Expats in Latin America

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Chiriqui Charlie, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    405
    Location:
    Panama Highlands
    I'd like to hear about folks who have moved down here, on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Where are you, why did you make the move, how do you like living here?
    I have been in the Panama Highlands for six years, my main peeves are that there aren't all that many roads to explore, and the rainy season is too long! But I like the prices, and no snow to shovel.
    #1
  2. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,076
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
    Ex-Pats... I don't quite fit the bill, on account of being 1/2 Panamanian. In the olden days I wasn't considered a Zonian, but some Zonians claim that by going to school in Balboa, and by being in an ex-Navy family, I'm a Zonian. Are Zonians ex-pats?

    The thing that drives me crazy is how slow some customer service is. Like if you go to Arocha and at the check out the checkout person could not possibly go any slower. And then they staple the receipt to the bag, and staple the bag shut, and fold it and staple it again all while sitting on a fat ass on a stool and it's just impossible for them to reach anything because it would mean getting off that fat ass. And if you try to flirt with them, like to get at least a hint of a smile, they just stare at you and, in an act that should be impossible, they go even slower.

    Otherwise I love Panama, and I declare that outside of Las Cumbres and parts of Chiriqui, Camino de Cruces is the coolest neighborhood.
    #2
  3. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    As someone who stepped out of their home Country over 2 decades ago I can confidently say that there is no place I would rather be than where I am. I can also say that if I do find a place I would rater be I will be working toward getting there as soon as I know.
    Sure, no place on Earth is paradise, but some places are better than others. I have lived in regions that were beautiful as well, but the people were not the same. The cultures and norms of life, family, service, respect, etc. vary greatly region by region, country by country, and even by town or barrio.
    I try to adapt and assimilate. I immerse in the home culture. I learn and speak the language - to the best of my ability and to the humor of my hosts. I eat and drink in the local watering holes. My free time is spent off the beaten track where truely wonderful people are found. I do not like cities and avoid them when ever possible. I do not ask others to change their ways to better suit my needs. I do not isolate myself among other ex-pats at the exclusion of those born and living where I hang my hat.
    I am sure that part of my approach is because I grew up in the South (US) and I clearly remember the saying "We don't give a dammed how you did it up North" aimed at the snow birds that would arrive, stretch the limits of amenities and service providers, and then complain that they did not get their "cheeseburger" in 5 minutes or less. They were the "ugly gringos" of my youth.
    Over the years I have seen literally thousands of others who have grabbed a brass ring of one sort or another and have made the big move. For many their false dreams, hopes, and perception of how it will be once they are off on a fairy tail adventure coupled with the reality of life, the change is consumerism, and the subtle (if only so) differences in culture and society slowly at first and later faster and faster move them into a realm of frustration and negativity. Suddenly those that were looking for the big change are pontificating the wonderfulness of their past life and either proclaiming that they will "Show these so and so's how its done" or bashing the new way of life to the point that no one in their right mind wants to be around them. These freshly welcomed arrivals become spreaders of a virus of unhappiness. The time line for this is typically 6 months of newlywed bliss, three months of confusion, and another 6 months of increasing frustration. About this time they are getting ready to nova out and leave. When this happens in an enclave of other expats the energy spreads first through their group and then is picked up by the locals. Everything for everybody starts to change, and not for the better.
    I have been in sunny places for shady people, islands of broken toys,drinking villages with fishing problems, etc. etc. and to one degree or another I loved, and love, them all. To one degree or another they each offered a challenge and a cost for the experience.
    I would not exchange one bit of it for what I had considered a "normal" life.
    Then again I am a fool, drinker, fisherman, and adv'r...
    :lol3
    #3
  4. CCjon

    CCjon HighHorse Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Under the Texas Sun
    Kamuk
    I love how you put your words together to shape an idea. You have a gift. Kudos

    CCjon
    #4
  5. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    CCjon,

    Thank you kindly good sir.
    For the things I am passionate about at times I am able. For the rest I am mediocre at best.

    Then again, I best view life through analogies presented or created and read a lot of bumper stickers passed along the way!
    :rofl
    #5
  6. pax maac

    pax maac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    459
    Location:
    Toluca, Mexico (near Mexico City)
    I moved to Mexico when I was 26 to take a job, intending to stay for 9 months, from New York City.

    That was 12 years ago.

    I lived in Guanajuato, Merida and currently Toluca.

    I don't mind it down here, I take the good with the bad, but I would jump ship in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. My wife agrees and we just take things one day at a time, trying to enjoy each day as it comes.

    Anybody passing through is always welcome to share a drink, a meal, whatever.

    :wave
    #6
  7. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
    You will bend for it.

    It will not bend for you.

    Learn this fast if you,re planning to stay.

    If it pisses you off-fuck off home and stop pissing the rest of us off!

    concise enough?

    AL

    Colombia
    #7
  8. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    581
    Location:
    The Caribbean & Nanaimo, B.C.
    in part, but maybe you were thinking more CA than the Caribbean.

    I've been here 5 years working, no tourists where I am, except DR tourists. I go to Panama off and on, family there and its about mid way between the standard of living in the USA and here. More humid there, and the service and selection for restraunts is much better in Panama.

    Bananaman, you think service is bad there, huh, its non existent here. Bothered me at first, now its like water off a ducks back, I just expect it. Don't think I've met more friendlier people, but I'd never live here permanent because its just a little to haywire for me.

    Costa Rica is very nice, could live there, or Mexico.

    If nothing else, I appreciate everyday what I have in BC, and what I'll go back to someday. Its a tough life if your poor here, and there are a hell of a lot of poor.
    #8
  9. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,630
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    I'm almost a year into an indefinite assignment in Mexico. Overall I'm loving it. Yes, there are some conveniences that we take for granted back home that just don't exist here, but you learn to deal with it. Try finding a pair of size 12 sneakers here. DF or Guad, you bet, but Manzanillo ain't got 'em. As far as I'm concerned, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Ride your dirtbike where ever you want, have a beer in the car on your way home from work, if the light's red and there's no one coming run it. You don't have to walk the narrow line here. As long as you aren't being a menace you don't get in trouble. I like that.
    #9
  10. Llamaha

    Llamaha Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    853
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Yeah I'm recently returned to Australia and I feel like I'm living in a police state after a couple of years in South America.
    #10
  11. Britsabroad

    Britsabroad Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Springfield/Mizzoo
    Very impressive anecdotes Mr Kamuk.

    Would there be any opportunities for a 60yr old Brit (enduring Missouri for the time being) in Costa Rica with the same
    traits & addictions as yourself?
    #11
  12. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Well Mr. Britt abroad...

    Depends on what opportunities you need and then which ones you want.

    Yes, It is very possible to have a good shot at loving life here. PM me with a bit more detail and I will share what I can. This Country is small geographically but so diverse that I find if I don't like one spot, 20 minutes down the road (up the trail) I am in a different environment. Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast, North or South, sea level or 3,000 meters plus... 5 (or is it 7?) different biospheres, bright lights big city to the dark side of the....
    Diverse it is.

    Life, work, money, health, leisure, adventure or none - to each his own. If you have been abroad long enough you already have realized that no matter where you go - there you are. So you have that hurdle beat!

    Check online references, find some points of interest, and reserve a good rental bike and tour it out. I bounced up and down the Pacific coast of CR for 18 months before I found the place(s) I decided to dig in.


    Oh - yeah shoes in size 10 plus, horse radish, good mustard s are hard to find :wink:
    #12
  13. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,076
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
    At what point does an ex-pat become an immigrant? How do you tell the difference?

    Tomorrow I'm going to tell my mother that she's not an immigrant, she's an ex-pat Panamanian currently residing in the US.

    At what point does a moto traveler become an itinerant?
    #13
  14. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Alabama & Costa Rica

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    487
    Location:
    Back in Alabama!
    When everything you own is packed on the backside of your bike, or your wearing it.
    #14
  15. Kiko

    Kiko Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,952
    Location:
    Jalisco, Mexico 45825
    In Jalisco we call expats who grumble and complain all day gruñones.

    #15
  16. SR

    SR Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,037
    Location:
    Western, Mexico
    Pinches gruñones!
    #16
  17. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,076
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
    Good answer.
    #17
  18. C5!

    C5! Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    275
    Location:
    Venezuela & Colombia
    very good point. I didn't answer that post because I don't consider myself an expat.
    Expats are normally on assignments working for government (diplomats) or foreign multinationals. They have often company apartments, company cars, a better than average living conditions and status. These are the ones who bitch most normally.
    The "you call it immigrant" or "I'll call it adventurer" normally lives like a local, works for a local company, or when working for a foreign company, works for local wages and working conditions. He is often married with a "local" as well. When you find both in the same city (the expat and the adventurer), they normally don't mingle, they are world apart.
    #18
  19. Kiko

    Kiko Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,952
    Location:
    Jalisco, Mexico 45825
    Expat> "Check please", or "I want..." or "I don't understand..",
    If the Mexican does not understand, then the Expat speaks louder in English. Go figure.

    Above may be total vocabulary expertise after 10, 15, 20 years living in Mexico. They come for the cheap seats only. They are "entitled".

    Immigrant> Once you ask them in Spanish why they prefer to live in Mexico instead of the US, they will never shut up.
    #19
  20. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Kiko,

    Interesting insight
    Expat: Entitled
    Immigrant: Entrenched

    What of Emigrant?
    Just another Expat, or a blend between the two?
    #20