2020 South American Expat Thread

magaman

Kingfisher
Orthodox Inquirer
Even though I've seen American guys get completely screwed over by the justice system, it's got to be the lesser evil over Latam. I can't imagine what would happen if a Latam wife or her family wanted to plot against me at some point.
That's a scary thought. You'd probably disappear if that happened..
 

square_it

Pigeon
Protestant
Feminism has clearly crept into even the mid-sized cities. The women are still vastly better than the West, but this is a bit disheartening still. I've talked to some girls here about what they want and many want families though. Best bet will be in smaller areas and/or indigenous areas but good luck being accepted there as a Westerner. Still much better options in general here though - many more women that aren't obese, can cook, have long hair, dress feminine (I rarely see yoga pants outside, except on fat Western women). Many locals are close with their families as well - this is really important to me. They talk to their family members every day.

In cdmx, a few Mexican guys told me feminism was taking hold there. I was disappointed, but at least it was nowhere the level of the US or Canadian cities. I was also warned not to date women that were towards the indigenous look, because of their extreme victim identity and other stuff.
 

COtrailrider

Robin
Gnostic or New Age
In cdmx, a few Mexican guys told me feminism was taking hold there. I was disappointed, but at least it was nowhere the level of the US or Canadian cities. I was also warned not to date women that were towards the indigenous look, because of their extreme victim identity and other stuff.
Yep, in Queretaro too. I befriended a café owner there that was well-traveled and higher IQ than most Mexicans I met and he was lamenting about some of the feminism creeping in. I just happened to be in the country for the women's march in March or April and it was sad to see how many turned out, and also how much graffiti was on buildings afterwards.

The indigenous comment is spot-on. If they don't speak any English that's a red flag too and coincides with more indigenous populations. I prefer the fair-skinned ones - some even have blue/light eyes if they're from the north. Plus if they speak English they can help you learn Spanish!

But on the whole it's night and day better compared to the US, still. Even small town America frequently has the blue-haired land whales covered in tattoos that guys need to contend with.
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
Other Christian
Written Spanish was fairly easy for me to learn, but spoken Spanish has been more difficult than thought. I enjoyed living in Latin America, but felt overall I had to be on guard always and it took a toll. Latin America is still an option for me to find a wife, but I don't think I could settle down there permanently.

‘On guard’ is a good way to put it. And it isn’t just with safety. It’s everything, all relationships. The MO in LatAm is ‘screw them before they can screw me’. There’s no collaboration or teamwork. Being virtuous and honest is not incentivized.

It’s exhausting living that way.
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
Other Christian
I lived in Mexico City for a bit. It was in a safe neighborhood, but I felt in the long run there's so much I don' know. Like navigating the legal system if something ever happens. I was also in Colombia for a bit. Nothing ever bad happened to me in Latam, but it was surely more intense than the states. In Colombia, I was warned to not use a phone on certain highways because motocyclists sometimes snatch them by breaking through the window.

Brand new iPhone 12 snatched right out of my hand by a moving motorcyclist while I was walking in Cartagena. A Jason Bourne move 100%. The locals said I was lucky- normally it’s a knife in the back. Comforting.

I don’t know a single person in the USA that has ever had their phone stolen.
 

IM3000

Pelican
I lived and worked for about 3.5 years in different countries in LATAM. Spent roughly 1 year of it in Mexico and have a few good Mexican friends. Every single one of them can tell you their own little horror stories and every single one of them had been robbed at least once.

Plain daylight on a busy street close to the Zocalo and suddenly, you feel a knife pointing at your kidneys and the guy says: Dame todo o te mato pendejo. That's how it can go down. I had a 12-14 year old kid pull a gun on me. Some dude tried to abduct the sister of a friend of mine from a pesero.
That said, I still love Mexico and its people. You need to have your guard up and don't be an idiot. Applies to every country in that region of the world. In the long run, you better have some good local connections because in case you have some serious issue, you are done otherwise. The institutions are weak and you cannot rely on them at all. Again, applies to every country in LATAM.
 

square_it

Pigeon
Protestant
‘On guard’ is a good way to put it. And it isn’t just with safety. It’s everything, all relationships. The MO in LatAm is ‘screw them before they can screw me’. There’s no collaboration or teamwork. Being virtuous and honest is not incentivized.

It’s exhausting living that way.

I have heard about this. Do you think this style would be less extreme in the middle-upper class?
 

vstk

Robin
Catholic
‘On guard’ is a good way to put it. And it isn’t just with safety. It’s everything, all relationships. The MO in LatAm is ‘screw them before they can screw me’. There’s no collaboration or teamwork. Being virtuous and honest is not incentivized.

It’s exhausting living that way.
Very well put. I am naturally a bit of a loner in most of my endeavours, so it doesn't affect me too much (skeptical of people's intentions...).
But I can imagine that someone who is used to cooperation, trust, honesty... would be quite uncomfortable here. People cut corners, are unreliable, and do not feel the least bit guilty about it. They barely seem to even notice.
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
Other Christian
Very well put. I am naturally a bit of a loner in most of my endeavours, so it doesn't affect me too much (skeptical of people's intentions...).
But I can imagine that someone who is used to cooperation, trust, honesty... would be quite uncomfortable here. People cut corners, are unreliable, and do not feel the least bit guilty about it. They barely seem to even notice.

The entirety of LatAm can be summed up with the term ‘ya mismo’. It means everything and nothing all at the same time.

-Oy amor When are you returning?
-Ya mismo

Could be 2 minutes. Could be 7 hours. Maybe she needs to stop at the grocery for 4 hours. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter. That’s Your problem.

Ya mismo is a fundamental abandonment of time- the most precious of all assets. When you show that you have no regard for time you no longer feel compelled to provide value. Time = value.

LatAm can never be anything other than a perfect disaster because nobody cares about time.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Other Christian
Gold Member
Brand new iPhone 12 snatched right out of my hand by a moving motorcyclist while I was walking in Cartagena. A Jason Bourne move 100%. The locals said I was lucky- normally it’s a knife in the back. Comforting.

I don’t know a single person in the USA that has ever had their phone stolen.
Doesn't sound like you adapted very well to being "on guard." I have lived in Colombia for over 2 years (South America in general for 4 years) and had zero problems. That doesn't mean it can't happen but perhaps walking around Cartagena with a $1000+ smart phone out in your hand for all the world to see wasn't the right move.

As far as overall safety.... I'm really not sure about just how safe the US is in comparison. My hometown of under 7,000 people in rural America is going nuts. People getting shot, stabbed, public shootouts... and some of these involved people I know and some I grew up with. Things like this NEVER happened in my hometown back in the day. Now its damn near a common occurrence. A lot of it seems to stem from drugs... but not all of it. Just cause I can walk around in the USA with my iPhone out and not have to worry too much about Jason Bourne stealing it.... doesn't mean I wouldn't have safety concerns back in Murica.

"US, Latam, Europe, gotta pick your poison in the end..."
 
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Dilated

Woodpecker
Other Christian
Doesn't sound like you adapted very well to being "on guard." I have lived in Colombia for over 2 years (South America in general for 4 years) and had zero problems. That doesn't mean it can't happen but perhaps walking around Cartagena with a $1000+ smart phone out in your hand for all the world to see wasn't the right move.

Was early into my time here and I adjusted. Point still stands- having to be so on guard that a momentary slip-up can have bad consequences is exhausting. Something to consider if thinking of moving here.
 

COtrailrider

Robin
Gnostic or New Age
I lived in a major metro area in the western US for a few years. 8-10 years before I moved there it was top 10 for homicides (and other crime more broadly) but had since cleaned up its act a bit. Even in the uptown district with hip new restaurants and whatnot, a female colleague was robbed at gun point while walking to work from the subway station - she was with her husband, a professor, and had his Mac and research papers stolen as well. I lived in a nice-ish area bordering an even nicer enclave of $1MM+ homes and there was vandalism I was personally a victim of, and a neighbor that had his phone grabbed from him while walking on the street. The word was two (usually black) guys would head up into the nicer areas and gang up on people walking alone, usually snatching their phones/etc.

I often tell people I've felt more unsafe in US cities than I did in MX. I even spent some time this year in León, Guanajuato which was one of the most violent cities in MX a couple of years back (still is I imagine). Had one sketchy dude come up to me in the main plaza but it ended without issue. Consider how US police depts are purging staff due to the jab and how cities are 'defunding the police' in recent years - mix in some more unemployment and decreases in purchasing power across the board and some cities will look like the third world in no time.

Back to LatAm - given how cheap ridesharing services are it's better just to take a DiDi or Uber in most cases, even short trips. And just like in US cities there are areas to stay out of, plus the need for general streetsmarts. I prefer talking to locals about the ins and outs of the area. DiDi drivers can be a good source of info too.
 

vstk

Robin
Catholic
Back to LatAm - given how cheap ridesharing services are it's better just to take a DiDi or Uber in most cases, even short trips.
Human beings need to walk outdoors on a daily basis in order not to fall apart.
It is not optional.

I would say a better advice would be to choose your neighborhood very carefully. Some of them have security 24/7 at every corner. As a foreigner you should be able to afford that.
 

LoveBug

Kingfisher
Catholic
I lived in a major metro area in the western US for a few years. 8-10 years before I moved there it was top 10 for homicides (and other crime more broadly) but had since cleaned up its act a bit. Even in the uptown district with hip new restaurants and whatnot, a female colleague was robbed at gun point while walking to work from the subway station - she was with her husband, a professor, and had his Mac and research papers stolen as well. I lived in a nice-ish area bordering an even nicer enclave of $1MM+ homes and there was vandalism I was personally a victim of, and a neighbor that had his phone grabbed from him while walking on the street. The word was two (usually black) guys would head up into the nicer areas and gang up on people walking alone, usually snatching their phones/etc.

I often tell people I've felt more unsafe in US cities than I did in MX. I even spent some time this year in León, Guanajuato which was one of the most violent cities in MX a couple of years back (still is I imagine). Had one sketchy dude come up to me in the main plaza but it ended without issue. Consider how US police depts are purging staff due to the jab and how cities are 'defunding the police' in recent years - mix in some more unemployment and decreases in purchasing power across the board and some cities will look like the third world in no time.

Back to LatAm - given how cheap ridesharing services are it's better just to take a DiDi or Uber in most cases, even short trips. And just like in US cities there are areas to stay out of, plus the need for general streetsmarts. I prefer talking to locals about the ins and outs of the area. DiDi drivers can be a good source of info too.

Yeah, on the ground I haven't felt unsafe in Latin America. And I spend time most my time in Honduras/Guatemala/Chiapas (but also spent time in El Salvador and other high murder rate nation). These are countries where the murder rate isn't pleasant, and countries you will be warned about but, I'd sooner feel unsafe in the hood of the California city which I spend the other half of the year. It's a lot of gang violence and drug violence that doesn't come near me, and at 6'3 most the male population comes to my chest in these countries, and it feels like guns are less prevalent (haven't looked it up). Bottom line I roam the cities of these countries at night at don't have too much of a problem

The problem is the petty theft and constant gringo-dicking pricing that the locals will try

I should say in Honduras, in the major cities, some taxis will be unmarked. And thats some Russian roulette, but I still haven't had a problem yet
 

IM3000

Pelican
Ultimately, it also depends greatly on how long you are there. A good friend of mine is from the Brazilian Northeast aka the most violent place in the Western hemisphere.
He moved with his wife to Europe some time ago because the crime was too much. He had been robbed 3 and his wife 9 (!) times. Also, his father had been kidnapped and held for ransom. A kid from his little brother's class was hit in the head by a stray bullet and died.

My friend told me that nobody in his city walks anywhere anymore, because it's too dangerous. This is a place, where gangs ride around with jeeps which have 50 mm guns mounted on top and just shoot up a police stations or bank. That said, you can go there on holiday, spend 4 weeks there and most likely will have zero issues if you are not stupid or unlucky. In the long run, though, odds are that you'll run into some nasty situation.
 

Solitarius

Robin
Catholic
The best a man who has gone down there can hope for is to arm himself so that he can take some of them with him in the end, rather like the words of the following song sung by John Edmond: "His troopers, they were loyal
His troopers, they were young
They'd follow Allan Wilson to the setting of the sun
They were hands from many lands, and many a distant shore
They would follow Wilson
A soldier to the core

Up the wild Shangani, and down the other side
Up the wild Shangani, where Allan Wilson died

The Matabele army was running to the north
And Major Forbes would follow with for all that he was worth
But reaching the Shangani, Shangani River wide
Sent Wilson and his men to scout over the other side

Up the wild Shangani, and down the other side
Up the wild Shangani, where Allan Wilson died

Through green Makone Forest the Matabele fled
The Yankee tracker Burnham said "They can't be far ahead"
But Wilson and his troopers were surrounded in the night
Said Wilson to the volunteers, "We will stand and fight"

Up the wild Shangani, and down the other side
Up the wild Shangani, where Allan Wilson died

With horses in a circle, they sang "God Save the Queen"
And thirty-four young troopers would never more be seen
They killed ten times their number; they're on the honour roll
So take your hat off slowly to the Shangani Patrol

Up the wild Shangani, and down the other side
Up the wild Shangani, where Allan Wilson died
Up the wild Shangani, and down the other side
Up the wild Shangani, where Allan Wilson died..." When things get bad down there the natives will start hunting the foreign devils like the Boxers did in China in 1900.
 

Solitarius

Robin
Catholic
Same, written Spanish and reading it has always been easier than speaking/understanding it for me too. What part of Latin America did you go to? Mexico is "close to home" so to speak and there's some influence there (good and bad) but even there would be a major culture shock and change from being in the USA and I've only visited there. I have no experience living there. I'm not sure if I would mind it but there would definitely be tradeoffs for sure.
This is because many, perhaps most of them don't speak proper Castilian, they speak a patois comprised of corrupted Castilian, slang, which is to language as disease is to a living organism & Indian words. If one only knows the bookish language they very often might as well be speaking Turkish.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Other Christian
Gold Member
After spending most of the past decade bouncing all around the world... I have felt less safe in parts of the USA then I have anywhere overseas, as cliché as it sounds. Nightlife which I used to partake in years ago is a great example. There was always fights at bars and clubs in the USA, some I even participated in. But I can't recall seeing any actual fights over seas. In the Ukraine there was a bum who was super drunk out on the Khreshchatyk who was really asking for it by being belligerent to a group of 2 young guys and a girl, the young lad had the patience of a monk until he didn't. Dropped the bum with one shot and he fell unto a curb and split his nose open pretty bad. I was standing beside the young kids the whole time to make sure nothing got out of control. After the bum fell the kid postured up to give another swing and I just grabbed him by the shoulder and said "hes done" and the kids and girl just walked away.... I actually felt bad for the bum cause well he was a bum and had no access to fixing his demolished nose, on the same hand he had every opportunity in the world to walk away.

In Peru right off Pizza Street I was with some other RVF guys on a balcony there and watched some woman smacking, kicking, and pushing her man around while he just stood there.. eventually a small crowd gathered and the man who was being abused for over 5 mins gave her a shove.....Then that chick went from Chuck Norris to a delicate fragile woman flower and cried and asked for help from the crowd where one white knight stepped in and almost fought the guy. A cop came over and she talked to him then grabbed her man by the ear and dragged him away.....

The most uncomfortable I felt was when I was living in Cali Colombia and a girl I knew was coming over pretty late at night and I had to meet her at the end of the alley way to walk her back to my place and when I started down the alley there was a car there with all tinted windows a few doors open and some gangta rap playing with a few unsavory looking characters just standing around... I did get nervous knowing I had to pass by them but as I got to the car I could see those guys looked more spooked than me, so I just gave them a nod and they returned with a nervous nod of their own. (It might help that I am 6'1 with a shaved head and the beard of Zeus and stay jacked)

In a decade overseas that's the only violence I saw. Again I'm not saying it doesn't happen or can't happen this is just my personal experience in the last 10 years overseas. Actually one of my buddies from the forum just shared a story of his friends in Singapore that were out drinking at a restaurant late and getting pretty drunk and apparently there was a gang at a table near them and one guy came over to their table and told them to "shut the f up".... they just thought it was weird and got their check and when they exited to the lobby they got the absolute crap beat out of them by the guys from the restaurant, one guy is in a coma. This was a few weeks ago....
 
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