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

July 13, 2014  

-Down here in Latin America there are little hole-in-the-wall upholstery shops everywhere. The fact is that many of the little guys operating these business are true artists that can repair or re-cover any piece of furniture or auto seat like new. Don't judge them by the condition of their shops, cloths or amount of scattered debris. Most can expertly re-upholster even a very common, cheap, chair or sofa, etc., in fine leather if you like. So, if it isn’t against your sensibilities to sit on dead cow parts- amazingly enough the cost of the leatherwork will certainly be less expensive than having the equivalent job done in cheap vinyl up in the states. Meaning, if leather furniture was always a bit extravagant or out of your price range in Cleveland- down here you can shoot the works and not feel guilty(except maybe about the dead cow).    

-Did you know that most Latin families have a vacuum cleaner in the closet somewhere but almost no one in the family (including the cleaning lady) ever uses it? Why? Most all of them get terribly abused right out of the box and simply break down fast. And as for the rest? They're often too clogged to work efficiently. Again, it’s about the maintenance(surprised?). The fact is, most cleaning ladies and maids are afraid to use anything mechanical anyhow, lest the item break down and they get blamed for it(they do take the heat for broken stuff all of the time and often get docked for it).      

From the “be careful what you wish for department”: If you play the piano, or have the desire to own a “real” acoustic model… we’re not talking about an electric keyboard model here… then there are some important things you need to know about having delicate instruments like that down here in Latin America. In fact any instrument that has a lot of real wood incorporated in it, be it a violin, guitar, viola, double bass, cello, etc., all need a certain amount of special care, attention and maintenance. As you know, these  concepts that are foreign to most Latin folks.. even the educated ones (why do you think its called the 3rd world bub?)      

-INSECT INVASIONS PART 2, Rule #1: Never attempt to swat an insect that’s bigger than your head.    

-Do follow the link on the main page at to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult 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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