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

September 27, 2015  
Announcing Johnny’s January 2016  LATIN AMERICAN “Boots on the ground”  SEMINAR:
My next Latin American seminar will start Saturday January 9th and end Thursday January 14th.  Please send all seminar inquiries to me attheexpatfiles@gmail.com . Put the words “LATIN SEMINAR” in the subject line and I'll send you complete details and how you can get in on the early bird discounts.  

-More on the sensitive and controversial subject of bringing your young kids down to Latin America to live. 

-Some amazing private “helicopter school” stories direct from the expat gringo teacher’s mouth … along with some advice for gringos whose kids may soon be enrolling in such places 

-It can only happen in Latin America: tips, tales and crazy stories

CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
Would you like a 1 on 1 personal Skype or phone consult with me? We can set up time to talk and sort out your own specific Latin American plans. Just put the word “CONSULT” in the subject line and send a short list of your questions and talking points to: theexpatfiles@gmail.com
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September 25, 2015  

Get ready for Johnny’s next LATIN AMERICAN “BOOTS ON THE GROUND” SEMINAR:

Yes, my next Latin American seminar will start Saturday January 9th and end Thursday night January 14th.  Please send seminar inquiries to me at theexpatfiles@gmail.com to get the complete details and get on the early bird discount list.  

-Living in the land of ultra-premium coffee can offer many unique opportunities for gringo business ventures. Note there are many gigantic coffee plantations and mega processing plants but the vast majority of Latin coffee farmers are small mom and pop outfits with perhaps only a few acres or more. Since most small outfits sell locally- and the farmers are not internet savvy, or just want to sell the product by the bag or sack- there are many opportunities for gringos to market their very own “boutique” coffee brands. Think Amazon and EBay. 

-More advice for gringos on cars and driving in Latin America 

-Shopping in the big, chaotic markets: more tips, tales and crazy stories. 
-Latins are hyper-patriotic and irredeemably nationalistic- for no apparent reason other than the accident of birth. They all seem to have a tremendous illogical love their (failed) homeland.. so much that they often cry at the tip of a hat on independence day, sob when their soccer team wins a meaningless championship and get crocodile tears whenever their national hymn is sung(yup, even the guys weep too). Yet it seems the vast majority of Latins would much rather live the perceived “American Dream” (Sueno Americano) up in Chicago, Miami, or Cleveland. Or would they really? That said, what dollar incentive might change their collective minds and make most of them want to give up the idea of sneaking in to the states? After all is said and done, it's really NOT about being political refugee or terrorized by crime and narcos. Its really about the money and the ability to buy all the 1st world toys gringos have (on credit naturally).. 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
We can set up a call, talk a while and sort out your own specific Latin American plans. Just email a list of your questions and talking points totheexpatfiles@gmail.com
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September 20, 2015  
-Johnny answers some candid questions about what it was like for him to work for years on various Latin stations; the lone gringo radio host and DJ guy. What was it like doing Latin big-city morning drive time as well as evening rush hour traffic in a huge Latin market where no one at the station spoke English? Who listened? Was he censored? Was he fired? Did he get beat up or shot at?
 
-A “boots on the ground” analysis of the unprecedented presidential election results in Guatemala: One corrupt psychopath shoe-in candidate spent $20 million and bought millions of votes with cash and giveaways; a second favored candidate “dragon lady” spent $5 million, while a completely unknown small business guy, theatrical producer, actor and part time clown spent $200k. Guess who won?      
 
-Which Latin cites have the most dangerous public transportation systems (as in getting robbed or mugged)? What Latin city is most dangerous for woman travelers? What cites have the most crooked taxi drivers?     
 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 18, 2015  
-Did you know that there are so-called 100% bilingual Latins and there are 100% bilingual Latins? There are big differences! That said, don't think just any so-called bilingual Latin person might fit your needs- for example as a top-notch secretary or girl Friday in your new Latin-based business. Note that just because a Latin person has passed that all-important TOFEL international English competency exam and has the diplomas to prove it, doesn’t mean he or she had the instant capacity to handle any or all of your needs. Such persons will undoubtedly have some bad habits.  You must from the start be as vigilant as a hawk and set first-world standards.. or disappointments will surely follow.    
 
-You can easily put an ad in the classifieds or on the internet looking for just such a bilingual person to hire as a guide or as a translator or whatever. Some young college-aged Latins are 80% to 100% bilingual and really can help you immensely. But note that the vast majority of said persons will not be able to write an email or business letter any better than a stateside 4th grader. There are two reasons for this: one is that 95% of these bilingual people went to crappy public universities and were taught English by non-native English speakers with bad accents who in turn learned their English from non-native English speakers with bad accents (i.e., non-gringos) etc., etc. The second reason most can’t write a decent letter is that many bilingual types have no one to talk to so they are always out of practice. To be nimble one must stay in the game!.                
 
  -CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 13, 2015  
-Did you know that 95% of Latins drive with no car insurance coverage at all? That’s a fact even though most all Latin countries have mandatory insurance laws. How is that possible? How do they continuously get away with it?
 
-Did you know that in most Latin countries, if you go to a driving school to learn how to drive properly, the school will guarantee you a driver’s license upon completion? Here’s the crazy part: most schools will give you the “on the road” part of the driver’s test right on the premises… not in an actual car but in a simulator! Crazier yet, over half of Latin drivers either have no idea how to parallel park or are too afraid to even try it. So instead they circle and circle, block after block, waiting for an easier space to open up. That’s what happens when your license is approved by a simulator.      
 
-What happens if you get in trouble with the law while in Latin America? Specifically, what can happen if you get in a car accident or hit a pedestrian?
 
-Another “boots on the ground” gringo tale of woe. This time we hear from a gringo personally involved in a hit and run accident. (He was the driver and the one who ran!)  
 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 11, 2015  
-Bolivia is having all kinds of civil unrest. The steep 50% drop in state oil revenues in the past year has caused President Evo Morales to call a press conference asking the general population to officially tighten their belts. Yes, the public is being forced by necessity into doing that right now (like they needed his official proclamation, duh!) but you can bet that no government official will ever follow suit (yup, less 5 star hotels, champagne and caviar maybe?)
 
-People want to know why some Latin countries (Panama, Ecuador, Belize and El Salvador) use the US dollar as their official funny money. How do those Franklins affect local economies, and what about the dollar effects on the surrounding Latin countries who use their own homegrown funny money?
 
-With the Latin real estate bubble about ready to pop, it’s definitely a renter’s market. But fresh clueless gringos often don't get in on the good deals. So then how can you get the best deal on rent? Today, frequent contributor Captain Mango tells us how he got his $650 a month rent sliced all the way down to $250 a month- a 60% reduction!!!       
 
-A “boots on the ground” real estate and cost of living report from Medellin Colombia.

-Did you know that Colombia’s peso has crashed 27% against the dollar in the last year? It’s really causing havoc especially at the border towns.  That means many gringo opportunities… but do look out for potholes!!     
 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 6, 2015  
-By popular demand: Another late-breaking update on the unfolding Guatemalan political scandal. People in all 20 Latin American countries have been talking endlessly about it (and in a good way too!)
 
-A discussion of ongoing problems most newly arrived gringos and expats have when trying to get simple things done using the phone. Note: when you’re off the gringo tourist trail and try to dial up a business there will be no convenient recording that says, “For English Press 1”.
Nope, that’s not gonna happen.   
 
-When gringos come down as couples, inevitably one of the two almost always absorbs Spanish better, faster and more completely than the other. Oddly enough its usually the female. This phenomena usually forces her to into the couple's default translator role whether she likes it or not.    
 
-Today Captain Mango gives an on the spot “off the tourist trail” report on a few of his recent and more convoluted Latin banking experiences. Note: Captain Mango’s Spanish is about as good as his Swahili, so don’t laugh… you might be in the same boat when you first come down.        
 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 4, 2015  
-A update on the Latin American real estate bubble
 
-Can you guess the three biggest complaints gringos and expats have once they’ve moved into a house or apartment down in Latin America? Also, some tips on how one should deal with them
 
-Rarely do Latin countries get mentioned at all in first-world news headlines. Seems that unless there’s a big disaster, catastrophic loss of life, volcano blast, tsunami or scandal of epic proportions; the first-world media pretty much doesn’t give a rip about their short, brown neighbors south of the border. North Americans just aren’t interested. So then, why recently has little "off the toursit trail" Guatemala been getting a few 1st world media mentions here and there? Turns out, in the past few weeks there’s been some extraordinary political shenanigans happening down there. So by popular demand, today we have an overview along with some clarifications regarding the weird and unprecedented political and social events going on in that small Central American country.    
 
 -CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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September 1, 2015  
-In Latin America, more and more nearly forgotten first-world has-been personalities, lecturers (and faded dinosaurs of rock) are showing up here and there. They're doing a re-heated hash of their once popular old and moldy seminars and tours. Nope, these folks have not faded into the sunset kindly, instead they've found a second life in the 3rd world, a lucky way to cash in on their long past glories. 

-Certain adventurous and astute stateside people (and their promoters) have figured out the famous first-world “lag-time effect” combined with the gringo advantage can mean more than a “dead cat bounce”. It often can mean a brand new wave of popularity and success for gringos (even if their Spanish languages skills are nil)
 
 -Today we see Expat Eddie stumbling along trying to use a very effective type of Latin Craig’s list website called www.OLX.com.  In this new adventure Eddie’s uses the website to locate and buy a used high-end elliptical trainer. As usual the story has some surprising twists and unexpected turns. Only in Latin America!   
 
-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL:
 
Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.
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