It just might happen that a Latin friend or acquaintance will try to get you to support a local scumbag politician. Remember, it’s a huge feather in a politico’s hat to have a real live gringo at his or her event. Its considered a 1st world stamp of approval. No use telling a Latin that after a while, no matter …
-More on safely moving your gold, silver and precious metals across borders and how to stay as anonymous as possible while doing so.
-A word on bank safety deposit boxes: their availability and use in Latin America
-If you’ve been watching the international news over the last few weeks you may have noticed a rather big top level political shakeup going down in Guatemala. It’s just the most recent billion dollar corruption scandal collapsing the present government. Along with the country’s first female vice president, dozens of high level politicos are in jail or under house arrest and a dozen politicians now fugitives on the run from Interpol.
That said, how does all this political turmoil and unrest affect the expats and gringos living in Guatemala? What do long term expats have to say about the situation? Are they nervous, frightened and ready to pack up and leave? You’ll be surprised to hear that talk of corruption and scandal rarely comes up in casual conversation amongst gringos and expats. Why? Because every administration is thoroughly corrupt. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the only ones really affected by such massive corruption and thievery are the common people, the 80% who must ride the chicken buses, attend horrible free public schools (no desks or running water). Its the poor people who must go to the pitiful but free public hospitals (with not enough beds, gloves, medicines or syringes to go around). They’re the ones that suffer- while expats and gringos continue to live like first world people no matter which corrupt leaders are in office.
-In the last two years nearly all Latin American countries have adopted their own sort of local Craig’s list clones… as well as many free classified ad websites. Of course there’s been the usual lag time of a few years but suddenly these sites are springing up and becoming quite popular- fast displacing the traditional newspaper classifieds which can be too pricy for the average Latin selling low-priced stuff. That said, wannabees and gonnabees should take advantage of such sites as much as they can; not only to find good cheap stuff but also as a nice side effect, pick up bits of commonly used Spanish terms along the way.
– If you live in Latin America long enough and as your Spanish skills improve, soon enough you’ll start to understand there’s a very odd subservient classist relationship between Latin Americans and their so called “mother-country” Spain. Do remember that it was the Spanish conquistadors that came over to rape, pillage, kill pagan priests and extract gold and silver at any cost. And do remember that, most of today’s present Latin Americans have a high percentage of the local indigenous blood (unlike the long term residents in the USA and Canada) …. which is why the majority of Latins are short and brown- not white and tall like their Spanish conquerors. In short, real Spaniards fro Europe believe their Latin cousins to be lower-class rabble who will never pull themselves from the muck they have created.
– On the other side of the globe, the Philippine islands have the closest thing to a Latin American culture. They were once conquered and colonized by Spain so they have many of the same traditions… with some important differences…
-When you come to Latin America, for all of you who enjoy walking and exploring, note that there are different categories of “safe”. For example there are, #1, safe places to walk through day and night, #2 safe places to walk in the daytime only (questionable at night), #3 places that are considered unsafe to walk in both day and night. Then there’s the question- what if you’re walking alone or with two or more in your group?
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-Some Latins, especially upscale Latins, don’t like the term “3rd world”. They much prefer the more PC term “developing nation”. In fact, to call someone a “trecer mundista” (a 3rd worlder) south of the border can be a harsh insult to some of the more sensitive educated Latins- though its often mouthed by Latin bosses to employees who have made errors on the job or have done something the chief bottle washer considers stupid. Use the 3rd world thing at your own risk…
-Easter week in Latin America (called Semana Santa) can be a truly crazy and some say, nerve wracking experience for gringos and expats. Here’s why….
-Because the “gringo advantage” is alive and well especially off the tourist trail, eventually you will meet a Latin person with a gringoized name that seems so tacky or wacky that you think it must be some kind or nickname or inside joke. But don’t assume. Don’t assume anything! Just try not to laugh… that would be rude.
-Today we have a disturbing email from a female public high-school English teacher(in the states) hoping beyond hope that she can last just two more years and get her pension. Then it’s get the hell out of Dodge and down to Latin America.
-It’s not Carnival time, so why are there hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets of Brazil? Here’s a hint… the Brazilian president’s popularity is at an all-time historic low of 13%. Yes, it’s a political corruption of massive proportions (again) but this time the media and the people have solid goods on the crooks in office. The snakes won’t easily buy or squirm out of this one.
-Today we tie up some loose ends in the process of transitioning from temporary residency in a Latin country to permanent residency. Specifically the subject of getting the required police report for the transition- a clean police report, that is. -All big Latin American cities have hundreds if not thousands of parking meters, mostly in the business and hotel …
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