Comments for Expat Chronicles Pictures, music, news, stories, and rants from a gringo in Latin America. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:19:03 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Banana Gringo Runs Central America by Banana Board Cruiser Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:19:03 +0000 wonderful points altogether, you just gained a emblem new reader.
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Comment on Colombia vs. Peru for Expats by Felipe Hayes Sat, 26 Jul 2014 09:27:01 +0000 I’m astounded at some people’s sheer stupidity and lack of inspiration insight (not to mention lack of decency) in some of their comments. Frankly the comparison, while intersting, is over-simplified and in some cases totally false.

The race question for example was not well explained. Peruvians are mostly of Native (Indian) ancestry while Colombians are mostly mixed with European and (depending on the region) also African. The reason being is NOT because of certain Indian civilizations existing or not existing. Colombia was just as heavily populated with Native Americans at Columbus’ arrival as was Peru with several small “civilizations” like the Chibcha and the Guambino. During the colonial period however, many Spanish pheasants from Northern Spain colonized the central highlands of Colombia and mixed freely with the natives. Colombia’s cool, lush and fertile highlands were among the few places in Tropical America where Europeans could live comfortably, another was in nearby Costa Rica. For this reason Colombian Spanish and Costa Rican Spanish remarkably similar and considered the best in all of Latin America, despite being separated from each other by Panama. This also lends to a more westernized “cowboy” culture in Colombia. Those “man purses” you talk about were actually originally used by (and popularized by) the VERY MACHO cowboys of Antioquia for long horse riding trips.Africans were imported as slaves to the Coasts, both Atlantic and Pacific. The pacific lacked European settlement due to It’s inhospitable climate, so the population remained heavily African, who adapted quite well to the hot and humid pacific coast. Bogota has always been the stalwart, colonial center of Colombia’s elite and European based corruption. It represents conservatism and phoniness for most Colombian’s. Most Colombians are a mix of european, indian and even african ancestry. Colombia’s are generally very content however with their lives, ranking among the happiest countries in the world. The economy has always been very strong in Colombia. Medellin was known as a booming industrial city, way before it was known for Mafia. Insecurity became a problem however in recent years when the mafia-led guerrillas took over half the country and impeded safety and, this has since been resolved and the security in Colombia has been restored to a normal level.

Lastly, when it comes to sheer beauty and ULTRA-AMAZING natrural splendor, Colombia not only beats Peru, but it also beats most of the rest of the World! It’s one of the most, beautiful, Biologically diverse, dramatic, pictureque and just downright AWESOME. The only reason Colombia isn’t the TOP world nature destination it deserves to be is because of the (overblown) reputation it has gotten from the drug trade and from Hollywood itself (which never actually films in beaitiful Colombia, but somewhere in Mexico or Guatemala) As someone who has travelled there from Childhood, it’s both a pleasure visiting there and a sad notion that the world is missing out on travelling there to discover the amazing and they unparalleled natural beauty that exists there!!! Top cities in Colombia for beauty and culture are: Medellin, Manizales, Bucaramanga, Cartagena,.Santa Marta, Armenia, Ibague and Popayan. While Bogota is frigid, overcast, bleak and just downright ugly in some areas. It’s cold and reminds you of New York, Detroit or Manchester. Not very tropical and certainly not very friendly either.

As far as Peru is concerned, it’s interesting food is a legacy of the creative Inca’s. Its mountains are even bigger, but they are completely parched and dry (except for the amazonian foothills). Peru has many social problems along the coast, but in the highlands a more traditional lifestyle exists. Spanish is spoken by most people nowadays, even in the rural hamlets. Lima is not a very beautiful city beautiful in fact it is the uggliest capital city in Latin America! Its like a doomsday scenario of Los Angeles, complete with dense smog and endless poverty. Cuzco on the other hand is much nicer.

All in all, I’d hate to pit one country against another or say one is better than another. But they are both very different I would say. I think most Northamericans and Europeans would enjoy Colombia more, identify with it more and find it a way more beautiful and enjoyable tourist destination than Peru.

Comment on Kendall’s First Day in Cali’s Villanueva Prison by Colin Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:34:08 +0000 @ Rob – 30 Colombian Pesos for every 1 US Dollar. So pesos were about 60 times stronger then. Multiply quantity of pesos in Smuggler’s Diary by 60 and you have the equivalent in today’s pesos.

Comment on Why You Should Not Work Abroad by Luis Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:00:15 +0000 I was in Peru for 18 months and I can say that this article hit so many great points on so many levels.

Firstly, I want to point out that I do not have a liberal arts or teaching background. That needs to be addressed because to me its clear that this article is not meant to address people with a liberal arts background who decide to up and move to South America for a better quality of life, or at least something different than what can be offered in USA.

Second, quality of life is obviously subjective. However, whenever speaking about topics such as living abroad or succeeding in a different culture we are forced to speak in generalities. And I think we can safely say that MOST people for quality of life value in no particular order financial security, safety, education, health care, availability of basic services, and potentially most important family.

Now, after my time in Peru I can confidently say that family is crucial to overall happiness of its citizens. Due to the fact that in many ways the country is backwards and illegitimate in its practices, Peruvians depend on family in order to get their way through the day to day grind that we call life. This of course is on top of the sentimental and emotional dependency that comes natural to families all over the world. The reason I mention this point is that for many people, especially in these so called developing countries, FAMILY is straight and foremost number one consideration for quality of life, it is prioritized over everything else. I think the degree of this dependency comes somewhat as a shock to USA and other Western Country expats who in general are much more independent in overcoming life’s obstacles.

So with these points I mentioned above, I whole heartedly agree with the author’s assessment that Western Expats DO NOT have more value in Latin America just because they have a college education and they speak english. More importantly Western Expats WILL NOT have a better quality of life just because cost of living is lower. Of course there are exceptions.
An expat who loves to teach, to dance, latin food, and embraces the latin family of their partner will have a much higher quality life in Peru than they would in USA. But if an educated expat is looking to further their university skill set in medicine, engineering, business, law, manufacturing, marketing and countless other industries…countries like Peru or Colombia is NOT the answer to furthering their career and quality of life.

That expectation would be further shut down when they realize that the many facets of daily life that they take for granted in their Western country of origin such as legal matters, efficiency, security, development, and education are decades behind in Latin America. Countries like these simply do not have the resources to ever catch up in terms of these levels of development. Latin developing countries will continue to advance at record rates for some years to come, however it is not sustainable and platueus will be reached and have already been met in certain areas.

I realized quickly that I could not be happy with a career in Peru. Sure, I could have killed myself trying to get a project management job that made me half as much as I would in the USA. However, the quality of life factors that I mentioned above would not be half the quality of what I can find in the USA. I would say they would be a fourth and fifth of the quality. The disparity is just too large and I feel that most professional expats who are not location independent realize this quickly.

What made my situation more difficult is that I met my Peruvian girlfriend, now fiancé, in Lima during my first couple of months in Peru. Being in love I quickly tried to alter my plans and establish myself a new life in Peru. The effort mentally and physically to try to immerse myself in the culture and position myself in the Peruvian middle class with hopes of moving up proved to be extremely draining on my relationship and me personally. The ideas for a good quality of life clearly clashed between my partner and I for the reasons I mentioned above. I often found in myself in situation where my girlfriend would say she didn’t care how much better or efficient the USA was, being close to her family is just more important. The only thing I can do is just respect that feeling of hers. So quality of life is subjective, but my idea for a better life did not depend on being close to my girlfriend’s family. So ultimately my girlfriend knew that returning to USA was necessary for us to do in order to achieve a happier and more comfortable lifestyle. That’s why I returned to California last month, secured a construction management job within 2 weeks after over 1 year of unemployment, and my fiancé is moving here at the beginning of 2015.

So great article and I think its a must read for any person thinking to actually pursue career opportunities in foreign developing counties. Its one thing to be sent there by a large international corporation or government agency…its entirely different to go there as individual (no matter how qualified) in search of a better life.

Comment on Kickstarting This Mick’s Life by This Mick's Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia » Richard McColl Richard McColl Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:04:33 +0000 […] with the wrong people! So, over hours of chats, cups of tea and recordings, the brains behind the Expat Chronicles website Colin Post is putting together this book. And Post needs your […]

Comment on Kendall’s First Day in Cali’s Villanueva Prison by Rob Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:20:59 +0000 Aren’t these peso values all out of whack?

I have been searching for historical values of the peso.. It’s proving to be difficult, but the furthest back I could go was the early 90′s and even then the peso was worth in the thousands per US dollar.

Comment on Canadian Expat Executed in Costa Rica by Colin Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:27:57 +0000 @ Zac and Mark –

I didn’t want to say it in the article, but in my expert opinion Deering’s training emphasized cosmetics. Which is to say, steroids and glamour muscles (no squatting or deadlifting ever) and MMA training for Facebook pics (not to compete or make money).

Comment on Former Smuggler on the Peru Two by Mark Kennedy Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:08:11 +0000 6 years and 8 months, that´s a pretty lenient sentence. Don´t try that shit in Asia. Drug trafficking is punishable by death in most Asian countries — even for foreign smugglers.

Comment on Does Sex Tourism Save Lives? by JoeAmerica Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:33:56 +0000 Whoring may be a key ingredient to social progress.
My explanation is abbreviated.

First thing to note: Actual operation whoring; when evaluating whoring the actual amount that is actually happening is the measure. Measuring hypocrisy is something quite different.

Next HBD. Google “HBD Chick” to understand what this means and entails.

The idea:
Effects of whoring = Out-breeding and progress into modernity
Effects of Islam and the berka = inbreeding and clannish fiefdoms.