Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Latin America, Mexico, or Central America.
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I just visited Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile with my wife, looking for a place to live. The time spend in each place was short, so my impressions may not be accurate, but here they are:
The people are of mixed Spanish and Italian descent, so they look European, not Hispanic. People are concentrated in cities and much of the land is free for farming. Buenos Aires is a huge city like New York. It looks like a cross between New York and Europe. The other city I visited was Mendoza.
pluses: The people are fit and the women are attractive. They dress stylishly, not like skanks. Very few tattoos or body piercings. No fat people. The diet is the opposite of what is recommended in America - it's very high in animal fat. People eat steaks and also organ meat which is almost pure fat. They use olive oil instead of the American hydrogenated junk oils. So the people are healthy and thin. The food is generally very good. We went to the suburbs to the north of Buenos Aires. They are very nice. They look something like France. We took the train and there were shops at each station with houses around. There are some very nice neighborhoods, nicer than anything in San Francisco. I asked someone about houses in the fanciest neighborhood and was told around $400K. Further north is the river delta. This is filled with islands as the river breaks up into many parts. On these islands are fancy estates and no cars. Prices for things in general are very varied. The rich pay prices like American prices. But the middle class and below go to cheaper places that cost much less. The train to a destination about an hour away cost less than one dollar. Argentina generally has a European atmosphere though the architecture in Mendoza was less impressive than in Buenos Aires. The people were much nicer in Mendoza. The women seem friendly. The people seem more intelligent than Americans.
minuses: There is an extreme economic inequality. I saw neighborhoods poorer than anything in Mexico. And this in a country with a completely homogeneous, European, population. In Buenos Aires, dishonesty seemed to be viewed as a virtue and honesty as a weakness. I was cheated for small amounts of money three time in two days. This is why Argentina is so poor in spite of having an intelligent, hard-working population. Thinking about it, the Argentine currency fiasco is just another example of Argentine dishonesty. The currency itself was a lie that Argentines used to buy foreign products. When other countries realized the lie, the currency become worthless. But I did not find this dishonesty problem in Mendoza. Since Buenos Aires is the power and financial center of the country, I assume it attracts all the slime. For those looking for a wife, I would warn that Argentina does not seem very family oriented. I saw very few couples and I don't think I ever saw a complete family, meaning father, mother, and kids. So the family is broken here and I am not sure if the Argentine women would make good wives.
Overall I could live in Mendoza but not Buenos Aires. I would recommend Argentina outside of Buenos Aires.
The people look like Argentines and have a similar diet. The country has a small population, half of which lives in Montevideo. Punta del Este looks like a wealthy American city and costs the same. It appears to have land-use zoning. It is entirely a tourist area, like an extreme version of Florida. It is virtually deserted except in the summer.
pluses: The food is even better than in Argentina. The meat is superb. The women seem even nicer than in Argentina. The people are honest. There is no extreme poverty or economic inequality.
minuses: Montevideo looks like it is in a communist country. If you haven't been to the old Soviet block, think of a cross between Europe and housing project. The city is full of bland apartment buildings in serious disrepair. There is no construction anywhere. The city is poorly organized as if planned by some central planning bureaucracy. There are big areas of just apartment buildings without any stores. The city has no street signs anywhere and even the locals don't know the street names. The city is the second dirtiest that I have seen, after Cairo. Other negatives: Tax on restaurants is 23%. I saw some body piercings and tattoos, and the general sense of style is somewhat worse than in Argentina. And a waiter hit on my wife while I was there.
I had read that Uruguay has a big government and seeing the country puts this in perspective. This is not a place to live for those who value freedom and initiative. But this is the country I would pick if I was looking for a wife. The women seem nice and well grounded. There isn't as much of a sense being constantly on the prowl as in Argentina.
The people are mix of Spanish and some Native American. The look more European than Mexicans do, but still look somewhat Hispanic. I visited Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, which are neighboring cities on the coast, and Santiago.
pluses: Chile is the wealthiest country in Latin America. Many places look first world. It is clean. Things generally work. Santiago is a very well organized city with lots of clean open space that handles a huge population density. The density of people downtown is higher than anything I have seen in the Americas. It's like Tokyo. There is also a clean and efficient subway system. The buildings are modern and remind me of Tokyo somewhat.
minuses: The women are ugly bitches, almost like Americans. The men look like their spirit is broken, like American men. The people have no sense of style, but modern fashion is everywhere. The food in Chile is disgusting, like American food. All junk food, sweets, and starch. Chile ignores its huge potential to grow and eat fresh food, just as America does. The people look unhealthy, like Americans. The architecture is practical and uninspiring. Television is everywhere. Valparaiso is a colorful slum. The houses are cheap but colorful. Anything not nailed down is stolen. Vina del Mar is a sterile resort for the rich in Santiago. It is has lots of high-rises and a big shopping mall. Santiago is a big city somewhat like NY but without the food. It is endless shopping, all aimed at women. There are very few restaurants or supermarkets.
I don't understand what is wrong with the women in Chile, but I see almost an American attitude in their faces. I can't explain it, but I would not recommend Chile.
My wife is Mexican and I have visited Mexico many times. On this trip we visited Monterrey and Xalapa.
pluses: Mexico has the most corrupt and inefficient government that I have seen. I list this as a plus because it prevents the government from causing trouble. It also means that there is more personal freedom in Mexico than most other places. Although Mexican women have deteriorated severely since I first visited 20 years ago, I still think they are the most family oriented. 20 years ago, 80% to 90% of the women were marriage material. Now 10% to 20% are, which is still higher than most other places. Food in Mexico is quite good, but not as good as it was before NAFTA allowed America to export its junk food into Mexico. There is a lot of fresh meat and fruit. Monterrey is modern Mexico, a huge industrial city. To the southeast is a modern growing suburb. It has the conveniences of American suburbs, but because Mexico is much freer than America, there is much more diversity in the developments there. There are typical housing developments, small towns, and old estates. This is a good place for someone who wants to live an American suburban lifestyle in a non-feminist place. Xalapa is a smaller, more traditional city in a very green landscape. It is actually one of the best places to expat in Mexico, in my opinion. It has an educated population, and so is one of the few places in Mexico where one has a fair chance to meet intelligent Mexicans. It is big enough to have all modern conveniences, but small enough to have a very low crime rate. It has fresh produce. Since it is a college town, there are plenty of young women. The climate is very pleasant. My favorite area is just west of Xalapa, at a slightly higher elevation, where the landscape looks exactly like Northern California, with rolling hills of grass and pine trees. It is too cold for Mexican tastes, but perfect for me. It has small villages which are like going back in time, where people are as likely to ride horses as drive cars. For me, this would be the perfect place to withdraw from the modern world and raise my kids with my values.
minuses: Each time I visit Mexico, I see the changes. I mentioned the decline in the percentage of women who are marriage material. Many women dress like sluts just like in America (but at least they are friendly sluts), especially in Monterrey. I heard stories from a Monterrey taxi driver about how he drove married women to work in brothels or to meet their lovers. I asked him if it was always like this, and he said no, this kind of behavior was very rare in the past. In general, Mexican women have lost their sense of style, which was better (more conservative) than in Argentina, but is now much worse. But I don't think things will get any worse because women must always depend on men instead of the government. Corruption is Mexico's saving grace. Other negatives: Monterrey has a real crime problem, but Xalapa doesn't. The water isn't drinkable and sanitation is generally a problem.
Overall, I found Mexico and Argentina to both be attractive, but Mexico wins for the convenience of being so close to the USA. I think Xalapa would be a good place to look for a wife. Monterrey may be a good place to look for casual relationships.
We've chatted online before in other forums (DGM & the Southron's forum).
Thanks for the write-up.
It is detailed and excellent.
My view is a little more accepting of Montevideo and Buenos Aires, but to each their own..
This is why it's best to go to each country one is considering -- to figure out if it's a spot if one could realistically see themselves living there.
After UY & BA in Sept 2007, I went to various spots in Panama in June 2008.
Didn't much care for Panama.
I'll probably explore Ecuador on my next trip..
Last edited by dsc on Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
What about all the drug and gang related crime that's being reported in the press about Mexico? Is that only closer to the border or certain cities that you didn't mention? Would you trust living in Mexico long-term and not think abut the potential of the drug lords moving in like they are doing in many cities there and causing trouble?
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
In Mexico, drug gangs have an influence everywhere but this is only a problem where they are fighting for control, like along the border. In the Xalapa area, I didn't see much evidence of crime. But I will know more in a few months when I move there.
Been to all of these except Chile. My feeling in Argentina and UY is that there are just too many men- the same settler problem as in the US a country of immigrants with most having been men ( initially) so women while not as bitchy as in the US have an attitude still. Add to this the fact that most of them are in fact Italians and Spaniards as well as Germans, Welsh, Poles and all other Euros. This combination produces very handsome guys who look like supermodels and I get lost as a nobody among them. Not one girl would look my way when I was there. And I am not a bad looking guy but I just could not compete.
I went to a night club in BA and they charged me USD 200 for one hour of just dancing with the go-go gal
It is not easy to feel good about yourself as a man when you walk down the street and there is a flow of Antonio Banderases, Enrique Iglesiases, John Travoltas and other supermodels walking towards you.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
May I ask you what turned you off in Panama?
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
To be more exact, it's more Panama City I had in mind..
The heat & oppressing humidity ranks up there. You need two showers a day at least.
It's a city with a lot of infrastructure woes too because it's growing so fast. If you can avoid going anywhere during morning or afternoon rush hours, do it. I had to delay leaving a mall in the southern part of the city until evening rush hour cleared because all the cab drivers refused to take me (wasn't worth their time to grind out a long distance and be paid a flat rate).
As a potential spot to expat to, because of the growth, it's not exactly the cheapest spot to buy real estate either.
There are positives to the city.
If you have business reasons to be there (like a few people I know in Panama City), it's the center of action, so it's a great spot to be.
But if you do not, there is no compelling reason to live or spent significant amounts of time anywhere in PC.
I also checked out two other spots in western Panama, in the westernmost province of Chiriqui:
1.) David -- The capital of the province. Smaller at 90K. Hot, but wasn't as humid as PC. Inexpensive, but kind of boring and little to do. Again another spot that didn't do it for me. Might be OK for others if you have business or familial reasons, however.
2.) Boquete -- A small town of 7K about 45 min north of David. It's cooler because it's 1000m in altitude. I quite liked it in Boquete. Lots of adventure sports one can partake in if you're game. Locals & the particular group of travelers I happened across were more laid back & friendly. But lots of rich Americans & Europeans have known about Boquete for years and you can guess what that's done to real estate prices.. Lastly, due to the small size, Boquete might be an OK spot for older foks to retire to, but for a younger guy it really is too quiet.
I agree with most of what you wrote. I only have been to Mexico and Chile, and honestly, I prefer more Chilean girls than Mexican girls. I was in Santiago for one semester, and stayed in Providencia, and there were good looking gals in that district.
As for Mendoza, Mendoza is more similar to Santiago (Chileans) in culture, mentality and racially speaking than to Buenos Aires. Even their accent is more closer to Chilean accent than Argentine accent. Argentine people will tell you this about mendicinos (people from Mendoza). Argentina is not as white as most people tend to think. It is such a big country it differs from region to region. Buenos Aires and neighbouring provinces to Uruguay, they will look like Uruguayans. Mendoza, Neuquen, and Patagonia provinces they look physically like Chileans and also in culture and mentality. Salta and Jujuy provinces, the Argentines there look like Bolivians/Peruvians. Corrientes, Misiones and Entre Rios provinces, the Argentines there look physically like Paraguayans as those provinces border Paraguay.
In short, Argentina is pretty diverse, it is not fully European. It depends on the region, not to mention that according to genetic studies, 60% of the Argentine population has at least one Indigenous ancestor. Uruguay being a small country, they are more European than Argentina as they do not have an Indigenous population, whilst Argentina they do even if they are minority (Mapuche, Guarani, Aymara, Tehuelche).
As for Chileans looking more European than Mexicans, on average, yes. But also, depends on what region from Mexico. I am from Guadalajara, Jalisco, and we tapatios tend to look similar to Chileans physically. When I was in USA, most Americans (the travelled ones) and even many Hispanics and some Europeans (the well traveled ones) thought I was Chilean rather than Mexican due to my features (look more European but still look somewhat Hispanic). When I was in Santiago, Chileans never thought I was a foreigner due to my physical features, but also unlike the average Mexican who is warm and extroverted, I am rather cold and introverted like the average Chilean (in comparison to the stereotypical image of Latinos). Only they were able to tell I am a foreigner until they heard my Mexican accent in Spanish, but other than this, I pass as a Chilean quite well. I did noticed the Chileans tend to be racists, and look down on Peruvians, Bolivians, and Colombians.
As for the Mexican girls being sluts, dude, what social class of girls and what region of Mexico you visited? In Guadalajara and now in DF where I am, and my social circle being of middle-middle class and upper-middle class Mexicans, none of my female friends or past ex gals dressed like sluts. They are better than gringas for my tastes both physically, in dress style and mentality. Although one thing I noticed between Guadalajara gals vs DF gals is that, on average, girls from my native Guadalajara are more beautiful on average (slender, nicer features, big eyes) and dress more femenine than DF gals (stocky in build, round faces) and see more gals dressed unfemenine, though the latter varies from socioeconomic status (stocky people the most commonly in low classes, us slender or muscular in middle and upper classes. Femenine women more in middle and upper classes, unfemenine women on average more in lower middle classes to poor). Also, Monterrey is much more Americanized in mentality and dress style than Guadalajara and DF, who is more European on average. Different worlds apart.
I agree that Argentina, like Mexico, corruption is the norm and being honest is seen as weak (a very stupid way of thinking in my point of view). One if my best friends who is from Rosario province, Argentina, hates this about Argentina. He does not agree with the corruption and considers the average Argentine to be more rotten than shit. We are not typical Latinos in mentality as we are honest, not freeloaders, not taking advantage of others.
Argentina and Mexico should follow the Chilean and Uruguayan example as they are the least corrupt countries in the region. That is why I felt more at home in Chile than in my country of origin. My mentality is closer to the Chilean mentality than the Mexican mentality.
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