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Expat Files – 03.13.16

-Today we discuss cases where Gringos have been tapped for extortion and kidnapping.

It’s not a matter of bad luck but more a matter of location, location, location.

-“HOOTERS” closes its doors in El Salvador… you’ll never guess why

-What places in Mexico, South America and Central America are most safe for gringos and expats wishing to start up a “brick and mortar” business?

-Tips on how to scout out the best locations for your “brick and mortar” business.

-Going “off the grid” in Latin America. More and more gringos and expats are doing it!

-It can be difficult for gringos and expats to blend in and be accepted by the locals. But when it does happen, sometimes it can be downright unsettling… maybe even frightening.

-The amazing “pizza test” and the extent of Latin classism at every level

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Expat Files – 03.11.16

-Gringos can have business problems and difficulties in Latin America:

Today we have Captain Mango describing the amazingly complex, idiotic hoops and hurdles he has had to maneuver through in order to start and maintain his small fleet of taxis.

-It’s true that while a small percentage of Latin businesses (like the taxi business and govt contractors) are plagued with mindless over-regulation and bureaucratic BS. Surprisingly enough, Latin governments do leave the vast majority of other small businesses almost completely alone.

It seems once one has done the routine chicken-without-a-head runaround in order to obtain the proper permits (which can take about a month), the government pinheads lay off and never bother your business again.

-Today we have yet more examples of poor maintenance and lack of detail inherent in the Latin workforce. However, if you want to start a business and need to hire help don’t despair. Latins are dedicated, smart and hard-working. You only need to train and instruct them correctly and the job performance will be up to anyone’s standards

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Expat Files – 03.06.16

-Driving the famous Pan America Highway:

For all listeners who may be contemplating driving a vehicle from the States or Canada to Latin America, today we have a very informative and illustrative description of such a recent trip. This report comes from a stateside listener who made the entire 3000 mile journey just a few months ago: from California to Panama City by way of the Pan American Highway. You might have to hold on to your seat for this one…

-The skinny on pirated gasoline in Latin America:

Yes, it’s all over the place, at up to a 50 cent a gallon less than at the legit “gasolineras”. Is it diluted, altered, or the real McCoy? Where does it come from? The cops buy it all the time… does that mean you should give it a try?

-Breaking news:

There’s a big political and social scandal unfolding in Bolivia involving sex, government back door contracts and Evo Morales. Could politicians in the US get away with that stuff? No problem… just ask Bill and Hillary.

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Expat Files – 03.04.16

-Today we have more emails from Canadian listeners. First, the subject is a professional couple hoping to transfer some of their first-world counseling and therapeutic skills down to Latin America. Their goal/wish is to continue working in a similar capacity once they arrive and get settled. So we’ll discuss the pros, cons, the options, availability and realities of coming down with high-level first-world skill sets. However it will be a difficult sell in a macho culture unaccustomed to modern healthcare therapies and a society that doesn’t much value one-on-one personal counseling- unless it comes from the neighborhood priest or pastor!

Again, it’s all about the lag-time effect…

– We also have a different kind of email from a well-traveled gringo an his wife who are looking to become permanent expats soon. I this case he and his wife’s concerns revolve around their handicapped daughter and the constant daily care, special training and therapy she will probably need for life. However, after some quality “boots on the ground” off the gringo tourists trail they have found some good solutions so far as they continue to make their exit plans and put the pieces together.

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Expat Files – 02.28.16

– Do I get occasional hate mail and complaints directed at myself or the Expat Files show? Off course, but I have pretty thick skin. On that note, today we have just such an email of complaint from a Canadian listener. Since Canadians are generally nicer and more civil than us guys from Chicago (or Cleveland), this listener is kind and gentle about his complaints and even throws in a backhanded compliment or two. Oh but don’t worry, in a future show I’ll read a few of the more evil email complaints. I get those too…

-Today we have a discussion about gringos and their use and abuse of the Spanish language. You’ll not hear this stuff anywhere else.

-Early on (or in due time) nearly every Expat Gringo or Gringa has a bad day or two: mostly when dealing with Latin bureaucracy, lousy customer service or Latin tardiness that leads to unintended consequences. True, Gringos do rage and blow up in public. I’ve done it myself. However, there are laid back Expats who don’t necessarily explode in frustration but merely count to 10 or 20 (or 200) and fume and seethe internally. Today we have a first-hand story of a long-term Expat’s full-blown public blowup.

-Supposed USA real-estate “gurus” and their seminars are rolling through in Latin America as we speak. Talk about slick! They’re selling off condos in Miami to upscale Latins who are dying to have bragging rights in what they consider the northern Latin “Mecca”. Yup, just 10% down- and buyers also get the huge side benefit of a special US immigration “investors’ visa and automatic permanent residency for the buyer (and family) along with the deal. Its stark proof that Latins don’t do their housing homework and that they’ve never had a US housing market history lesson.