the Latin rummager’s protocol? Do you need to be the first one in line? Is there a line? How to find the best deals and potential hunting grounds. Yes there are tremendous opportunities digging through other people’s junk… and so many cool one of a kind items you’ll be amazed. But do skip rummaging on the gringo tourist trail... don’t waste your time. The gringos picked through that stuff years ago. 
 
-My upcoming JULY, 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is set to go so. The dates will be Saturday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 17, so do send an email to theexpatfiles@gmail.com and get on the early bird list. Note that the agenda and complete signup details are on the www.ExpatWisdom.com website main page. Just click the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the main page and check it out.
 
-Do 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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