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

November 28, 2011  

-Those pesky emblem thieves and the thriving underground market for stolen chrome auto emblems. And if you have a nice car, your chrome auto emblems!

-A trip to the big city “terminal”. It’s a very chaotic (but special) place where you can buy everything and anything. Where buyers ask no questions and get no receipts, where things are so cheap that it’s like garage-sale heaven 1960’s style though on a super grand scale. And though it’s wild, crazy, a lot of fun and highly recommended, there are some definite do’s and don’ts. For instance, you should never, ever, go alone! And buy the way, the “terminal” is also a huge bus terminal too. That’s why they call it the “terminal”; its where all the lower classes and the sweaty masses gather to catch the buses (and shop on the cheap).

-Tips on parking your car. The do’s and don’ts

-Encryption hints regarding your travel and personal documents

-The continuing saga of Expat Eddie. Chapter #17; Eddie goes to the “terminal” to buy back his own stolen car parts. And when he proves they are stolen, the thief offers him  a discount!

-Another Expat business opportunity; the parking lot business

November 25, 2011  
-By popular demand, more in depth stories and tips for Expats looking for love in LA. What you really should know about dating, mating, love and romance down here. It’s a whole different ballgame with different rules, and since you’re a 1st World guy or gal the scales are always tipped in your favor, but there are some caveats……..

-When beautiful ‘off the radar’ beach paradises get contaminated by the Gringo dollar, a true Costa Rican story

-The truth about September/Spring romances. They’re as common as dirt in LA; both with the local Latin couples and certain older 1st world foreigners who hook up with young Latins. In fact there’s no Spanish term for “robbing the cradle”, and no one even bats an eye even with a 25 year age spread! (unlike in the USA, where you’d not only garner evil looks, you’d be labeled a lecherous pervert)
November 21, 2011  
MY kinds of Latin American tourist destinations. They’re not on your travel agent’s top 10 list (nor on their lists at all), but they should definitely be on yours. And how do you spot them? Well for starters, there are scant few gringos to be seen and often not a single US franchise like McDonalds, Subway or Pizza Hut in sight (hmm… can you say golden opportunity?)

-A few words about that special $15 leather belt with the hidden zipper compartment that every traveler should have (but no one buys, until they get robbed!)

-Notes on the new supersized tourist phenomena and how the ever expanding American waistline has affected the souvenir business
-The Expat lush; when drinking becomes a hobby and certain Expats develop a case-a-day beer habit. It’s the destiny of those who arrive in LA with laid-back retirement dreams, no desire to work and NO real hobbies. When suddenly faced with so much time on their hands, and with the beer and wine so cheap, drinking actually becomes their main hobby
-Latin American beer and wine, a quick primer
November 16, 2011  

-More proof that the cost of living in Latin America is half or less of what you’d spend for the same lifestyle in Jersey City

-Expat Eddie’s amazing moving company experience; or how to save 75% or more on moving expenses when moving or transporting household goods in Latin America

-An Expat wannabe’s top ten excuses for not taking the Latin American plunge (just yet)

-Why 1st World people DO become Expats; the most common triggers that finally push waffling wanabees into making the crucial move

-Overcoming peer pressure on the home front; when your family in Cincinnati think you’re nuts for even contemplating leaving the good ole US of A. But once they actually come down for a visit, and see how you live, most have a sudden change of heart and can be quite jealous

-DYK that your Social Security or US Govt. disability checks can be directly deposited monthly into your Latin American bank account? There’s no need for actual check handling or mailing at all anymore! (Bet you never thought the US Govt. had the brains to do something smart like that- must have been a mistake)

November 15, 2011  

-When Gringos “go native”. What happens to that certain small percentage of Expats in Latin America who decide to abandon the most of their 1st World baggage (and standards)?

-The weird truth about the those 60’s style hippies and retro-hippie clusters you may encounter in some way out parts in Latin America

-The somewhat annoying downside to the “Gringo advantage”, (i.e., that positive stereotype Latins hold that nearly all 1st Worlder’s are smart, savvy, wealthy and can do no wrong)

-“Neither a Lender nor a Borrower Be” - Bennie Franklin or, how I got stung for $25000 by my own Costa Rican lawyer; the many, many reasons why you should never lend money to a Latin, no matter how good the interest rate seems or much collateral he offers!

November 9, 2011  
-More driving tips and road safety advice

-Tips and rules for driving cars through Latin country boarders

-Air bags and seat belts; your car may appear to have them but...

-When anal retentive Expats decide (or are forced) to “go native”

-What happens when Expat artists try to make a living in Latin America

November 8, 2011  

- A word on Googling the major daily newspapers in your Latin country of choice (they’re in Spanish of course) and how to easily translate them. But they also have English language ones. And here’s the scoop on those rags!

-In tourist areas like Costa Rica and Panama, certain very telling news articles (in Spanish) never hit the English papers because they unmask local governments for what they really are, malignant. The advertisers figure prospective tourists mustn’t have too big a reality dose, it would hurt business.

-DYK that during election time Latin American candidates not only get the usual crank phone calls and death threats (like they do in the 1st world)? They actually get kidnapped in large numbers and a few get murdered (by the opposition party)! Candidates take elections very seriously down here not because have any desire to help their country; rather, everyone knows the guy who wins has a license to steal and seriously enrich his friends and family.

-The bureaucratic saga of one nice lady who tried her damndest to donate blood to a public hospital in Lima Peru, to no avail.

-Another surefire Expat business opportunity explained. One with a very low capital outlay and with guaranteed 1st World profits

November 2, 2011  

-The dirt on LA beggars, bums, vagrants and street performers. They’re on street corners in all the big cites (but almost nonexistent in small LA towns). So how do you handle the throng when they rush your car? After all, you’re a real live 1st Worlder with deep pockets and an obvious soft touch.

-Some valuable tips on how, when and where to hand out your spare change to the needy (if you’re so inclined).

-Describing the LA retirement safety net for locals. Believe it or not, most LA countries they do have rudimentary Social Security systems. They actually exist, but in name only, and the payouts run from $25 to $100 a month. But they’re horribly managed and chronically looted every time a new administration comes into power (and those pathetic little checks occasionally bounce).

November 1, 2011  

-The real truth on product pirating; it’s a lot like the drug trade, it’ll never stop and 9 out of 10 Latins don’t care either way or believe there’s anything wrong with it. And though legit LA retailers say they abhor it, nearly all of them continue to buy and download pirated DVD’s and other stuff for their own personal use!

-The truth about the war on drugs from this side of the battle south of the boarder, and how billions in tax dollars (your tax dollars) sent every year to equip and train forces down here actually do more harm than good (no matter how the US State department or DEA spin it).

-At a popular expat bar, Expat Eddie befriends a tipsy DEA helicopter pilot (with loose lips) who’s working in LA on contract to spray coca and marijuana fields. This is one story you’ll never hear on FOX or CNN!

-The laws of supply and demand in the real world - Expat Eddie (and the helicopter pilot) go head to head on the cost and availability of street drugs down here versus getting them in the 1st World,

-How local Latins gouge tourists looking for party drugs (but tourists don’t complain since they’re still 80% cheaper, and at least powerful, as the best street stuff back home).


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