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Expats in Thailand considering moving to Latin America prompted by Thai visa changes


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What some 60 years old 2 times divorced woman from Sheffield not good enough for you? 🤣 We all know why we are in Asia. The culture. 

there is zero chance of me riding my motorcycle ALONE all over anywhere south of the USA border.   Travel Thailand alone no problems anywhere. 32,000 kilometers worth of motorcycle road trip

I stayed in Rio 2 months and got robbed at knife point twice, in broad daylight. Not to mention all those times i managed to escape. Been in Bangkok 15 years, so far no such incident. I love Rio, wond

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On 8/16/2019 at 6:20 PM, Hans007 said:

I lived in LA for many years...am fluent in Spanish. Lived in Paraguay,Argentina and also Colombia. I can tell you that most prices are way way more in South-America. Also level of service tends to be LOWER then Asia..!! I also have been to Panama,DR,Peru,Brasil and Uruguay.

 

If you want to have a easy country to live in go Argentina...after 2 years of residence you are able to get an Argentine passport!!!!!!!! Compare that to Thailand!!!!! NO WAY you could do that in Asia.

 

The ladies??? well thats very very different from SE Asia....imho. Very difefernt indeed. Outside...and inside. Its just another world.

 

Speaking spanish is a must...if going to Brasil Portugese offcourse. However...latin people tend to be much more violent..then Asians!!!! Tell you that.

 

If have questions..feel free to ask. I will try to answer.

 

suerte

 

Hans

 

On 8/16/2019 at 6:41 PM, keemapoot said:

I spent a lot of time in LA, (Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina mostly) but many years ago now. I haven't returned for more than 20 years. I personally love Brazil more than any place in LA, but yes you are correct, can be violent, and dangerous, so you need money to live in your own compound or better neighborhood with condo or apartment security. You can get by in Brazil speaking Spanish, but definitely must speak Spanish for all the other countries. I would say don't even think about it if you can't manage a decent level of Spanish. Overall, for someone used to living in Thailand, yes, it is an adjustment as Latins are more formal. 

 

I am thinking about spending a few months in Argentina, maybe annually, maybe not, when I retire. The bottom line IMO is that those who are used to the casual and easily livable lifestyle in Thailand will be mostly deeply disappointed with living permanently in most places in LA, unless your Spanish is great and even then, it's just not Thailand. So, I think the threshold has to be pretty high to change places, and that everyone who is established here should really think hard and long before moving, and take an extended (multi-month) living abroad experiment first, before tossing in the towel here.

 

Hats off to Captain Jack for spending time in a Mexico recently and reporting his impressions. 

 

 

 

Extended, "multi-month" trial in the chosen country is a must!

 

The worst thing was summed-up by Captain Jack " going directly from Thailand to LA". 

 

There is a "cultural shock" to overcome, whatever country you choose to go. 

 

Even if you choose to return to your own country, you will suffer a "cultural shock", after long staying in Thailand or anywhere in Asia. Your own country also changes in the meanwhile....

 

On 8/17/2019 at 7:16 AM, keemapoot said:

I was just remembering my first trip to Bogota for business. There was a request to also go to medellin and remember rejecting this because it was the most dangerous city in the world at that time with the Escobar drug cartel wars and all. 

 

Wow, have things changed in 30 years.... Now, expats are discussing it as the hot place to retire....

 and, keemapoot, remember that "La mafia c'è, ma non si vede" ("Mafia exist, but cannot be seen").

 

Apply to any country. 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, snowballthecat said:

 and, keemapoot, remember that "La mafia c'e, ma non si vede" ("Mafia exist, but cannot be seen").

 

Apply to any country. 

Anyone thinking of retiring to Colombia really must watch the Nexflix series "Narcos." First, it's excellent dramatic entertainment in the HBO long-form gangster film style of Sopranos, and second it's a sobering reminder of what Colombia used to be like, and that there might be remnants still today.

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3 hours ago, keemapoot said:

Anyone thinking of retiring to Colombia really must watch the Nexflix series "Narcos." First, it's excellent dramatic entertainment in the HBO long-form gangster film style of Sopranos, and second it's a sobering reminder of what Colombia used to be like, and that there might be remnants still today.

OK, here we go. Narcos. Ironically the popularity of that show is a large reason that Colombia is more on the international radar. Yes, it's a very high quality and massively entertaining show and definitely recommendable. Yes, it's about a time in the past. Yes, the people of Colombia have suffered through a lot, the narco thing, civil war, even earthquakes. Surely that history has left scars on many people there. But for people going there, mentioning that show or asking where you can score some coke is "high" on the list of things that will generally offend Colombians right along with spelling Colombia wrong.

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3 hours ago, snowballthecat said:

 

 

Extended, "multi-month" trial in the chosen country is a must!

 

The worst thing was summed-up by Captain Jack " going directly from Thailand to LA". 

 

There is a "cultural shock" to overcome, whatever country you choose to go. 

 

Even if you choose to return to your own country, you will suffer a "cultural shock", after long staying in Thailand or anywhere in Asia. Your own country also changes in the meanwhile....

 

 and, keemapoot, remember that "La mafia c'è, ma non si vede" ("Mafia exist, but cannot be seen").

 

Apply to any country. 

 

 

 

Funny that you say that.

I may be wrong but because I've lived as an as expat for so long, my feeling is that adjusting to (and certainly affording) life back in the U.S. would actually be a BIGGER shock than adjusting to a new expat destination country.

But in any case, yes, moving to a new country, even your home country after a long time, is a very big deal in anyone's life.

 

Another thing in my personal history. A large portion of my adult life living in the U.S. has been in heavily LATINO areas. So maybe I'm being naïve but I feel I already have a certain comfort level with being a minority in Latino environments. But a really bad sign is that I never bothered to learn Spanish back then!

Edited by Jingthing
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I mentioned before that the postal service in Colombia is shockingly bad. I think things are OK to receive packages through different private services though. 

 

The situation is better in Mexico. Not great, but better. 

 

Which means that letters sent to you there likely won't ever get there or if they do take several months.

 

You may not expect very much mail but for certain things it could be vital. 

 

Particularly for Americans on social security that are required to both get and send back the notorious "proof of life" letters to avoid benefit cutoff.

 

Now some people just use a U.S. address of a friend of relative. That could work but social security considers that fraud and if they catch you it can be even worse than having a problem with your proof of life letter.

 

So that kind of thing which seems minor can become a deal breaker.

 

Well, I looked into this a bit and it seems there is room for hope of a workaround. 

 

The FBU (foreign benefit units) for Central and South America are in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. The D.R. covers Colombia.

 

https://do.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/

 

Looking at these pages it appears you can act proactively in this way.

 

Say you don't get your first mailing. (They do two, but why wait.)

 

You can then email a PDF to Santa Domingo of the form they supply online and you also must mail it to the U.S.

 

What they don't say is if they will accept the emailed form if the actual form never arrives.

 

Later down the line if your benefits are stopped. You can do similar. According to this site they will start paying within days of getting the email. They don't say whether they will cut it again later if they never get the actual mail in the U.S.

 

But being a little bit optimistic about this, this is better news than I expected. Why? Well you don't really need to worry about GETTING the mail (which you won't). You can get the form online. Then maybe just receiving it by email will solve it. But if not you only have to worry about getting the mail OUT (one way, not two). It seems to me probably the worse case scenario is spending hundreds of dollars for a special service to get a letter out every year. Cheaper than hand delivering it in the U.S. Also suspended benefits are repaid when the issue is resolved.

 

The difference from Thailand is that Thailand Post is actually pretty reliable!

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Too good to be true, or what?

 

I've been burned once buying real estate abroad so you'd think I wouldn't be interested in making that mistake again. 

 

That's what I've been thinking but what if the value of what you can buy and the price is so low that it's hard to resist? 

 

I've owned my home most of my life now. Yes, there are hassles but there's no landlord either. So it's a more comfortable feeling. 

 

So what would tempt me?

 

Well, I've heard you can buy a good quality two bedroom, two bath townhouse in Armenia Colombia in a decent upper middle class district for 30,000 dollars. Yes you could rent something like that cheap as well, so why would you buy?

 

Well, that feeling of it being your home. Hedge against the local currency getting stronger. Not having to pay rent, even the low rent. Hedge against rising values and rents. But what might really tempt me is that price. 30,000 I could walk away from if I had too. 100,000 I couldn't. For others the numbers might be very different. 

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About the terms Hispanic, Latino, and Latin America. 
I definitely learned something watching this. 

The definitions are kind of fuzzy, but they are still useful terms.

As I became more exposed to these cultures while living on the U.S. west coast, I favor using Latino vs. Hispanic. 

 

 

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Thinking about the fluency thing, obviously someone fluent is going to have a much easier time especially in non-expat ghettos. But I think such things can be relative. If you have rough Spanish it's not like it's impossible that you can adjust, just that it's harder. There are lots of things in life like that. Not everything needs to be completely optimal in order to be worth doing or at least trying out for size. You don't have to be tennis pro to have fun playing tennis but maybe not a good example because if you're playing a pro it's going to be bad for both of you!

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Thinking about the fluency thing, obviously someone fluent is going to have a much easier time especially in non-expat ghettos. But I think such things can be relative. If you have rough Spanish it's not like it's impossible that you can adjust, just that it's harder. There are lots of things in life like that. Not everything needs to be completely optimal in order to be worth doing or at least trying out for size. You don't have to be tennis pro to have fun playing tennis but maybe not a good example because if you're playing a pro it's going to be bad for both of you!

Fluency in Spanish is certainly going to help, but let’s be honest, you are not going to become fluent living here in Thailand.
Gain a good grasp on the language so you can make yourself understood and fluency will come quickly from immersion in the LA country.

When I went to Brazil I knew absolutely zero portuguese, a few words in Spanish at best, but living there was like living in a 24 hour language school !!


Of course I had motives, my gf ( later my wife ) spoke no English whatsoever, so I had great motivation.
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6 minutes ago, Andrew Dwyer said:


Fluency in Spanish is certainly going to help, but let’s be honest, you are not going to become fluent living here in Thailand.
Gain a good grasp on the language so you can make yourself understood and fluency will come quickly from immersion in the LA country.

When I went to Brazil I knew absolutely zero portuguese, a few words in Spanish at best, but living there was like living in a 24 hour language school !!


Of course I had motives, my gf ( later my wife ) spoke no English whatsoever, so I had great motivation.

Of course, Thailand is not a good place to learn Spanish. Massive understatement.

When I visited Brazil only as a tourist I had done the Pimsleur tourism tapes and I was actually getting by with that … as a tourist. People were cool about it.

I felt a lot more comfortable in Brazil with the language than Portugal. For some weird reason, Portuguese as spoken in Portugal really bummed me out. Like I had an emotional reaction to it and it was not a good one. 

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