When Readers Attack! Roosh V Forum Does Repat Chronicles

Estimated reading time: 4 hours

Expat Chronicles was recently mentioned in a thread on the Roosh V Forum. The members dissect the Repat Chronicles piece which explained my return to the States. In a departure from the When Readers Attack! series in which I destroy just one poorly educated reader, in this case I’ll respond to the whole mob. So I have to introduce myself to everybody coming by way of the forum, as some are new here.

Dear Roosh V Forum member,

I’m Colin Post, one of the baddest motherfuckers of all time. I’m one of the best writers in the history of Latin America. When I launched in 2008, there were no gringos blogging hardcore from the streets. My blog was immediately the best in class, the hardest shit on the continent. I’m an eminence. You’re in the presence of greatness. Welcome to Expat Chronicles, bitch, enjoy yourself.

The thread was posted by a longtime reader and resident in Bogota. The responses touch on many tangents I could have gone down in the original article, but I didn’t in order to keep it at least a little concise. The forum members took a lot of time in reading the original article, and they brought up many of the points I’ve been thinking about for years. So I’ll hit them all here (#longread).

To get an idea of the thread as a whole, I’m going to post the first critical response from, ahem, [cringe] Papi Rico.

“I’d love to stay in Lima … but I can’t afford it!”

He’s an entertaining writer overall, I agree, but his above conclusion in this post is highly misleading.

He is not being driven out by costs in Lima; he is leaving because his online businesses have failed to consistently produce income sufficient to sustain a 5-person family on a Western lifestyle.

The key here is that he appears to be going from location-independent blogging/e-commerce back into the 9-to-5 Corporate lifestyle. In other words, the fact that he is repatriating back to the US is entirely irrelevant. He’s simply going somewhere he’ll have a stable paycheck. This is something which is implicit in his writing but which he refuses to explicitly acknowledge.

I’m going on the 3rd month of my 6th trip here in Lima, so I have a few observations:

Lima is not expensive. My current monthly spend is at US$2,300, and anybody who knows me can attest that I have zero regard for lifestyle budgeting. My 750 sq.ft. Airbnb is in the center of Miraflores, one of the most sought-after districts in all of Peru, and hands-down the best for young people; total cost is $1,200 and that includes weekly cleaning and Airbnb fees. In the last month, I’ve cooked a total of 2 meals at home and went on 15+ dates. Gym is $40/month and cell data is $20/month for 6GB. Admittedly, I’ve taken time off clubbing but even with the alcohol spend I’d still be doing Lima like a king at under 3K/monthly.

In his blog he has a column called “Peru is rich as f*ck.” For some reason he attributes the installation of tile floors in a local meat/produce market as evidence of the Peruvian economy’s “new prosperity,” and seems awestruck by the fact that he’s having a hard time finding a maid who will work for $30/day. These weren’t troll pieces either.

Now this guy latches on to the idea of settling with his family in Lince, which is a Peruvian middle-class neighborhood where it’s possible for a single guy to live comfortably on under $600/month. I couldn’t fathom spending more than 2k/month for a family of 5 in Lince, when most Peruvian families in that district spend far, far less. Then he starts whining about the supposed impossibility of acquiring a 4-bedroom house in Lima, as if as an American he had zero access to financing back home. Unless he had zero or bad credit, he could have easily pieced together the $175k for the down-payment through a series of personal loans, at rates considerably below what any Peruvian bank would offer him. Was he not willing to stomach the risk of default? That’s another story. But I’m not going to sympathize with the “I’d love to stay in Lima, but I cannot find financing” bit.

Popping out 3 kids and deciding after-the-fact that they should attend a $25k/year high school is also a peculiar scenario. But what he says about the best private school in Lima being equivalent to an ordinary public school in the US seems right on the money. And that brings me to what I suspect is his true motive for going back home:

He’s simply fed up with being part of a society where the average individual’s IQ is in the low 80s and the only things on young people’s minds are Netflix and Social Media. And he probably doesn’t want that for his kids. In the last 2 months I haven’t met a single young local girl who has read more than a page-long excerpt of Mario Vargas Llosa (the country’s greatest ever writer and Nobel Prize winner). I say this with zero animosity or disdain towards the locals, as this is a trend that may be observed in most parts of the world today. And it has zero effect on my bachelor lifestyle. But would I want my offspring growing up amidst this cultural degeneration? Definitely not, though on the other hand, St. Louis…?

He also neglected to mention the crucial fact (again, based on inference) that his wife would go from a job paid either at 550 USD monthly (avg. salary for unskilled labor in Lima) or 900 USD monthly (avg salary for mid-level office jobs in Lima), to an hourly wage job with benefits in the States. That second income is as crucial as not forking over 300k USD just to put your 3 kids through high school (which of course is a ludicrous idea to begin with).

He made the right call and I’m in no position to judge a man with 3 kids and a wife, as that’s not something I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I wish him and his family the best in their new chapter. But this particular post had the tone of a sob story showing a lack of ownership for one’s past decisions, and appeared to be rife with mischaracterizations and omissions. It should be read accordingly.

First of all, we have to address this nickname that won’t fly here because I am a grown-ass man, dog (ain’t gonna call no ‘nother dude “Delicious”). So from here on, Daddy Delicious will be known as “PR.”

I have to draw a line in the sand on fake news. So I’m going to start with this part.

I’m going on the 3rd month of my 6th trip here in Lima, so I have a few observations…

Among expat circles it’s not polite to pull the seniority card since everybody respects the system. PR, however, is not really in the expat circle. He is a VISITOR, as opposed to a RESIDENT. The Peruvian government defines him on his visa as a TOURIST. We could say BACKPACKER, but I think the kids in the manosphere prefer names like DIGITAL NOMAD.

If you add up all those trips and months, chances are PR is in the midst of his FRESHMAN year in Peru. Other terms to describe PR in Peru include rookie, novice, beginner, apprentice, neophyte and greenhorn. He may not think of himself that way, but that is because most of his peers on the Roosh V Forum are also tourists. But this space is for expats (many readers are citizens in their new countries), and PR occupies the lowest rung on the totem pole of experience.

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, backpacker or digital nomad. While it’s a different community from expats, we have much in common in travel and exploring new cultures. We’re not completely foreign to each other. And while we resident expats have deeper knowledge of our chosen culture, the backpackers usually see more of Latin America, even if their knowledge of each region is only superficial.

It seems like a fun lifestyle from the outside looking in, but it was never for me.

Becoming a resident exposes you to a deeper layer of the culture with the following experiences, which residents have done most if not all while tourist have done few if any:

  • Obtaining healthcare services (surgery, stitches, insurance)
  • Paying bribes / going to jail
  • Signing contracts / initiating or responding to legal action
  • Gaining legal employment / working in a local company / incorporating and starting a local business
  • Marrying / having in-laws / starting a family and raising children
  • Processing government paperwork (residency / identification, paying taxes, signing affidavits)
  • Buying / selling property

Why am I playing the seniority card? Because PR bothers one of my apple carts, which is everything Lima. He’s crossed the line and must be put down.

Not only have I checked all those bullets except buying/selling property, I launched a journalism business which covered all political and economic news in Peru for two years, which included a presidential election. I have since pivoted to Lima tourism, and I published Amazon’s bestselling guidebook specific to Lima.

In other words, I wrote the fucking book on Lima. Not figuratively. I literally wrote the fucking book. PR, on the other hand, can count his time in trips and months. All his things fit into a suitcase or two. Or one of those giant backpacks the Euro-hippies wear.

There are certainly gringos around town who are more knowledgeable about Lima than I am, but (A) they didn’t write the fucking book and (B) PR is not one of them.

So I’ll let a lot of the speculation and opinion on my business and financial situation slide. I mean, who cares? But I won’t let the falsehoods about Lima or Peru pass. PR’s heart seems to be in the right place, but his head is up his ass. The tourist will be taken to school.

Cost of Living in Lima

Lima is not expensive. My current monthly spend is at US$2,300, and anybody who knows me can attest that I have zero regard for lifestyle budgeting. My 750 sq.ft. Airbnb is in the center of Miraflores, one of the most sought-after districts in all of Peru, and hands-down the best for young people; total cost is $1,200 and that includes weekly cleaning and Airbnb fees. In the last month, I’ve cooked a total of 2 meals at home and went on 15+ dates. Gym is $40/month and cell data is $20/month for 6GB. Admittedly, I’ve taken time off clubbing but even with the alcohol spend I’d still be doing Lima like a king at under 3K/monthly.

“Not expensive” is subjective. But I would argue that $2,300 is expensive for a single guy who is not spending much time in bars, much less hitting the after-hours spots fueled by cocaine (although the cocaine is cheap once you have a dealer who doesn’t specialize in tourists). Beers in the Miraflores bars start at $3 and I’ve paid as much as $10. The price of partying in Miraflores and Barranco is closer to Chicago than St. Louis.

Being the big bad motherfucker and iron veteran that I am, I will point out with 99% confidence that any gym in Miraflores that charges $40 per month will not allow the classic deadlift or Olympic lifts (no banging weights), and may not even have a safe place to squat heavy. And in the 1% chance that I’m wrong and there is a safe place to squat, it will be one sole rack which is usually occupied by dudes curling 40 kilos. There’s a 99% chance this gym’s equipment is most suitable for female and geriatric athletes, as well as those recovering from serious injury.

The serious strength athlete will have to go to a CrossFit, which you won’t find south of the Rimac River for less than $100 per month. If price is a consideration, better to nix weights altogether in favor of bodyweight training in the Malecon, which is free. For the Roosh V Forum members, it’s also the best place to see and be seen outside the bar setting. You know, day game, approaches and all that jazz.

The only reasonably priced gym for strength athletes I have found has a pending blog post on City of Kings. It will be at limacitykings.com/reeves-gym.

In his blog he has a column called “Peru is rich as f*ck.” For some reason he attributes the installation of tile floors in a local meat/produce market as evidence of the Peruvian economy’s “new prosperity,” and seems awestruck by the fact that he’s having a hard time finding a maid who will work for $30/day. These weren’t troll pieces either.

This paragraph was a bit of a wake-up call for me. The Peru is rich AF series has been criticized for applying mostly if not entirely to Lima, and could be named Lima is rich AF. And I’ll concede that. But you’ll also see rich AF indicators in the smaller cities, especially if you’ve been there for a while.

Then it dawned on me … I’m getting old. I turned 40 last week. The blog turned 10 last year.

I realized that maybe this blog has become something for old people, gringos who have been in Latin America for a long time. To somebody like PR, who has very little experience comparatively, none of those things seem out of the ordinary. He didn’t know what it was like five or 10 years ago.

I’d like to say there is some underlying truth or gotcha moment here, but it seems like misunderstanding here can simply be chalked up to one person’s perspective from having been down here a long time, and the other’s after a short time.

Maybe he never saw those food markets when the produce was still alive, sometimes scurrying into the walkways. He wasn’t around when a salary 50% above the minimum wage would attract a line of peasant women vying to fill the vacancy the very next morning after a maid was fired. And the line would be 10 deep!

I mean, the tile floors at the market floored me. I was shocked. The only way you wouldn’t be is if you haven’t been around Latin America for very long. And that’s the key, PR has no frame of reference here. He’s like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie …

No, these were not troll pieces. They are veteran expat pieces which simply don’t resonate with the younger, less experienced generation. I should almost thank PR. I’ve learned something here. There is a generation of neophytes out there who aren’t going to relate to my shit. And as in journalism, I should assume the reader knows nothing.

Now this guy latches on to the idea of settling with his family in Lince, which is a Peruvian middle-class neighborhood where it’s possible for a single guy to live comfortably on under $600/month.

While “comfortably” is subjective, it’s still patently false that a gringo que se respeta can live comfortably in Lince for under $600 per month. It’s well known that the Roosh V Forum is an alt-right hotbed for fake-news-ophiles who prefer sensational speculation the likes of InfoWars, Gateway Pundit and Telesur over real journalism. So let’s take PR on a trip down verification lane.

Here are the cheapest shitholes available in Lince on Urbania and Adondevivir:

Only two of these places are furnished. That kitchen in the $268 special comes with refrigerator and microwave, nothing else. So nix that one if you want to cook.

The owner cleverly cropped out the bed, which my educated guess says is a cot.

Above the $363 spot, and it looks suitable for a young bachelor. No refrigerator or range given the listing says “no amoblado,” but they may throw in the patio chair to go with the cheap desk. But kudos for the torero art! (Not that your $600 budget can afford a bullfight.)

All of these places would require a one-year lease, expenditure for electric and internet and, in at least two cases, furniture. Staying under $600 per month, that would leave you with $100 to $200 per month in spending money. That’s not comfortable even on Peruvian standards. Maybe Venezuelan standards?

And if you opt for that cheapest option, this is where you do your laundry. And of course cooking your rice and eggs in the microwave.

I couldn’t fathom spending more than 2k/month for a family of 5 in Lince, when most Peruvian families in that district spend far, far less.

PR can’t fathom spending $2,000 per month for a family of five primarily because he doesn’t have a family, but also because he doesn’t know Lince. So let me help fathom. Below are my old monthlies.

  • $770 rent for 3-bedroom-2-bath (nice but definitely not the nicest)
  • $150 electricity, cable, internet, phones (no data)
  • $110 health insurance
  • $250 daycare/pre-school for two (would’ve jumped to $375 when the baby turned two last month)

That’s $1300 per month as a baseline. Staying under $2,000 leaves about 600 soles per week for food, clothes, restaurants/entertainment and taxis. Food will easily eat half of that without going to restaurants. If you don’t have the cash to take your family to La Granja Villa or enjoy a spread at Jose Antonio, I’d say living in Lima is not worth it. Well, not in Lince anyway.

As for most Peruvian families in that district spending far, far less, I’m going to demand PR keep it real here. PR, you don’t know any families in Lince. Zero. It is true that there are some lower-middle-class families in Lince, but you don’t know them or how they live. You have no absolutely idea. You’re purely speculating.

The chart below shows economic data for the districts of Lima (NSE A is rich, NSE E is poor).. We’ll be referencing this market research again in this article. Get the full report. Or get just the page with the data below.

Zona 7 are the wealthiest in Lima, and Zona 6 are the next tier (most common is upper-middle). You can see that there is a clear difference, but it’s not that pronounced. And that’s accounting for the bluest blood in Peru in La Molina, Surco and San Isidro.

Even if you assume the bona fide middle class (NSE C) is capped at $2,000 (which it’s not), people living with less than that wouldn’t account for even a third of families in Lince. More than two thirds are upper-middle or upper class.

There are a few blocks in Lince home to NSE D families which make less than $2,000 per month, but they are far from “most.” They are a disappearing relic. Those streets are the old Afro-Peruvian and Creole families who have lived there forever. I actually admire them for holding on to their homes for this long, riding the boom in property values. But it’s just a matter of time before they sell to a developer who will knock down their houses and erect an apartment building. Most of the NSE D and E homes in this group are located in those dodgy San Miguel neighborhoods that border Callao.

From a later post:

My spend could sustain a family of 5-7 in Lince. He could easily rent a 4-br house for under 1k in Lince.

Let’s go back to the classifieds (Urbania and Adondevivir). There’s nothing four bedrooms under $1,000 per month, but there are four apartments ranging from $1,100 to $1,500). None of them are furnished (although two have furniture in the pictures). The one that costs just $1,100 comes with a $165 monthly maintenance / watchman fee while the others average $60 per month. The average rate for all of them is $1,400.

Whether PR’s spend of $2,300 could sustain a family of seven in Lince in a four-bedroom house depends on how much of his children’s welfare he’s willing to sacrifice for the benefit of living in the area. But right off the bat there would be no school or daycare for most of them. No health insurance either, but the public hospitals are amazingly cheap if you can tolerate the crowds. He might furnish the place with proper beds by spreading the total cost out over 12 months, but that would limit the family to arroz con huevo for every meal.

Suffice to say no restaurants, no vacations, no fancy entertainment. Defeats the purpose of living in the city. Might as well move to some provincial shithole.

Then he starts whining about the supposed impossibility of acquiring a 4-bedroom house in Lima, as if as an American he had zero access to financing back home. Unless he had zero or bad credit, he could have easily pieced together the $175k for the down-payment through a series of personal loans, at rates considerably below what any Peruvian bank would offer him. Was he not willing to stomach the risk of default? That’s another story. But I’m not going to sympathize with the “I’d love to stay in Lima, but I cannot find financing” bit.

I’m going to leave the first part of this alone. I’m not an expert in finance, but I had just assumed that an unsecured loan for $200,000 to buy foreign real estate was out of the question at any interest rate. I heard Countrywide got down like that in 2007. But even if I could get the money, I wouldn’t buy that dream house in Lince and it’s not because I’d fear default.

Two anecdotes. While still living in my three-bedroom-two-bath townhouse in Lince, I realized that we were going to need more space once my youngest outgrew the crib. So I hopped on Zillow to peruse the local home values. Now I know Zillow isn’t perfect, but that’s where I started.

I knew prices were high, but I was shocked to see that townhouse was in the mid 200s. Curious, I looked up the house I grew up in. To be clear, I was moved around a lot as a child so there wasn’t one house I grew up in. But there was one house where I spent all of about seven years. I was surprised to see its value estimated at half of the Lince townhouse. HALF.

This house in St. Louis has three bedrooms with two bathrooms, with a front and back yard and two-car garage. When I describe the neighborhood where I grew up, I often say it’s like the Simpsons. Standard, suburban middle America. A million kids. A big yellow bus that picks you up for school. And according to Zillow, that house is worth half as much as this apartment in central Lima.

There I was, trying to digest that, and the Lima place wasn’t even big enough! I need something bigger. The old house in St. Louis was big enough, and it’s in the United States, which means I wouldn’t have to pay for school.

As the head of a family, you would think about all that. And you can’t help but wonder, why is it so expensive here in Lima?

The answer is that properties are overvalued. Now I’ll make it clear that I’m not an economist and this is my opinion. But I’ll back it up with some data. Below are Peru’s housing prices in the aforementioned Groups 6 and 7 measured in dollars per square meter (source).

Lima housing prices $ per square meter (see my chart)

That’s a dramatic leap, even for the economic star of Latin America. Prices have almost quadrupled over a span of just 10 years. The other thing to keep in mind is that supply has probably grown just as fast. Before 2000, Lima was largely a two- and three-story city. Now there are towers everywhere. The skyline has completely transformed. So prices have spiked along with supply.

Below are U.S. housing prices over the same period, average sale price across the board (source).

U.S. average housing prices 2000-2018 (see my chart)

In the same time period that Lima’s house prices have more than tripled, U.S. house prices have not even doubled.

Housing prices in Peru should outpace those of the U.S. given it’s an emerging market as opposed to a mature one. But on the other hand, there has been monsoon of dollars in countries like Peru since the Great Recession.

When the developed world cut interest rates to zero AND injected dollars via quantitative easing to encourage economic activity, investors did not have a safe investment for their money. Anybody with cash who wanted a return was forced to put their money in stocks or emerging markets (or emerging market stocks). So there was a lot of easy money for Peruvians with access to credit (NSE A and B). And what is a perennial favorite among inexperienced investors? Real estate.

You can see the housing prices level off in 2013, year of the so-called taper tantrum. We’re heading into less bearish times for Peru with a slowdown in the United States (if not a recession) on the horizon. And while the Fed may hold interest rates this year, they’ll have to continue hiking eventually. That will continue to affect emerging markets. Peru’s largest trading partner, China, cannot continue its breakneck growth forever. With its empty cities, someday it will stop buying so much of Peru’s copper.

There hasn’t been a huge dip in property values, but I believe there will be. The questions are when and how much. I don’t think it will be as dramatic as what the United States saw in 2009, but it will be concentrated in the NSE A and B districts where I’m looking to buy.

I’m not trying to spend $400,000 on a house that falls in value to $300,000 after the event, whenever that event is. I’ve seen that movie before. Better to wait it out.

Then again, there are expats in Peru who have been predicting gloom for 10 years. They’re still waiting. In the meantime, my boy starts kindergarten next year and the baby will grow out of the crib soon. What would you do? I was a champion of renting for years. But when you have a family, something inside you craves something permanent. So I bought a house in St. Louis.

PR Doing Damage!

I’ve been picking exclusively on PR. Let’s follow the constructive criticism up with some positive feedback and encouragement. Look at this:

In the last month, I’ve cooked a total of 2 meals at home and went on 15+ dates.

Remarkable, 15+ dates in one month! I have never done that in my life, not even close.

Now let’s assume a close rate of 50%. I believe that’s a safe estimate given the kids today have web applications like Tinder, which is ripe with women known as “DTF.” Hence the higher close rate than what was possible with just a bottle of liquor and a couple grams of cocaine.

Assuming a close rate of 50%, PR would be having 7.5+ rides per month, which does not count repeat business. Counting the encore performances it’s certainly more than a dozen. Makes you wonder how he finds time to work!

But wait. What happens when PR has given these lucky ladies a ride on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, maybe two on Saturday and then yet another wants a taste on Sunday?

I’ll tell you what: WEAK SEMEN.

Has the following ever happened to you? You blow your load on the face or butt of your latest conquest and snap a cell phone pic of the result. But before you can send it to your forum bros to announce your latest flag, you notice the transparent, runny nature of the semen. Are you ashamed to send that, to be seen as a less virile man?

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Colombians Have More Money than God?

Now let’s get back to the thread. Here is DulceAcido:

Don’t think you’re gonna bring up 3 kids and send them to English-speaking private schools while you live in upper-middle-class suburbia and all this is gonna happen on pennies to the dollar just because you live in Lima. Wtf are you thinking? You are trying to live like a rich person. That’s what they do. Hate to break it to you (and it seems like the guy learned this) rich people in Perú are rich people. You want to live like them, unfortunately, you have to be rich, too.

I lived in Colombia, yes, it’s considered 3rd world. The people that lived around me had more money than God. They would be off-the-charts rich here in the US. This dude has mistaken a couple of facts. Yes, you’re in the 3rd world, but there are rich people there, too. And just because you have the gringo dollars, does not mean that there aren’t people surrounding you who are wealthy beyond comparison. You can’t live like them because you are not them.

Don’t be an expat who goes somewhere because you can stretch your dollar there, then you try to live like you’re living in ‘Merica, okay?

Can you go there and live like a wealthy vagabond for the rest of your life on $60k/year, yes, you can. Check that block if that’s what you want.

Can you go there and live the life of the “rich American” (or Peruvian, in this case) on $60k/year? No, you cannot. You know why? Because rich people make more than $60k/year.

DulceAcido appears to be agreeing with the idea behind the Peru is rich AF series. So you’d think that I would endorse this feedback, but it’s not exactly true either.

“More money than God” is again subjective. I would argue that the rich people of Colombia do not have more money than God. But to be more verifiable, we can say that they do not even have more money than Missouri.

According to the World Bank, Colombia’s GDP in 2017 was $314 billion. If Colombia were a state in the United States, it would have the 22nd largest economy (after Arizona and before Missouri). If it were a country in the EU, its economy would be ranked 16th (after Denmark and before Finland).

Likewise, Peru would be 27th in the United States between South Carolina and Alabama, and 20th in the EU between Portugal and Greece.

With an economy the size of Missouri’s, Colombia has a population eight times greater with 49 million. The same amount of wealth is spread out among eight times as many people. Inequality in Latin America and especially Colombia are more pronounced, but the United States is not exactly a paragon of equality.

Colombia’s billionaires. Source: Forbes

Colombia’s wealth isn’t so concentrated that it overcomes the vast population disparity, and that is evident in other indicators. Colombia has three billionaires, compared to at least five statewide in Missouri and as many as 10 just in the St. Louis area.

Peru’s billionaires

I was a little surprised to see that Peru has six billionaires, twice as many as Colombia … rich as fuck!

Analyzing these numbers was a defining moment in my expat trajectory some years ago. I had always dreamed of taking a brand big in an emerging market, the numbers were something of a turd in the punch bowl.

Even if I build my business to become a recognizable brand in every city in Peru, the bottom line will be comparable to if you had the same market penetration in Alabama. Or Greece. And if you did it in Colombia, it’d be like having a strong niche Missouri or Finland.

It’s just not a big pie, and there are a lot of people at the table. That explains why most expats I’ve met over the years don’t work in businesses catering to the local market, but a gringo market. Like my business. The customers pay me in dollars, pounds sterling and euros. No soles, no pesos.

To say the rich people of Colombia would be off-the-charts rich in the U.S. is just wrong. DulceAcido says he “lived” in Colombia, but I’m guessing DulceAcido is to Colombia as PR is to Peru, which is to say he maxed out a tourist visa once or twice.

Having gone beneath the surface, I know the Colombian and Peruvian upper classes are experts at projecting status. Where we were taught things like “all men are created equal” and “you can be president someday,” classism is in Latin’s DNA, and especially for those at the top.

I’ve met many of the crème in both Peru and Colombia. I’ve been in their homes, including one of the Maaji founders, the founders of Bahia sunscreen products and more. Yes, they’re rich on any country’s standards. But you’d be surprised that despite being in the ruling class or some insane 0.000001%, their annual incomes are around the mid to high seven figures. Most of the Latin aristocracy would be what Peter Thiel calls “single-digit millionaires.” Very few are “off the charts” in the States.

Can you go there and live the life of the “rich American” (or Peruvian, in this case) on $60k/year? No, you cannot. You know why? Because rich people make more than $60k/year.

A salary of $60,000 per year would in fact put you in the upper class in both Peru and Colombia. Neither country defines their socioeconomic levels by income, but the features of your housing. And in either country, you could live in the poshest parts of town on $5,000 per month, even with three children. It is true, however, that you would not be able to send your children to the most prestigious private schools. But you would live near the children that do, and eat at the same restaurants as their families.

In fact, if my business were doing well enough to pay myself $5,000 per month and still grow, that would have changed the calculus. I don’t think it would have changed the final decision given it wasn’t the only reason (somebody needs to manage the damn warehouse), but it would not have been such a no-brainer. There would have been a road map to where I wanted to be.

In summary, DulceAcido’s point is not completely wrong so much as greatly exaggerated. There is some money in Latin America now. You will no longer stroll into the upper crust. Both Peru and Colombia are upper-middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank.

But this is a fairly recent development. It was not always like this. If you were making $5,000 per month in Arequipa in 2008, you would have had the upper-class address and your three children in the top school. Go back a little further and that would have been enough money in Lima or Bogota.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, and forever before I assume, there weren’t gringos in the middling neighborhoods and definitely not the shitholes. Today you see them everywhere. There is no shithole neighborhood empty of gringos, and increasingly no menial job that a gringo isn’t doing somewhere.

Again we see a neophyte perspective from what seems to be a fairly recent arrival in DulceAcido, assuming things were always as they are today.

Most of Peru is Poor?

So we’re going to pivot from that ill-informed view to the opposite extreme, also ill-informed, from Noktrnl:

This is entirely it. The guy is delusional thinking that simply moving down to South America would automatically make him an expat. Real expats, or at the least the ones that he’s dreaming of, are hosted on an expat package where housing and your kids’ tuition are covered for you.

The definition of “exapt” has been debated ad nauseum. I delivered my own two cents just to counter the social-justice warriors alleging the term is racist (here, here and here). While I still think there’s nothing wrong with having a distinct word for immigrants and temporary workers from rich countries going to poor countries, regardless of race, I’m not too fond of those articles anymore. Mostly because of how common it is getting for the major news organizations to refer to the Venezuelan migrants as “expats.” Because according to the dictionary definition, don’t be a xenophobe, the chamos hawking trinkets on the Via Expresa are expats too.

But under any definition, simply moving down to South America does in fact make somebody an “expat.” What Noktrnl’s thinking of here is a corporate assignment, which is not required under any common definition.

Most of Peru is still poor. He’s just looking up at what the upper crust have, rather than looking down at what 99.9% of the poor have to deal with.

This is at best misleading and at worst grossly inaccurate. Let’s go back to verification lane. Below is the data of Peruvians living in poverty.

See my chart.

If defining “poor” as living in poverty, and “most” as more than half, it has not been true that most of Peru is poor since 2005, when 55% of Peruvians lived in poverty. That was before I arrived, and I imagine the expats who were here back then really see a rich-AF effect.

The red trendline is extreme poverty, which Peru’s statistical agency defines on a moving scale based on the cost of the basic food basket. In 2017, extreme poverty mean earning less than $55 per month. The percentage of Peruvians living in extreme poverty has declined from 16.4% in 2004 to just 3.8% in 2017.

Let’s go back to the market research report which details socioeconomic data.

Above is the breakdown of social class in Lima. I’ve conceded that the Peru is rich AF series and this blog in general is over-representative of the capital. But that’s where most gringos live, and these numbers would be similar in the other largest cities (Arequipa, Trujillo).

The diamond shape illustrates why it’s so hard to keep a maid. A mere 6% of the population is poor as in bona fide lower class. This is a historic development for Peru, for most of Latin America, which I attribute to market liberalization and orthodox economic policies, uninterrupted for almost 30 years. Peru is Latin America’s economic star of the 21st century. Fuck yeah!

Above is the distribution of “urban Peru,” which counts all the cities with a population of at least 20,000. Given that is still a pretty small town, this measure doesn’t look at big cities so much as it excludes those subsistence farmer peasants in the rural peripheries from the Amazon jungle to the peaks of the Andes, where many locales are not reachable by car. Over three quarters of households are included in “urban Peru.”

A slim majority (51.5%) are in the lower-middle and lower classes. I personally wouldn’t call all of the NSE D “poor,” but that’s debatable. Many families at that level have cars. Most have flat-screen TVs. Some will visit Disneyworld in their lifetimes.

Here is the distribution for all of Peru, including the jungle Indians and the altiplano peasants who speak Spanish as a second language (or not at all). And according to this measure, a majority of Peru (62%) falls in either the lower-middle or lower class. This is a more typical distribution in Latin America culture, being bottom heavy. But given where Peru was just 20 years ago, when a majority lived in poverty (not just NSE E), it’s still a happy ending.

Just a little nuance to all the social-class talk. Next up is CleanSlate:

So the premise he is putting out is that it’s cheaper to raise a family in America than abroad.

That is not the premise. Here is the premise: I would rather live a working-class or middle-class lifestyle in the United States than anything less than upper-middle-class in Lima.

LatAm: What is it Good For?

Sidney Crosby:

Long story short, 3rd world countries are good to pork sluts but not raise multiple kids will trying to keep up with the Garcias.

This comment garnered chuckles from readers who emailed me their thoughts on the thread. And I would have chuckled too if it didn’t reinforce a common stereotype about gringos in Latin America: that we’re only there for pussy, that we can’t get laid back home, etc. It’s pretty tired. I imagine expats around the world from Asia to Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, hear the same shit.

I can’t speak for all third-world countries, but for the record I would argue that Latin America is good for much more than porking sluts.

For example, Peru has incredibly cheap cocaine, and it’s unbelievably pure. A gram of average quality is about $5, and you can get purer than you’ll ever taste in Gringolandia for just $10. As I like to say, it’s cheaper than beer.

On a serious note, that’s not all. Most cities have a lovely climate that never gets too hot or too cold. Cities like Lima and Mexico City have long histories and amazing architecture. Countries like Peru, Mexico and Argentina have great cuisine that makes every meal a pleasure.

Other countries like Brazil, Colombia and Argentina have the wildest partying on the planet. Anywhere in Latin America is great for partying. If you’re a person who likes loud music, drinking and laughing, there is nowhere on Earth better than Latin America. And my favorite part about that is how difficult it is to go to jail. Seriously, you have to be a real asshole to commit a crime worthy of getting locked up in LatAm, and on top of that a real dickhead if you can’t negotiate a bribe to get out of it.

Latin people are really nice. Granted much of that is superficial, but they are easy to get used to. When you’ve spent as much time as I have, it’s hard coming back to Gringolandia. People are so uptight. And of course COLD.

Finally, every Latin American city I’ve seen is pedestrian-friendly. You don’t have to drive a goddamn car to get around. While that lifestyle is common in Europe, there are only a few cities in the United States like that and they’re expensive AF (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco). It is possible to live without a car in St. Louis if you’re willing to annoy your family (somebody always has to pick you up for events in the burbs), and I did that for two years, but that’s just because I’m a big bad ass. I would not do it with a family. I would not subject my wife or children to the areas and situations around certain public transportation centers you inevitably have to face at night when you don’t have a car.

But in Latin America you can get most daily errands done on foot. Occasionally you have to catch a bus or a taxi. But you don’t have to bother with driving, finding a parking spot, buying insurance, filling the gas tank, getting the oil changed, changing flat tires, breaking down and paying to get it fixed. It’s really nice not having to do any of that stuff, and walking is better for your body.

So yeah, Latin America is good for much more than just porking sluts. Cocaine, partying, not going to jail and other stuff too. Like food and climate.

Latin America is a fun place to live. It’s safer and more affluent than ever before, and the United States is not perfect. Living here is not going to be all champagne and chicken nuggets. We actually did it for over a year when I went broke in 2013, and we were miserable. It was good for the wife to see and learn a little about my country, but she never stopped bothering me to move back to Peru. She was so impatient she ultimately relinquished her green card before getting American citizenship. We had to go through the whole visa process again this time!

Here’s the well-known expat in Colombia and old contributor at Expat Chronicles, Rubio, on his two-year repatriation stint:

Me personally, I had to repatriate in 2016 due to the peso crashing a year previously. I spent almost two years back up north, in Canada and in the US. HATED it. Couldn’t wait to get back, and got back at almost the first opportunity. People may think I’m crazy but I missed mostly the people, but also things like the good cheap professional services, the culture, the nightlife, etc. And definitely the women…

Dammit, he couldn’t leave that last bit out?

Education for the Children

CleanSlate:

Why couldn’t he just send his kids to a local school in Lima without the outrageous fees, and fill in the gaps of that education himself? There are tons of educational material online, learning apps, books, and resources he could use… AND he could direct the supplemental curriculum the way he wants to!

I’ve always thought parents SHOULD be taking an active role in the education of their own offspring.

That’s how I always envisioned the father I would be. But when that time came, that father I was NOT. I never read to the children, which is a little amazing not just to me but my gringo family. They have pointed out that I read 25 books or more every year. I have hundreds in each my Kindle library and my hard copies. It’s a huge part of my life. Why don’t I read to my children?

The kids never want to listen. I’m not going to force them to sit still and be quiet if they don’t want to. It’s not like I want to be reading that shit either. It’s boring. Have you ever read Where the Wild Things Are since becoming an adult? I can’t understand why anybody would want to make a movie of it. Is he one of the dudes who hung out at Neverland?

I don’t help the children with their homework either. The wife does 90% of it, maybe more. It’s boring too. A B Cs, numbers. You got it, babe.

I like to tell myself that will change when they get older and the subjects get more complex, when they study history, civics or literature. But then again, maybe not!

In taking stock of what I’ve taught the children, I can pat myself on the back for the physical education. I have introduced the boy to boxing, baseball, basketball, (his favorite) hockey and, yes, even soccer. He can do box jumps, tuck jumps, 180 jumps, broad jumps, feet on fire, squats, lunges and pushups from his knees.

We used to race each other in Parque Castilla. I’d place him 10 yards from the finish line and myself 20. I soon had to make it 15. He wants to go again and again, like a dog. He doesn’t want to rest between sprints, while I need at least a few if not several minutes.

But academic education has not yet begun. I’m biding my time.

NoMoreTO:

Simply put, you could hire one person to teach your kids down there for the price of one kid $18,500 and the caliber of person you would get would be through the roof. Fuck he could actually teach his kids how to code. Along with some based history.

That’s an interesting idea I hadn’t thought about. But as Tully Mars points out, there is also a social angle.

I certainly don’t think I would have the time or energy it requires to sit with 3 children after working all day to make sure they completed their work to a satisfactory level. Not to mention the social aspects of going to school…Home schooling often produces social retards from not playing or being around other children 7-8 hours a day.

Here’s Rubio, whose children grew up in the States:

My kids are in the US and one of them is already grown now, but I would have no problem raising kids here in Bogota. However, nobody who can avoid it or cares at all about their children send them to public school here. Literally less than half of all kids go to public schools in this country. In nicer neighborhoods in Bogota they don’t even BUILD public schools. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, however. There are plenty of decently priced good quality private schools that charge less than $100 a month for a kid to go there, and of course they offer multiple child discounts as well. There are also schools that charge in line with what they quoted Colin, but I think they are a waste of money, and they are prestigious in name only. Often those are the schools that are LEAST demanding on the kids actually.

There is a wonderful anecdote from one of the upper-class private schools in Medellin from a gringa woman who taught there for a couple years. See Teaching at Colombian Colegios (A Warning). And that all ties into the next point: are fancy private schools worth the price?

In the many studies and analyses I’ve read about educating children, the most academically sound children are home-schooled. But that’s out. Regardless of the fact that I don’t even read to them now, fuck that shit.

I believe the main determinant of the student’s academic success is the student himself. Raising mature children with good judgment is the best route.

One of the St. Louis billionaires is Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. Dorsey graduated from Du Bourg, a private school in south city. My gringa ex went there, it’s not an elite private school. It’s a middle-class parochial school that’s accessible to the working classes, basically one of the options for white people in south city to avoid traumatizing their children with Roosevelt (the St. Louis Roosevelt, not the Lima Roosevelt).

I once met a couple of the original programmers who grew up with Dorsey in St. Louis’s 1990s programming scene and worked with him on Twitter and Square. They went to Lindbergh, your standard American public school. Absolutely standard … not good, not bad … and it produced these geniuses.

The two most educated guys I know well went to a high school which is 90% black, and they’re white. To be sure, it’s not a no-income, inner-city school. It’s a working-class area in the suburbs, so there is a degree of safety but suffice to say not among the most esteemed public schools in Missouri. And I asked them for this post, what’s the secret?

Here’s Chuck, master in economics (in an email):

“It is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix.” — Chinese proverb

I think part of the reason Steve and I did so well was because we were the head of a chicken. Or in English, big fish in a small pond.

From an article I happened across recently, “a child in the ‘high-ability classes’ (the little fish in the big ponds) will often feel less confident about their academic potential, compared to someone of equal ability who was not surrounded by high-achievers (the big fish in the little ponds). Far from being an ego boost, attending a prestigious school can actually make you feel more stupid, quenching their motivation and reducing their chances of success.”

This isn’t the only place I’ve read this. At our school you could be an athlete, or be in the smart classes, or theater, or whatever. All you had to do was sign up and you made the cut.

Growing up, my only exposure to upper-class, private-school kids was club soccer. Most of my teammates were better than I was, but half of them didn’t play all the way through high school. They were benched freshman year at CBC or wherever and later quit. I was starting center midfielder on the varsity team sophomore year, captain by junior year.

Here’s Steve, PhD in engineering (in an email):

I spent three years in “normal” schools and realized one thing: I was no longer a unique and talented protégé. My grades were sub-par, my poster/presentations were embarrassing (we did not have the money for some of the crazy diorama shit that some of the kids did) and the level of competition was crazy. I felt like I was a step behind the whole time.

Once I went back to [our school], I was crushing classes. The only hard class I had was calculus. I worked hard in that class and so I had some study habits to fall back on when college came along. I have to say I felt like I could do anything. I even almost applied to MIT if it wasn’t for the $50 application fee, so my cheap ass did not get it. I went on and did not have any fear or taste of failure academically. 

That being said, I went to college and struggled freshman year. I worked hard just to get a 3.0! I had to learn how to learn all over again. [Our school] taught me the information, but not the work ethic. The fancy schools and universities are great once those work habits are established. If you work with the kids and teach them not to quit when shit is tough while they are young, the better schools later is fine.

On the importance of competition in academia, Chuck:

Regarding competition, there are tradeoffs, probably with some sweet spot in the middle. Send them to high school in Sedalia, for example, and your son might be starting quarterback, then after graduating try to embalm himself in the town, get a job in construction and hang out at the town’s main dive bar with his old high school friends. Everyone knows a few of those guys.

At the other extreme, I think parents who send their kids to those super competitive schools are doing them a disservice. I’m thinking of my ex in DC. Her parents sent her to this high school after intensive studying for the entrance exam. You should have seen her yearbook. There were more student organizations than there were students, including some weird club for Japanese bamboo sword fighting. She was in four clubs (president of one) and had shitloads of homework. She said she practically lived at the school. So did everyone else. By the time she got into University of Virginia she was burned out, partied hard and did the bare minimum to get through.

Having these two as my most educated friends is subject to sample bias given the university I went to, which generally attracts good students from not-so-good schools and not-so-good students from good schools. Good students from good schools don’t go to UMSL, so I wouldn’t have met them in college.

But outside college, I’ve met loads of dipshits from fancy schools. I worked on Delmar in U City near Washington University, which is arguably the most prestigious university between Chicago and California. And many of those students were idiots.

I myself went to one of the nicer public schools in St. Louis, but I was a screw-up with no drive. I participated in zero extracurricular activities. I never even went to a football game. All my friends were dropouts, and all I cared about was getting drunk and high. I could have been at the best high school in the world, I was only going to do the bare minimum to graduate.

So if that’s what I think about the importance of the school, why in hell am I even considering Roosevelt in Lima?

Because the main value in private schools is the social network, the contacts students make there. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

I think that saying is less important in the United States, which is more of a meritocracy, at least when it comes to schools. After all, another billionaire on the Missouri list is David Steward, who went to the public high school of some cow town I had never heard of.

But in Latin America there is a much smaller pie and many more people, the classism is in the DNA and the old-boys network is hundreds of years older and more mature than that of Gringolandia. If I’m going to send children to school in Latin America at all, that is where an investment in the top school will pay a good dividend.

Hence, I would like to at least have the option someday.

PR:

And if he were hell-bent on that top American school, he’d find a way to work for the State Department or directly for the school itself as an employee, thereby entitling his children to tuition waivers.

PR is new here. He doesn’t know the score. I have priors. I couldn’t get a job as a mailman.

Even if those were wiped, my time in Colombia brought me brief notoriety among the embassy circles, and that would have been the proverbial icing on the cake of the diplomatic blacklist. See these old gems:

So as much as I would love to work at the embassy, or even just have the kinds of people who work there as friends, I would not get hired.

PR:

In many cases, Americans abroad have this (delusional) perception that they are esteemed members of an expat community and must therefore send their kids to the most prestigious private school in town. It’s a status thing.

In my case it’s not delusional. I’m esteemed!

The-dream:

The wannabe-Westerner upper class international school produced guys are probably even more repulsive to me than the average poor somewhat primitive local.

This is an interesting paradox. The rich kids in Latin America can be real cunts. Obnoxiously pompous, arrogant, pretentious and at the same time inept! They’re not good at anything besides being upper-class. But at the same time, the bad ones give a bad rap to all of them, including the ones who are actually not bad.

It’s not popular to say but often the most competent Latins are in fact from the upper class. My closest friends over the years (not counting deporteds) were aristocrat types. It’s just a matter of weeding out the dickheads and finding sensible ones.

If my children were to grow up in Lima as half gringos in the NSE A or B, it’s very possible they cop that stuck-up attitude and put on airs. How do you ensure they have the sensible values of the heartland? By having them spend a good part (or all) of their youth in the heartland. And that was always part of the plan.

PR:

He’s simply fed up with being part of a society where the average individual’s IQ is in the low 80s and the only things on young people’s minds are Netflix and Social Media. And he probably doesn’t want that for his kids. In the last 2 months I haven’t met a single young local girl who has read more than a page-long excerpt of Mario Vargas Llosa (the country’s greatest ever writer and Nobel Prize winner). I say this with zero animosity or disdain towards the locals … But would I want my offspring growing up amidst this cultural degeneration?

The average literacy in Latin America was covered here. It’s true. And for years I would grant the point that I should consider going back to the States for the sake of the children’s education … but not after 2016.

I no longer concede that Americans are more educated than Peruvians ever since the election of Donald Trump as president in the same year that Peru elected the man who may have been the most qualified candidate in the world. Granted Trump didn’t win a plurality of votes, but he garnered enough to win the election under the rules of our system.

And it’s surreal.

He holds these political rallies where everybody is wearing red hats and shouting, “LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP!” Not “BEAT HER AT THE POLLS” or “SEND HER HOME.” They are talking about jailing his electoral opponent. These aren’t Venezuelans in the early 2000s, these are Americans today!

His signature issue is to build a Great Wall of China, but in the United States on the southern border with Mexico. He wants to build this Great Wall of China from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and the icing on the cake is that Mexico is going to pay for it. And the people in red hats go wild! They believe this shit. These aren’t courtiers of the Ming Dynasty, these are Americans today!

The guy’s so full of shit it has spawned an entire mini-industry inside the journalism industry: fact-checking. A major source of his demonstrable falsehoods is his Twitter account, where the inaccuracies are only the half of it. What’s worse is spelling and grammar! It’s one thing to get casual on Whatsapp in a foreign language with your squeeze, but you’re the goddamn POTUS. Spelling and grammar, man!

I know many Trump voters who are not ignorant or poorly educated. Some are simply partisan Republicans. They’ll never vote for a Democrat, period. Or they’re one-issue voters. They’ll only vote Republican because that’s who cuts taxes, or because they oppose abortion. So it didn’t matter if it was Trump, Kasich or anybody else in that primary.

So while there do exist Trump voters who are not poorly educated rubes, most of them are. About a third of the country is completely brainwashed. You can see them on Facebook or Twitter. They’ve brainwashed themselves, voluntarily. One of the few accurate things Trump has said is that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose support.

So no, I don’t think raising children among people of the United States or at least Missouri gives them an inherent intellectual advantage over Peru. And I am shocked to be saying that, even after two years in.

BBinger:

In Saint Louis City and many of its suburbs the public schools are going to be awful and dangerous. The city itself suffers open violence along ethnic lines. Most cities in LATAM attracting expats are going to be safer than St Louis City.

I grew up near there, both my brothers live in St Louis City now. One hates it, but hates the commute more. The other has a wife with activist leanings working for an AIDS charity intent on saving African in America, when they had a baby he pushed to move to a suburb for the schools and safety. She pushed him to instead purchase a Pintrest friendly converted firehouse centrally located in the city. He bought the firehouse. The kids too young for them to have crossed the public versus private school rubicon yet, but…

In my current city of choice I can walk at all hours without being targeted for crime based on the color of my skin. In Saint Louis city, my light skin would make me a target for racially motivated crime. Here people steal things, usually unattended things. Back in Saint Louis, the knockout game is a thing. Assaults happen because a certain demographic’s kids make a sport out of suckerpunching pedestrians.

We don’t live in St. Louis city. But we’re not far, and we’re certainly not far enough to be sheltered from the elephant in the room BBinger is referring to: black people. I probably differ from the alt-right types on Roosh’s forum here, but I don’t see racial diversity and specifically African-American culture as a bad thing.

The “knockout game” is mostly myth. Random assaults for kicks, however, are very much a thing. But white people are not the only victims, and they are sometimes perpetrators. I’ve seen it with my own eyes (south city in the 90s). Maybe random assaults are more common in St. Louis, but they occur throughout America and Europe too. But I never saw one in Latin America (not one!).

I believe there are pros to raising a boy in a place like St. Louis. In Lima, he is bigger and stronger than almost all the other children his age. Now that would be great to build his confidence. But at some point in the physical arena you want your boy to face a little competition, and in Peru that will never happen. You don’t get to be a big bad ass like me growing up in Peru playing soccer, know what I mean?

Playing any sport besides soccer in Peru and Colombia takes a bit of effort. I played basketball in both countries and finding appropriate competition takes work. You have to get into the scene, FB and Whatsapp groups. You can’t just show up to the closest court where people play pickup games, unless you want to be like Lebron playing with Peru’s national selection. Not for me. I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.

St. Louis has more of a boxing scene than the whole of Peru. I know where two of the top spots are in Lima, and the one for children is well out of the way. And if he grows up to six feet and 175 pounds by 18 years old, he may not have any opponents.

Baseball has exploded with the invasion of the chamos, but even if they stay forever (and I believe most will) it’s still more difficult and time-consuming to participate in than basketball. And without the cultural legacy and competition, it’s doubtful they’ll ever get very good. Definitely not compared to growing up in Missouri.

American football and hockey simply don’t exist.

The original post I’m responding to is about crime, which I just dismissed and converted into raising the boy among strong men. When I went broke years ago, a tornado tore hell through St. Louis and I got lots of work on my cousin’s lawncare crew. After five years in LatAm, that experience reminded me that the heartland is home to corn-fed dudes like me with thick forearms and broad shoulders. It made me proud to be from Missouri, something I hadn’t felt in years. And I want my boy to have some of that in him.

Expat-Immigrant Debate Again (Sort Of)

Yankeetravels:

But, this leads me to my question. What are we as forum guys looking for in the long term? Are we looking to stay unattached to anything while growing our individual resources and travel the world? Are we looking for a few bases? Are we looking for a wife in another country and to start a life with her there, in a neutral country, or back in our home?

In this case, we’re basically raising the question of if it’s worth traveling to other countries if it’s only for a temporary number of years to just end up back in the west? I’d argue the answer is an emphatic yes. However, I do think topics like this are signs that the forum is in a new stage of travel/life/game development where the average age of the community is getting older, so questions like this start to come up about where and how to spend later chapters of our lives that may not have even crossed the minds of a lot of guys a few years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised by this passage. There are some older guys with mature comments on that thread, but this yank is apparently a kid. The self-awareness and curiosity was refreshing. And then CleanSlate, whose comments were not very impressive up to this point, followed that up with a great one.

I also think we, as a group, are entering uncharted waters. Even if we intend to return to the west after traveling abroad, unplanned things may happen during our travels.

We may change our minds about going back. We may meet an unicorn and get married. We may knock up a girl accidentally once (or in the OP’s case, 3 times, hmm). We may even live a higher quality of life than we did in the West. Plus, we all know the dangers of bringing back a girl to the West. And we know some of our buddies who went back for a while and they hated it.

I wish the best for the OP, but something tells me he will regret it a few years later.

It all comes down to what you want, what kind of lifestyle, and even what you want for your kids. What happens if there are conflicting desires, though?

We never really thought about this or experienced it to really give answers.

The forum guys may not have given this much thought, but we expats certainly have. I certainly have, and I arranged my answers thus far to be moving in that direction. You’ve already glimpsed a lot of my thinking on this, but now I’m going to spell it out.

The dictionary definition of “expat” (temporarily abroad) is mutually exclusive from “immigrant” (permanently abroad). But under my preferred definition, the “white privilege” and common use of the word, expat and immigrant are not mutually exclusive. If a gringo settles down in LatAm and stays forever, he’d be both an expat and an immigrant in my book.

When I took the plunge in 2008 and named this blog Expat Chronicles, I was full of uncertainty. If anything, I felt deep in my heart that I would probably fail in carving out a life in Latin America. There was a deep-seeded fear that I would return home with my tail between my legs.

A decade later, that thinking has reversed. I know I can carve out a life for myself in Lima or pretty much any other city in Latin America, and it wouldn’t be a bad life. But now that I know Latin America intimately well, the question is: “Do I really want that?”

It’d be one thing if I were retired, single or even married without children. But kids change everything. And the question is, do you want your children to be American? Not in legal status, they’ll have that. All mine have blue passports. But do you want them to share your nationality culturally?

Over the years you meet the children of bicultural marriages who are your age or even older. And without exception, if they were raised in South America, they speak English with a Spanish accent. They’re not American, English or Irish like you are. They’re Peruvian, Colombian or whatever. Maybe you’re fine with that. But maybe you’re a xenophobic, sexist pig like me and you’re fine with that for the girls, but you want the boy to be a chip off the old block. An American boy.

Maybe you’re OK with the children being a bicultural mix. So what about your grandchildren? They’ll be completely Peruvian, with just one of their last names to show there was any gringo blood to begin with.

The best-case scenario any gringo could possibly hope for is the Lindley case study. The Lindleys were the British family that invented Inca Kola. Inca outsells Coca-Cola in Peru. It was acquired by Coca-Cola, and the Lindley family controls all Coca-Cola distribution in Peru. On top of that, they recently launched the Tambo+ convenience stores you see everywhere. They’re minted.

That man speaking is Johnny Lindley, president of the company and great-grandson of the founder. Nothing English left in him except the name. Not that it matters when you’re that rich (company does $700 million in annual sales).

But for you, expat reader, what if you don’t leave much of a financial legacy behind? Does it matter to you that they’re culturally Peruvian? Beyond the offspring you’ll know in your life, do you give any thought to the fourth generation and beyond? Do you want your last name and bloodline to become completely Peruvian?

I couldn’t help but think of the Italian emigration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Millions of Italians left for the Americas. The most poverty-stricken ones and the Sicilians went to the United States, while those with some money went to Argentina, Brazil and Peru.

For Italians who had resources, going to Ellis Island and being treated like scum would have been dreadful. On the other hand, the countries of Latin America had a similar language and culture. They could land right into the middle or even upper class. Go visit La Punta del Callao to see their legacy.

But how did those decisions work out for the next generations? Some did well, but in general the ones who went south were left behind by those that went north. The porteños in Buenos Aires don’t have it nearly as good as the guidos in New York. Many would have suffered serious political and economic turmoil over the years. The Rudy Giulianis and Robert de Niros, the Italian-Americans you know personally – their forebears were the illiterate monkeys 100 years ago!

Maybe it’s silly to feel a sense of responsibility to the future generations of my line whom I’ll never meet. But betting on Peru may not be a wise choice even for me, much less the children. Thirty and 40 years ago, Venezuela was seen as one of the strongest democracies in LatAm. It attracted thousands of immigrants. Now they are fucked in their old age.

Peru has had a good run for the last 20 years, but that doesn’t mean there is no political risk. Over the long run, it has been a basket case. And while the United States is in a difficult time right now, it’s just a bump in the road and I believe it will emerge stronger. Over the long run, America’s political system is second to none.

PR:

He also neglected to mention the crucial fact (again, based on inference) that his wife would go from a job paid either at 550 USD monthly (avg. salary for unskilled labor in Lima) or 900 USD monthly (avg salary for mid-level office jobs in Lima), to an hourly wage job with benefits in the States. That second income is as crucial as not forking over 300k USD just to put your 3 kids through high school (which of course is a ludicrous idea to begin with).

Wife was a homemaker in Lima. But here she will be a nurse, and I will take on much more of the homemaking … because I am a dominant alpha male and what I say goes. I make all the rules and she does as she’s told. When I say “Jump,” she says, “How high?”

And what I want to be at this stage is a homemaker. I want to make the home. It’s going to be metal as fuck. I’m going to be the real man of the house!

I’ll have to take it slow of course. Don’t want to get burned out. The wife’s been doing these tasks for so long, she can certainly keep the habits in addition to the new job while I get adjusted. So my plan is to start with just doing the washing just the pots and pans. After a fortnight or two, I think it will be safe to start doing my own laundry.

And we’ll see how it goes from there. It’s been so long, you know, I probably need proper training. Safety first. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The most important thing is to take it slow and not overextend myself.

Roosh V Forum: Is it Toxic?

Again, a link to the original forum thread.

I’ve addressed everything I wanted to address about Lima, Latin America and my thinking about the move. Now I want to address the forum itself. I’ve developed some of these ideas over years and this thread provides a perfect opportunity to share them.

Reading through that thread as an outsider is almost painful. I wanted to call it “toxic masculinity,” but I know that is a sensitive word that may turn off the forum members I’m directing this message to (too many snowflakes in the manosphere). Did you see them getting triggered by that innocuous Gilette ad? Stop getting owned by the libs, you betas!

I would not call what’s on that thread “toxic masculinity,” but it is toxic. It’s acidic. Uncivil. And that’s not exclusive to the Roosh V Forum. You see that on all forums, and I attribute it to the users hiding behind anonymity, or what Jeff Jarvis calls the “cloak of cowards.”

Nobody talks like that in real life because you would face consequences. Not just the risk of getting beat the fuck up, but you’d face consequences to your credibility and reputation. I always blogged using my real picture, and began using my full name in 2009. Doing that forces you to be accountable for your message, and that improves the quality of what you say.

I understand there are members of the forum who want to engage but do not want to doom their corporate careers by being associated with the forum of a guy who has an extensive profile with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Or they work in industries in which reputation is vital, like banking, law or government.

I also understand some guys just want to indulge their sexual desires while they’re young and don’t want their participation in the forum to follow them later in life, when they grow up.

But you can still take some measures with your profile / persona that will keep you honest but not come back to bite you. For example, you can use just first name and your hometown. Or you can keep the stupid handle, but use a real picture. When you walk away from the forum, just change it.

What’s the point? It improves the content. One forum member who preferred not to be identified called the thread an “idiocracy.” Using your true identity forces you to be more careful about the accuracy of what you post, thus improving the message. But more importantly, it doesn’t do any harm. Because posting anonymously is like wearing gloves to lift weights.

(skip to 0:28 seconds)

If you’re wearing gloves or publishing anonymously, you’re holding yourself back. You can’t lift as much weight. There is just no point, unless of course you want to continue giving your boyfriend smooth hand jobs with your velvety hand skin. Dirty barbells, calluses, using your real name, owning your message … This is your heritage. This is your Ellis Island!

Forum member John says in an email: “RVF has gone downhill in recent years. I don’t think it’s an issue with toxic masculinity, it’s just ignorant people posting anonymously on a message board … ”

And with that, we’ll pivot to a different point. See this from Womb Raider:

No way would I bring a hot Peruvian wife back to the U.S. Even if she is, say, a 5 — I haven’t seen her pictures. Even if she has three kids.

The thirst is extreme.

And Kazz:

I think a lot of the perceived problem with bringing a foreign girl back home is because of this sort of thing…… Then word gets around, oh the hypergamy of these women!!

I understand that it is important to degrade women in your own mind if you want to be having sex with many of them. You have to knock them down to beneath your level if you’re going to have the confidence to seduce them, and consistently dehumanizing all of them on a regular basis is an effective way of doing that. It’s training your mind.

While the PUA manosphere achieves that in complex ways, there are simpler ways to do it. The most prominent example is the use of “bitches” and “hos” in rap culture. If you just remove “women,” “girls” and “ladies” from your vocabulary and substitute “bitches” and “hos,” you can achieve the same effect without having to cherry-pick themes from evolutionary psychology and whatnot.

But some men aren’t so simple. Different strokes for different folks.

It makes me wonder though, how consistent are they? Womb Raider, is your mother’s thirst extreme? Kazz, what about your mother’s hypergamy?

Have your mothers had sex with dozens if not hundreds of dudes, done orgies and all that? What about your sisters and female cousins? Are they all lusty sluts constantly vying for the next big dick?

And what about your dad? Was he just some dupe your mother tricked into raising you? Is your real father some swaggering alpha out there, still living the dream? Was your legal father just some cuck who was tricked into raising you? And what about your married brothers (half brothers probably), are they the same kind of wimp as your old man?

To be a true player for life, you have to believe all that. And to believe all that, you have to be a real son of a whore. Not figuratively like “hijo de puta” or “son of a bitch.” I mean the son of a whore. The son of a prostitute, raised in a ho house. Like Too Short probably was.

Because anybody who had any semblance of normalcy in their family is eventually going to like one woman more than all the others. It’s natural to arrange an exclusivity agreement with a woman and start a family. It’s not natural to be like Chazz from Wedding Crashers.

Domestication has been a boon for me personally. As evident in the blog, I’m prone to substance abuse and trouble. The way I was living in Bogota, I was headed to prison. Hell, if I didn’t tone down the blog, I very well may have been killed. It doesn’t take much in Colombia.

But having a wife and children around me most of the day, seeing them the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night does something for my spirit. That and the amount of time a family demands keep me out of trouble. Hell, I don’t really even drink anymore. I talk a lot of shit on this blog, but the truth is that I drink about once a month, and that once a month is a fuckin six pack. That’s unprecedented for me, and I credit it to my wife and children.

What’s my big vice now? FOOD. I’d like to get down to 220 but those last 10 pounds are just IMPOSSIBLE.

Long story short, go ahead and call them bitches and hos while you’re playing. But grow up someday.

Here’s forum member, Ajiaco, in an email:

The whole thing about traveling and promiscuity and finding yourself, it’s a phase, and an important one, but at some point most guys want to have a family and some stability. You start to realize how much you want regular contact with people who really know you as opposed to a steady stream of people you don’t know. Some men can keep up the manosphere rhythm for years, but I think it comes at a cost to their happiness and well-being. And most people will grow out of the toxic masculinity when they realize how many limits it puts on the long-term goals they start desiring.

Roosh V Forum: Any Pros?

The Roosh V Forum is not all bad. I’ve met more than a dozen members over the last 10 years. For the most part they are normal, sensible guys. In fact, I first heard of Roosh when a forum member passing through Bogota emailed me to grab a beer.

Some of these guys are doing pretty impressive things with web-based businesses and publishing. So there is a value to the professional networking among independent self-starters making their way in the new digital economy.

After that first guy told me about Roosh, I soon noticed in my Google Analytics that the Roosh V Forum was a top-five source of traffic, up there with Google and Facebook. When I think about it today, what other web resource would guys who are looking to travel, party and pull chicks have? I can’t name one. I’d imagine Roosh’s forum is the best game in town, if not the only game in town. And that’s pretty cool.

Finally, a forum member new to my blog may take me as some kind of SJW leftist given some of the things I’ve said here. But I agree with some of the more controversial themes in the alt-right/red pill/manosphere.

At the end of the day, PUA and “game” are just the laws of attraction. And I don’t see it as inherently bad for young men to get familiar with the concepts.

Now that can go too far, but so can the frustration that builds up in men wallowing in solitude because they were raised on Hollywood morals and ideals. That virgin who shot up a college campus in Santa Barbara had never kissed a girl, and he wasn’t a bad looking guy. Probably better looking than I am! With a little game, he would have been swimming in it. PUA could have saved lives!

I support the #MeToo moment and I believe there is toxic masculinity in the world, but I also believe that feminism has gone too far in other areas. I heard a recent NPR story about the under-representation of women among the artists and producers of the songs in the top 40. Give me a fucking break! You’re going to condemn … the whole of society … for the songs they like? It’s insane. So a little pushback is probably needed.

That’s all I got. I’m wrapping this up on page 30 in Word. This is the longest post on the blog. If I added up the hours I put in, I believe it would amount to two full workdays. But unlike real work, I don’t get paid for this shit. My only compensation is the personal fulfillment I get from having a creative outlet.

That’s my way of saying, check out the DonorBox button below. You can leave me one freakin dollar and it would make my day.

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8 comments

  1. Colin

    I am at retirement now and I am very interested in the expat cost of living. Articles on the Internet make it sound like we can live expat for about half the cost of living in the US. Here in Dallas where the cost of living used to be low, we are now seeing our popularity for relocation with our great job market drive our rents and other costs to relatively high levels. In 6 months I am going to leave Dallas for anywhere less expensive. Then you dropped the repat bomb and I wonder “Where is the disconnect?”

    I lived in Cali, Colombia for 6 months and I averaged about $4,000 to $5,000 per month living a lower middle class lifestyle (for 3 people). I don’t know how I spent that much money, and I won’t go back and do an analysis because it is too painful. However, once I read someone write “Take whatever you think it will cost you to live in Colombia and double it for your budget.” I can’t argue with that.

    The expat articles usually tout Ecuador, Panama, and Colombia as affordable destinations for expats – Peru, not so much. So I went to a website called expatistan to compare some cost of living numbers. Their numbers don’t surprise me. Your comments about the costs in Lima do. Here are some relevant numbers from that website.

    162 – Dallas
    158 – Austin
    148 – St. Louis
    138 – Panama City, Panama (yikes! not what I expected)
    121 – San Jose, Costa Rica
    101 – Quito, Ecuador
    100 – Guayaquil, Ecuador
    93 – Lima, Peru
    82 – Medellin, Colombia
    79 – Cali, Colombia
    69 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Lima shows up as cheaper than Ecuador. St. Louis should be 50% more expensive than Lima, yet you say it’s the other way around. So, Colin, can you explain where is the disconnect?

    Steve

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    1. Man, where to begin?

      I would have to dig into the methodologies of those rankings to find problems, but it’s at least a little off. I mean, just look how close St. Louis and Austin are. Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, but I today don’t think so.

      Then again, and I said this in the original repat article, my own process wasn’t evaluating apples to apples. I’m willing to live working- or middle-class in St. Louis. I’m not willing to do that in Lima. So I’m effectively comparing working-class St. Louis to upper-middle-class Lima.

      Another big disconnect for me is education. I doubt they take cost of schools (and for how many children) into account.

      I’d also guess the American cities do not represent their working-class areas. It’s user-generated data, and I doubt the working-class Americans bother with this. So over-representing upper-middle.

      Like

  2. It’s odd that you think Donald Trump being elected president makes America no longer-intellectual (if it ever was). Or that to support Trump means lack of intelligence. Trump has made it easier to start a business, and is allowing Americans to keep more of the money that they make. He has stopped our rapid lurch to becoming the USSA. Perhaps you think Venenezuela and Cuba are role model economies, which is what the Democrats and never-Trump Republicans were turning us into. If you don’t think you are paying enough taxes, then make out a check the U.S. gov–they will gladly accept.

    Like

    1. I believe the article makes it clear that I don’t think all Trump supporters are stupid (for example, one-issue voters re: taxes, abortion, etc.), and I have said in other articles that not all Trump policies are bad.

      But what has downgraded my view of Americans’ education is the CULT of Trump, and it’s nothing less than a CULT. These people cheering to jail his political opponent, or cheering to shut down the government in order to co-opt our democratic process in order to build a Great Wall of China make up about a third of the country according to polls. Those two examples aside, what’s worst is the POTUS’s lack of decency and respect, the erosion of professional norms and the adoption of reality TV culture at the highest level of government. And the enthusiasm for that from much of the public is what motivated my thinking.

      Because for the most common themes you mentioned (deregulation and business-friendly policies in general), any Republican candidate would have done the same. For people to support everything else, they are simply on the wrong side of the divide of the future: the DIPLOMA DIVIDE.

      Like

      1. Colin, now that you’ll be living in America, maybe you’ll have new perspective on the Trump phenomenon. He has stopped the endless wars that were plaguing our foreign policy. Other Republicans pretend to be conservative but they are just big-government pork-barrel spenders, like the Dems. The ones who have real libertarian principles like Ron Paul, just didn’t have what it took to get elected. Trump is not a member of the secret societies which is why the elite in both parties opposed him. Under Obama we had LGBT politics, increasing taxes to pay for new redistribution programs, and war. It was either more the same under Hillary or venturing into the unknown with the reality TV, pro business president. Result: electoral college landslide. Both the Dems and Repubs were asleep and Trump has woken them up. Anyway, Colin. Welcome back to America. I love your website–simply the best expat journal out there.

        Like

  3. Colin, you are correct that there is a cult of Trump, but you should recognize that there is a cult of anti-Trump. They are just as rabid and irrational at the Trumpers. I’m not a Trumper, but I do like a lot of his policies. Still I’m in the Social Security zone now and whichever party favors SS most will probably get my vote. I’ve seen everybody else get free rides in this country; now it’s my turn. Anyway, it’s my money they took out of my paycheck. And that may be an even more important divide in the future: the young vs. the old, and the old is growing.

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