February 23, 2010

Media stereotypes of foreign countries and hidden treasures to discover

***As a child, while we were growing up, we had stereotypes about other countries. We also watched the news or saw movies in which certain countries were portrayed in a certain way. If you are like most Americans, you would probably think good things about the following countries and think of visiting them:

Hawaii (not a country, but still a desirable destination)
Hong Kong

These countries are thought of a good and developed with friendly and romantic people living in them.

You probably were taught that the countries below were "bad”, populated by unfriendly people:

Arab countries

You would probably think these countries as being dangerous to visit:

South American countries

After all, people in them probably hate the Americans and want to kill or kidnap them

The following countries would probably evoke a neutral reaction from you:


Not too romantic but also not too dangerous. Most vacations would not be planned around visiting the above.

Some countries would be seen as "exotic":

Brazil (Rio)
India ( Taj Mahal)
Egypt (Cairo only)

The world outside of the desirable countries would be unknown to most Americans and most tourists would not be going there. Not many Americans plan a holiday in Slovakia or Rangoon, Myanmar. Outside of the US military people, few would ever venture to go to the Philippines. This way, huge "swaths" of the world are not visited by mainstream Americans and other Westerners and beautiful cultures, architectural landmarks, very friendly people and stunningly beautiful women do not get discovered. And this brings us to one axiom of an international traveler and international dater-" the best places to find women are the ones that few tourists go to". I would even venture to say that the places with the "bad reputation" in the news are the best.

How about a vacation in Crimea, Ukraine?
How about a holiday in Cebu, the Philippines?
How about a trip to Barquisemetos, Venezuela or Recife, Brazil?

You will have a hundred times more fun, meet more women and make more friends than if you went the well-trodden paths of major tourist destinations. Countries that are the most unknown and the ones that have a "bad reputation" usually have social, cultural and romantic treasures that most well known places simply cannot provide.

And another tip- the best places in such countries for everything social, cultural and romantic are second and third biggest cities. Not too rural for comfort and not as alienating as big capitals where people are much harder to meet.

So, travel the path that is least traveled by and your social life will be so much more rewarding.


Culture shock and the power of money

***Those men who visit exotic foreign lands are often taken in by the beauty of the scenery and the women as well as by the friendliness of the local people. Their money which doubles or even quadruples elevates them to a higher status that what they had back home. Being suddenly rich, in a beautiful land, surrounded by gorgeous women who admire the man every step of the way, the charmed tourist sometimes says: " Wow! I am never going back home, I am staying here."

However, after being in the place for several months, the tourist discovers that not all is rosy here, either. Corruption abounds. People seem unreliable. He is overcharged when buying simple commodities. And, sooner or later, he starts running into people who do not like for a foreigner to be there. He needs to bribe people to get simple things done. Nothing seems to work. People do not speak English, or what he perceives as "correct" English and, after a while they expect him to speak in the local language.

In other situations, he learns the local language but the locals do not understand his accent and are not helpful. Some make fun of and look down on him. Some feel insulted that a foreigner is speaking their language. Some, particularly in the case of Asian societies, stare at him as if he were a block of wood, disbelieving that a person of another race can speak the local tongue and guffaw in ugly laughter when they realize that he is in fact speaking it.

The culture shock and the disappointment set in.

Now he begins to understand why the local people treated his with so much respect in the first place- he was perceived as a rich and successful visitor from America, an achiever, a new face from the land where everything is possible and opportunities abound. Now, that the locals see that the tourist is not as rich as they thought and is complaining about this and that, their friendliness to him diminishes. They cannot do much about the corruption the disorganization and the poverty of the country and it irritates them even more to see a foreigner whining about the fact that the things are not the way they are back home. His girlfriend is also unable to help him. In many cases she does not have the money or the connections to set up a business for him or make him advance in his new society. Eventually, the tourist starts seeing that while there were not many beautiful women and/or friendly people back home, everything else worked well, he knew the social and cultural rules and did not feel out of place as much as he does here.

In addition to that, he discovers that as a foreigner, his legal rights in the new country are limited. He cannot own real estate, cannot have anything in his name and is dependent on visa authorities to grant him the permit to stay in the country.

Eventually, the embittered tourist ends up teaching English for a pittance, not being able to find a job in anything else and observing the local rich living the life of Riley while he is plugging along from one meager paycheck to another.

Then, he goes home, a broken man.

This is a very typical scenario which can be observed with many starry-eyed expats all who tried to find work in the so-called developing countries.

Now, what if you have money? Like, a lot of money.

Well, now we are talking about a whole different game. If you arrive from America with a few hundred thousands of dollars, the smiles will not diminish with time. If you become a foreign investor, and go through the local government authorities and hire local lawyers, then, your quality of life will be much much better. You will love the people forever and the people will love you, the cultural problems will not seem unsolvable, but rather, amusing. The woman will not be upset with you and she will serve you blindly forever.

Ah! The power of money!

If you are not rich yet but have a way of making money either in your country or in some oil-rich state in the Middle East, you should become a frequent, long-term visitor who comes and goes. This way, when the culture shock hits and the place seems unbearable, and the locals get tired of you- as in about three months, you can then leave, go back home," regroup", recuperate, see things in their proper perspective and let people back there miss you. Distance lends enchantment and when you are back there with more money, well rested and confident again, you will thoroughly enjoy your stay and be attractive to the local women again.

The above are not the only scenarios, either. Here are some things one can do:

1) Work on the Internet for a company back home. You can be a translator, an online instructor or a programmer. This way, you can live in a country you like without having to deal with the misery of trying to eke out a livelihood from the local corrupt and inefficient economy.
2) Become an artist or a writer - you can work anywhere and email or, in case or paintings ship them back home to various galleries. This is hard even back home and takes time to establish oneself. With the Internet you now have a chance to speed up the process and make a worldwide living out of it. It is not easy but possible.
3) Become a buyer of goods. If you find a customer back home, you can offer your services in the way of buying merchandise in a foreign land at discount prices. But for that, you will need to have local contacts. These are not easy to find.

In all cases, one needs to do proper homework, learn about the culture and the laws and patiently work one's way into the new society without severing ties back home.

A smart expat is not an emotional but a cool-hearted and patient one. And he never relinquishes his ties to his home country- it has a lot to offer in the ways of organized business infrastructure, availability of information and the seriousness of the people.

The best way to expatriate has been to live not in one country but to use each country for what it is good for: the West for business ties and the "fun" countries for fun and romance. Be prepared to shuttle back and forth a lot.


We only seem to be as free
As our bank accounts let us be,
And the degrees of freedom fluctuate
With ups and downs of your savings rate.

A lot of money gives you elbow space
To better move within the ol' rat race,
And even out of it you thus can move,
While other live and perish in its groove.

The money is a fifth dimension
To help you move within the other four.
May you be bless't to have a big, fat pension
To give you freedom now, and evermore.

Sex and freedom in the West - Myth vs. Reality

***If you grew up in the West, you may have developed the idea that sexually, it is very free. In a way, it is, but in order to enjoy the "sexual liberation" of the West, you cannot just be an average Joe. In order to meet exciting and beautiful women, you have to be either super good-looking, tall, and handsome (and young, too) or be super successful. That means that a small percentage of men enjoys this kind of life and a big percentage lives lives of drudgery and hard work. in addition to all that, there is a great deal of ageism in the West- unless you have a glamorous job as a senator or a movie star, meeting younger women if you are over 40 ( in some cases, over 25) is also not an easy proposition. In other words, for an average bloke who is middle income and middle aged, life can be pretty lonely and sexually frustrating. That is , if you mind dating many women who are overweight or divorced with kids or plain unattractive.

The prostitution industry in the US is highly regulated, extremely expensive and the majority of women who are involved in it are not very attractive physically.

In spite of the Hollywood culture portraying life in America as an endless sex party, an average person there hardly has more than 10 partners in his or her lifetime.

This is in stark contrast to many societies, Thailand, for one, where many local men visit prostitutes regularly and have a choice of incredibly beautiful ones for a very affordable price. However, this is done more or less discreetly and is not mentioned in casual conversation. Expats who lived in Thailand for a long time would come up with the statement: "Americans talk about "it" but don't do it, Thais don't talk about it, but do it.

If you visit any big entertainment area in Bangkok, Manila, Phnom Penh, Rio, and even Moscow, you will find thousands upon thousands of Westerners who either live there or visit regularly all for the purpose of being able to have sex any time they want. If the West were as liberated as it is portrayed in the movies, why would there be such a powerful sex tourism movement *out* of the West?

Poor countries are not that poor and rich countries are not that rich

***Poor countries are not that poor and rich countries are not that rich.

The media in most rich countries likes to present a sorry picture of what life is like in the so-called poor countries. People are portrayed as living in slums, starving and dreaming of emigrating to a richer country so that they could live a better life and greater freedom. What they do not tell you is that while people would like to go to a richer country, most often than not, they would like to return back to their country to live once they have more cash.

Why? Well, for the simple reason that there is no place like home. Home is where feelings are. That is the place where you grew up and formed attachments to people, streets, language, culture and music and a myriad other things. That is the place where you feel more or less comfortable with the world around you, where things are known and possible future events are predictable, where you had your first love and where you have family and friends. You know the rules of society there, the do's and the don'ts in most social situations and this is probably where you would like to be if various social, political or financial situations would not chase you away in search of economic opportunities.

For those who do not leave the poorer countries for greener pastures, life is still not so bad. Unless you have actual war and starvation or genocide going on or unless you are a member of a hated minority group that is constantly harassed by both the people and the government, you may not have such a bad life.

If you are a poor man in many poor countries, you will have many advantages that poor people in the West do not. For one, since there are not that many opportunities to advance, there are many other poor people around you who will provide you with sympathy and camaraderie. Unlike in the West, you will not be ostracized. Since you are in it together with millions of other not-so-rich folks, you will have friends and be able to find a lover, often quite attractive, from millions of working poor women. Unlike in the West, these women will not be stuck up and not dreaming of marrying into a rich family since there are very few rich families to marry into.

If you work hard enough, you will be able to start a small business and since poorer countries are less regulated than richer, developed countries, you will most probably be able to start by setting up a small stall and selling fried chicken to the local poor. All without having to apply for business and health permits and without having to have huge amounts of capital as you would in the west.

In slums, particularly in those located in tropical countries, life is not as bad as the Western media would like to have you believe, either. You either pay no rent or pay very little. There are plenty of humble, friendly women to date and you do not need a car to take them out. You can just walk to their house. Neighbors will help you with food and small loans if you have no money. Children can play without the fear of being chased away by the cops for loitering or obstructing traffic. There are few laws that regulate the lives of the slum people. If the slum is near the sea, you also have access to fish and various seaside type entertainment such as swimming, snorkeling and just basking in the sun. Therefore, if you ever end up in a tropical slum of a poorer country, you will often notice that the people there are among the happiest and friendliest people on earth.

If you go to the countryside you will see that people are even happier there. They have their own land, free and clear which provides them with basic necessities all year around- fresh eggs, fresh bananas and fresh air. Whatever consumable items that you cannot obtain directly from the land you work on, can be purchased cheaply and easily from local stores. No mortgage, no taxes and even if there is crime, it will be minimal as everyone knows each other and a suspicious stranger will be watched very closely. People that are not strangers will have little impetus to commit a crime as everybody knows your every move and you will be quickly denounced, punished and chased out of the community.

People, particularly women in such a healthy environment will be largely free from mental disorders as well as character disorders such as arrogance, greed and selfishness. Also there is no paranoia that comes with thinking of where the next paycheck is going to come from for you to pay your mortgage, insurance and taxes.

People in such places are generally religious, traditional and obtain solutions to their problems through daily communion with nature, God and other generous and humble people around them who are willing to lend a helping hand and advice based on folk wisdom. Women coming from families in places like these will most probably make the best wives one can imagine. They may not have the sophistication of some slick city girls but whatever knowledge they need to make you happy, can be taught by you later. What is most important is that the fundamental character will be very wholesome and everything else can be built up on top of that.

Because in many poorer countries basic commodities are cheap, many people do not have to worry about not being able to afford clothing, matches or soap.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule- there are some countries where things are quite expensive- but in most poorer countries, they are not.

Believe it or not, there are even organizations that measure the happiness level of nations. Based on some surveys the happiest people seem to be in poorer Asian countries- Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines. The least happy seem to be in Japan, Hong Kong and other rich countries. So, being developed is not a guarantee that people will become happier. Maybe, it is a sure way to render the society even less happy.

Those who have lived in poorer countries for a long time and watched them develop into newly industrialized nations would often notice that as the economic and technological progress would set its foot in the country, so the spiritual and social characteristics of the nation as a whole would go in the other direction. People would become more selfish, less helpful and develop sever mental problems. The ones who would become richer, would also become more arrogant and less sociable. Such rich people appear happy but in an unhealthy, abnormal and smug way. Their "happiness" is often just the sense of power that they can have over the masses of the poor people underneath them.

Don't put all your eggs into one basket

*** Just like one should not put all his eggs in one basket, one should not pin his hope on any one country thinking it to be a panacea for all one's ills and a promised land of milk and honey. It can become worse politically, economically and/or socially overnight. You can have a run-in with someone who can blackmail you or make your life miserable in more ways than one.

Lastly, you yourself can get sick and tired of it. You should always have a few alternative countries where you can go and live the lifestyle you want to live. You should be prepared culturally and legally to move there at a moments' notice and live there for a prolonged period if necessary. You should be trained in the language, the culture and the political aspects of those "reserve" countries so that resettling there would be as smooth as possible if one's beloved country goes bad.

Immigration and ethnic perceptions

***Political correctness in speech is almost always applicable to the English language only. It starts at US universities and quickly spreads to other Anglo countries- UK, Canada, OZ, NZ. Maybe some W. Euro countries share the correctness- France, Spain, Germany, Holland, etc.

In other, more remote countries that speak languages that are not mainstream, people have no qualms about using insulting terms about those who are different and the parents there even teach their children to use them. There is no movement for political correctness there and most speakers are not even aware that the words they use cause moral, mental and emotional stress. And there is not enough power on the part of the minorities to press for any kind of language reform.

If you translate the terms with which many Chinese describe Westerners, these would be horrible- White Devil, White Ghost, Red Haired Monkey, Golden Haired Monster, etc. In the US, these would cause a court hearing.

If you can read Asian languages, the way some groups, including foreigners are described would cause closure of printing establishments if these were in English and on the territory of the US, Can. NZ, Oz, etc.

Since most English speakers are not very numerous and cannot understand other languages, the language reforms in those "remote" places will probably never be carried out as a a result of influence by US universities.

***Italian Americans are not Italians. Chinese Americans are not Chinese. German Americans and Irish Americans are not Germans and Irish. They are only called German, Irish, Chinese, etc. on the territory of the US. And African Americans are not Africans. They only have the 'African" in their designation as "required" by the context of the US culture.

Those who think that the US has every culture represented and it is not necessary to travel overseas are deluding themselves. It is hard to describe why they are wrong. You need to go and see where the differences lie between an African and an African- American for one.

A person who thinks that instead of going to Rome, he can visit Little Italy in NY and experience Italian culture is similar to a person who says that he does not need to go on a safari as there is a zoo in his town.

Ah, it's not the same.

***The world is like a palace with over 200 rooms ( as there are 200 countries or so). Each room provides delights and opportunities that the other room may not. Why stay all your life in one room? It would be very myopic and plain si lly. Yet, most people do just that and think they are as happy as a pig in s h i t.

Once you learn to roam the other many rooms and discover the tantalizing treasures in each one, you will open for yourself a life of such glory and richness that returning back to the "one" room and staying only there will become an impossibility.

You will also find out that you will have very few people who would be able to give you advice on how to go about the 200 rooms as most people do not travel and are not aware of what it is like in other rooms.

You will have to join PT ( perpetual traveler) online clubs and hang out with other international travelers if you want to be fully informed.

Everything you need is in the house of 200 rooms and you are entitled to most of it.

Before I started traveling I was told that my future would be beyond my wildest dreams and it did turn out to be beyond them.

You life must be a journey through those rooms , otherwise you have not lived.

So called underdeveloped countries with bad reputations are actually great places to visit and live in and look for social life in.

The so-called exciting, romantic and "good" countries are often boring and sterile and are populated by stuck up and unfriendly people and unattractive women

The international media reputation distorts reality so much that it creates huge numbers of countries where most people will not go because they see them as ugly and dangerous and their people as "bad" and unfriendly.

Normally things turn out to be exactly opposite of what media teaches us.

***A traveler or immigrant seems daft, naive and trusting to the host national and a host national often seems bigoted and ignorant to the traveler.

Emigration and immigration are part of a worldwide migration. One is usually aware of the immigration as one sees numbers of people coming into one's country but is less aware of the emigration as one cannot see people leave just as clearly.

One also cannot see people coming in and out of other countries unless one keeps special tabs on them by doing specific research on the matter. Most migrations are money oriented with political and social reasons coming in second and third.

*** This is how the Japanese describe the Brits:

Open, friendly

And the French describe them as reserved, unfeeling and cold.

The Japanese describe Americans as open, jovial, expressive.

The Mexicans describe them as reserved and tight-a$$ed.

The Russians describe Americans as passionless and as smiling automatons.

The Chinese describe the Japanese as inscrutable.

Interesting how depending on one's cultural perspective people can be this or that.

February 21, 2010

Rich vs. Poor Countries

In the Third World, the richer, the more arrogant, and the poorer, the friendlier. In the first world, the truly rich are relaxed and quite friendly, but the poor look mean and nasty.


The so-called Third World is probably what we call "the real world". It runs a full gamut and represents the full spectrum. It has a high top and a deep bottom. First world countries do not have a deep bottom. Middle class people are struggling to make ends meet in the First World. In the Third World they are much happier lording over the 60% of the population that belongs to the working class.

What does it all mean in practical terms? It means that in the third world you can start a business with very little capital and have a family with very little money. It means that middle class people enjoy great respect, high status and can have servants and a great choice of wives from the poorer classes. It means that you can live in a house on the beach for next to nothing. It means that you can eat out every day. Third World is cheap and affordable world with lots of great wonders to be enjoyed. Most important, as long as you are in the third world, you will never be lonely.


The best place to live in most countries is the second or third largest city. It is hard to get to know the country and its people if you live in the capital- its people do not really represent it.


Whether a country is rich or poor is not determined necessarily by the people's monthly income in US dollars. One has to keep in mind the income/price ratio in local currency when calculating if people are rich or poor.

You may want to pity a Burmese worker whose salary is $30 a month but a meal there costs a few cents and the Burmese worker probably has his own land and a house out in the country- free and clear and usually he pays no tax, either. Not many 1st worlders are this lucky.

"Poor countries" are "cheap countries". So, before you feel the temptation to become smug about your income, think about the PPP- purchasing power parity- i.e. how much your money can actually buy in products and services in your country and how much it can buy in their country.

Mexican and Central American illegals who risk their lives to cross the Rio Grande are not necessarily doing that because they have "The American Dream"- they are often coming to capitalize on-

1) the huge purchasing power that the dollar has in their country.
2) the very high interest rates that their banks pay- $20,000 can already be used as a deposit to generate a significant peso income at a Mexican bank and even enable one to retire.
3) Very cheap real estate there. One can buy a farm for peanuts in many areas where tourists do not go.

So, before you smugly curl up your lip when you see a Guatemalan waiter in your city working his buns off for $30-50 a day and feel so very proud of the opportunities that America can provide, remember- he can (and will) buy a house and a lot back home for $5000 but you can't (and probably won't).

Most countries have an overinflated view of themselves and their role in the world. In Thailand they think that the whole world knows their king and that he is some great world leader next to Kofi Annan ( sp). In the US, they think that events in the US, especially the 9/11 "changed the world forever". Also, that every human being on the face of the earth would rather be living in the US than back in his country.

In Arab countries, they think that the entire world is looking to them to be taken out of darkness and to be converted to Islam.

The Russians think that the most important event of the 20th century was the October Revolution of 1917.

Again, the countries, their media and educational systems confuse "our country" with " the world". Most people do not know Thai king's name and have never seen him. Most people like to live in their countries and 9/11 changed *the US* forever, but people in Bhutan, Lithuania and Mali were not changed by the 9/11 events which took place in a country very far away from theirs.

Most people do not want to be converted to Islam and the Russian revolution of 1917 was an important event for *them*. Not for the world.

*Some countries, such as the Philippines, make their own no-frill cars- jeeps for one. A brand new jeep here with absolutely nothing, not even a radio- but it moves- is less than $3000. And Western electronics are replaced by cheap Chinese goods. These are not as sophisticated but a $20 camera will take pictures, a $4 electric razor will shave and a cheap, $30 TV will be black and white but they will still watch a movie. And most people will have them- some one will make the money and help them- an uncle, a brother, a girlfriend. In the Philippines most people have cellphones and color TVs. Credit is expensive but accessible to many.

Quality is lower but people manage to enjoy the function- it does give you what it's supposed to give.

In the US a 16 year old is considered a child and 22 year old is referred to as a "kid". In other countries, a 16 year old man is not a child but a working adult and a 22 year old is a fully married member of society taking care of a wife and kids. When an immigrant from such a country arrives in the US, he has to travel back in time as he is treated by society as a "kid" and gets little respect. He is even told that he is too young to get married. 19 year old US girls treat him as a kid and themselves, behave like what a 10 year old girl would behave in his country. He feels completely disoriented and unable to fit in in the new society.

Immigrants are shocked when 26 year olds among them are told- "Oh, you are just a baby!" 20-24 year old, fully-formed , mature and intellectual men coming from the Third World cannot fit in with swaggering, spitting and "cool" stateside 20-24 year old "kids" .

Conversely, a 56-year old man in the US is a middle-aged man while in most 3d world countries he is an old man at the end of his rope.

***Whether you are rich or poor is determined by only one thing- what your money can buy within the society you are in. That's all. By finding cheaper societies, you can multiply your worth manyfold.
You may not be poor. It is just that products and services around you may just be too expensive.

***You can become rich and famous practically overnight- that is after an overnight flight to Indonesia or another such place.

A Westerner appearing in a small village in the so-called Third World may become an overnight celebrity and lauded as a great hero and treated as a president of a country. If Indonesia, your money can just dextuple- a $100 will become $1000 and your $20,000 is savings will become $200,000 within their economy. You can buy a house for your fiancee for $8000 free and clear and virtually become her "king".

I once did one thing just for kicks. I took a bus across the island of Mindanao in Southern Philippines. Mindanao is the size of Florida. The bus from the top to the bottom of the island cost me some $4.

But the uncanny thing was this: no Westerners ever travel by that bus and the people in that remote part of the world had never met a white man, and as it went through the jungles, we would pass by small villages along the road. I would stick my head out to look at villages and the inhabitants, upon seeing me, would cheer, clap and shout with joy. Some people would start jumping and virtually dancing.

It reminded me of President Kennedy riding through Dallas. All that was missing was little flags in their hands.


Do you pity poor immigrants working for peanuts in the US? Do not pity them, envy them.

All these poor people are happy to be able to save $300-$400 a month for a few years and then go back home to their very very cheap countries and buy a house, a business and have a big royal wedding on that money. A Mexican who goes back to Mexico with $20,000 can just put that money in the bank and never work again- the interest will be enough to live on.

All that while a smug and deluded Gringo is smiling at the Mexican with prideful satisfaction- see? America is the greatest! Everybody is coming here.

Everybody is leaving, too. Once they have $15,000-20,000 they are gone.

A Gringo can't ever scratch his behind for that kind of money.

While the Gringo must pay $400,000-500,000 for a piece of &^%$%^&^ apartment in San Diego and be in debt all his life and date spoiled women, the Mehicano is back home on a free- and clear ranch sleeping with his spicy senorita and living off the fat of the land.

That is his "American dream". Make $20,000 and get the hell out of the Gringolandia

God put everything that a human being needs onto this planet- great food, great music, great women. He just did not put it all in one country.

You almost always get what you pay for- if you go to a foreign country where prices are 3-5 times lower, do not expect the same quality of service and the same quality of products as you would get in a place like USA or Japan. People will be incompetent, your Big Mac will be stale and they will forget to put catch up on it. Phone operators will not be able to find even basic numbers for you- i.e "Please give me the US embassy"- "I do not know that number". Can you imagine?

Richer or Poorer country

If you move to a country that is richer than yours, you may run the risk of being pitied or looked down upon as someone less civilized.

If you go to a country poorer than yours you will get lots of admiration but also jealousy and will run the risk of being ripped off and cheated.

It is usually desirable if you can move to a country that is on the same level with yours economically to feel socially comfortable with the people there.


February 20, 2010

The friendliness of people (and women) of a certain country towards you depends on several factors

The friendliness of people ( and women )of a certain country towards you depends on several factors:

1) The difference in GDP between your country and theirs. The formula is this: Your country's yearly GDP /Her Country GDP= friendliness factor. I.e. $24000/$2400= 10. That means they will be ten times friendlier to you than women in your own country. Before you choose the place to go to, check out the GDP there and you will be able to calculate the friendliness factor with relative accuracy.
2) Similar religion- the more similar the better.
3) Race: the more similar, the better and/or the lighter the better.
4) With very few exceptions, the money factor will override all the other differences. If the factor 2 and 3 is any problem, more cash thrown at the situation will normally sway it in your favor.

The degree of scorn piled upon you, by the same token, will also be in proportion to how many times the GDP of the host nation is greater than that of the nation you come from.

Many things that your parents taught you about " That is the way the world is" are actually about the way things are in the country you are living in. While many social laws are universal- such as "nobody likes poor people"- (and even that is not true in all places- Communist countries, in fact, deify poor people), many other social laws vary from country to country and culture to culture. Conversely, many things that we think are proper of our country and only happen here, actually happen in other places, as well, and are just inherently human. So, when they tell you that "people are like that" or " society does not accept that" they are often talking about people and society in your country. A few hours' flight and things are as different as they can be- people are no longer "like that" and "society now accepts" whatever it did not accept back home. The same goes for ways to attract the opposite sex. What is considered to be a sure-fire- ( or imperative) way to get women in your country is no longer required. I for one, do not need to be spending three hours a day in the gym, have a Mercedes and buy elevator shoes to get a date in the Philippines.

International travelers often confuse hospitality towards a guest with acceptance, and politeness towards visitors, with friendliness. They also confuse good customer service given to a ( perceived) rich foreigner with sincere admiration. If you really want to see how accepting a certain culture is, try settling down in that country and doing business with the local people. Often, the countries that are the most hospitable and polite to guests are the ones that are extremely hostile to those who want to stay in them for good. By the same token, countries in which people seem to be mean and inhospitable to visitors turn out to be fairly accepting to those who want to settle down and assimilate. It is as if hospitality and politeness were exact opposites of acceptance and friendliness.

Fanatical patriots, cultural snobs, "my country is the best" arrogant nationalists, isolationists, ethnic and religious fundamentalists, racists and other such types miss out on huge opportunities to avail themselves of all the great wonders that an international lifestyle can provide. With 200 countries in the world, they think that only one country is the best and " has it all" and they do not take advantage of what the other 199 can confer upon them. They miss out on job opportunities, great natural sceneries, unique products, low prices, delicious foods and great friendships, romance and exquisite sexual delights that they can taste/obtain/partake in. However, because they do not know what abundant treasures are out there, they will still be happy in their country with what little they have for they do not know just *how* little they have. Ignorance truly is bliss. All that suits us just fine since we do not want them to compete with us for all these great jobs, women and other such foreign treasures, anyway.


No country has it all, and most countries are heavily weighed in one direction and are severely poor in another area. Countries that are materially rich are poor spiritually and socially. Countries with best jobs opportunities cannot usually provide too many gorgeous dates. Countries with most beautiful women have bad economies and rotten politics. It, therefore, stands to reason that in order to have it all, living in more than one country is often a necessity.


Jobs and women are some of the most untouchable treasures of a nation. Nobody likes a poor and/or not very educated foreigner looking for jobs and/or women in a richer country. He will get bad or no jobs and most probably, no women at all. Everybody, though, likes a rich tourist/ investor coming to the country with money. In the case of the investors, women will be available for marriage and other things depending on how much money he has. Rich tourists will have to avail themselves of less permanent love arrangements.


The richer the country, the colder, more arrogant, and unfriendly are its people. It also seems that, the richer the country, the lonelier, less sociable, more self-absorbed and less happy most people are. Beautiful, clean and prosperous, highly advanced countries have huge numbers of zombie-like inhabitants who are extremely unhelpful and selfish. It seems that money, good cars, good clothes and technological progress make masses of people less happy. It does not mean, however, that poverty is what makes people happy. It seems that countries that have* just enough* rather than * too much* or *too little* have the healthiest, happiest populations.


February 19, 2010

Language, discrimination and racism

According to Hollywood, all people in the world speak English with perfect grammar but with slight foreign accents. If the country is "bad", then the accent is sharper and more unpleasant. If the country is good, then the accent is barely audible. But the grammar is usually perfect. All the tenses are in place, the irregular verbs are used perfectly, the conditionals are immaculate, the vocabulary is copious.

Actually only some 8% of the world speaks English as the first language and some 20% speak it as a second language- which means imperfectly- past tense is not used, conditionals are of the variety : "If you come yesterday, I have the food, but you come today, I no have food".

About 70+% of the world does not speak English at all. And they have no plans to. If you are a brief tourist in a country whose language is not English, it is OK to get around using an interpreter or an English-speaking guide. If, however, you are planning on going to another, non-English-speaking country to live and work for an extended time period, and you are not making an effort to learn their language you are committing a serious act of disrespect.

People from the "Anglo" countries have a particularly big psychological block when it comes to learning foreign languages- for one, many natives want to practice English with them. Second, culturally, they have been taught that the world "kind of" speaks English and if it does not, it soon will. Plus, in the US, UK, Canada, etc. people have been taught to be practical- if it is not absolutely necessary, then one should not waste his time doing it. English is enough.

I, therefore, while traveling and speaking local languages to the natives hear one thing every time I open my mouth and talk to them in their tongue : " Oh, you can speak ( put the language in here). My neighbor is an American. He has been living here 20 years. He cannot speak a word of (put the language here). "

I was once in Puerto Rico and I would always hear about some Gringo who had been living in Puerto Rico for 30, 40 years and who cannot speak a word of Spanish. There is a word for people like that...


While the natives will not tell you this openly, in their hearts and among themselves they will say:
"Oh, what an a.s.shole! He has been living in our country for so long and he does not think that our culture warrants that he at least make the minimal effort to speak the local language. He is just another f...king arrogant foreign a.s.shole, just like the rest of them who have no respect for the host nation". I am sure you do not want people to think this about you in their hearts.

If you plan to live in a foreign country whose language is not English,the importance language learning is not to be underestimated. Two hours a day for one year will do wonders and most people will be happy to see you try.

However, do not make the mistake of thinking that just because you speak the language, your acceptance will be guaranteed or that you will become " one of them". But you will win many hearts- "he respects us, he is not an a.s.shole, like the other ones". Still, most people will want to hear the most melodious language of all - the rustling of fresh dollar bills. Most girls' parents would still prefer someone with money who does not speak the language to someone without it who speaks it. The best would be someone with the language skills and a pocket full of money.

A multilingual, multi-cultured, well-traveled American ( with money) is probably the world's most perfect human being.


Discrimination, bigotry and prejudice based on race, sex, class, caste, profession, economic status, religion, national origin, political view, nationality, citizenship, skin color, family status, etc. etc. are universal things and exist in every society. There is no getting away from prejudice. It is part and parcel of human thought, or even animal thought- most cats do not like dogs and will not distinguish a good one from a bad one. Dogs are not to be trusted.

The difference between prejudices as you go from country to country is the degree and extent of each one. For example, Germanic, Protestant societies as well as Confucian societies have a high incidence of racial prejudice but less class prejudice. Spanish colonies have much less racial prejudice and much more economic prejudice. Some countries have mixtures of various prejudices in various degrees. One thing always holds true in most societies- if you have enough cash, and your social status is high, you will be able to overcome most prejudice and live a semi-normal life. If you do not have huge amounts of cash, one should choose a country where there is not much prejudice against people of 'your kind'. I think that white people should not go and live in Thailand or Korea. Black people from the US would be very welcome in Ethiopia and treated fairly well in Brazil and the Dominican Republic. Asian Americans can go and live in Thailand and expect a fairly smooth integration into the society there. A Western woman should not expect to enjoy full rights in Saudi Arabia or Japan. An E. European man has no business going to the US and hoping to find a great girlfriend.

By knowing which countries have which prejudices against which people, one will avoid traumatic experiences in the future.


Countries in the Americas are immigrant countries- basically children of various immigrants mixed together. A birth in one of such countries makes you an automatic citizen and a national . Countries in Asia and Europe are indigenous. A birth there does not make you a national. A child of two Chinese parents born in the US is a Chinese-American. A child of two Chinese parents born in Russia is not a Chinese-Russian. Just a Chinese. Germany does not care if your family spent 200 years in Poland. You are still a German and always will be.


Media propaganda and stereotypes of people in certain countries are almost always untrue

Media propaganda and stereotypes of people in certain countries are almost always untrue. Not only they are untrue, the people in those countries often turn out to be the exact opposites of what you were taught they were. For better or for worse. Nationalities that were supposed to be unfriendly turn out to be very friendly and the ones that we were taught were friendly, turn out to be very hostile, indeed. That goes for other supposedly national characteristics as well.
Not only that, but once you start traveling, you will see that many things that you thought were true about your own country turn out to be untrue. They always taught you that your country was the best, the freests with the friendliest, most generous people. Maybe even the best girls. As you discover freeer countries with better people and more beautiful girls, a shock sets in.

Most views of other countries through the media are either completely false or are wild exaggerations. If you think that in Africa people live in trees with snakes around their necks and eat grass, you will probably not go there and will not take advantage of getting to know great, prosperous people, see their modern cities full of cars and skyscrapers, will not make new friends and learn about a beautiful culture, music and diversity that exists there. If you think of the Philippines or Brazil as a dangerous and violent countries, you will not travel to them to meet their high quality women. If you think of the Middle East as a camel- riding, terrorist-infested society, you will not go there to work and make your tax- free fortune. Which is fine with me as I will have less competition.


What people call you and how they see you, and even your race and nationality/identity changes as you go from country to country. A person who was known as "Black" in the US all his life discovers that he is now "American" or even "white" as he moves to Africa. Very few Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Poles from the US are seen as such when they go back to 'their countries". They are just referred to as "Americans". People who were "Chinese" in Malaysia all their lives become "Malaysians" when they go to China. People who thought of themselves as short become tall as they go to a society where average height is lower. Men of average looks become handsome in the Philippines and handsome men from the US become average in Italy. Average girls from E. Europe and Asia become "gorgeous" in the US. Popular American women become unsightly nobodys and unneeded white elephants in Asia and E. Europe.

By knowing how the perception of you will change, you can find places where people like yourself fit in better or are afforded more admiration and higher status. You can even use many things that were disadvantageous socially in your country to your advantage in another. A Spanish-speaking person in the US, for one, will not get as much admiration there as he would in Quebec, Canada, where Spanish language is seen as extremely romantic and a sign of status. A man who is 5'7" in the US and who is pumping iron to make up for his short stature in America, will not be called a "shorty" in Japan or Vietnam and will not feel insecure as he often would back in the US. Actually, it will be to his advantage not to stick out like a sore thumb. He will have all the dates he wants once he goes to the right country. If Collin Powell wanted it, he could move to Sudan and become a white man there. He is one to the Sudanese according to the African culture. One drop of Black blood in the US makes you black but 25% white blood in most African Americans make them "white" in Africa.


What is good or bad varies from culture to culture. What is normal, accepted and legal behavior in one country will land you in jail in another or even get you killed. While the "Fahrenheit 9/11" movie is legal in the US, such a movie made about a president of some other country will not be released and its author ( and all his crew) will be imprisoned or killed. A Dutchman who is used to being able to buy marijuana at any time, will feel that the US is very repressive when it comes to such things. A Kenyan may not criticise his president openly but he can have twelve wives and build a village for his one husband- twelve wife family. In the US, he will be jailed for polygamy-a separate sentence for each wife above one.

As an international traveler, one should be aware of such legal and cultural freedoms and restrictions and be very careful and discreet. Coming back home and bragging about things that you did abroad where they were legal or trying to do things that were legal at home but not legal abroad may prove to be your undoing. Extreme discretion is therefore highly advised. Most people (and judges) are not travelers and will not understand your international view on such things.


Contrary to the Hollywood image of how things are, most of the world does not treat Americans as heroes. Most people in the "non-white" world cannot even tell an American from a German or a Russian. You may think of yourself as such ( an American) but they have their own name for you ( such as White Ghost) and will dump you together with the above groups just like you would often dump all people that you perceive to be of one race into one group. It is called "distance decay". A Korean would not put himself into the same category with Mongolians, Japanese and Aleuts, but he would put all white Americans, Canadians, Brits, Iranians and Czechs into one blurred " nationality". A Black African would go even further: he can distinguish different people and tribes in Africa with amazing clarity and sees it as a very diverse place, but a Japanese and a British tourist look exactly the same to him and he cannot tell them apart- they are not Black, the skin is light- they are, therefore, of one nationality. Westerners, of course, cannot tell different Africans apart at all but can probably tell each other apart quite easily.


Introduction by friend Winston Wu

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your interest in pursuing knowledge and understanding of the multi-national world, expanding your cultural awareness, and openness in allowing others to share with you what they’ve learned.

The following is a collection of intellectual dissertations, observations, comparisons, insights, wisdom, lessons and advice on international living and dating by my Advisor, an extraordinary expat, traveler and writer who goes by the pseudonym “Ladislav”, and whom I’ve dubbed “The Socrates of International Culture and Dating”. I’ve collected them from the many posts he’s made online throughout the years.

Having been to over 30 countries and speaking 10 languages (a phenomenal number), Ladislav has lived an effective life and lived his dreams at the same time, by combining the benefits and advantages of multiple countries in different areas of life. He is a firm believer that one country does not have it all, and may not give you all that you want and need. So the most effective path is to combine lives in multiple countries, a concept he calls “quilting your world”.

Throughout his years of travels and experiences, he has developed a multi-national scope of depth that few can ever touch, which is very evident in his writings, insight, analysis, and observations. Thus, I’ve often quoted from him in many parts of my Happier Abroad Ebook. His multi-faceted wisdom and insight in practical, sociological and psychological areas reflect a depth and broadness I’ve never encountered before. It is unparalleled and you will not find anything like it either online or in any other book. I can guarantee you that.

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him in person, and I can say that the conversations I’ve had with him reminded me of the conversations between Socrates and his students chronicled by Plato in his works.

Ladislav does not even consider this collection, which he dubbed “Expatriate Observations”, to even be a book, but rather an unfinished neverending continuation of observations and insights he gains during his journeys. And as such, the reader will notice that the content is not organized or structured in any systemic way.

Thanks to his generosity of spirit, he has allowed me to collect what he’s written so far and put them together here.

Now I should warn you first, that there is NO political correctness at all in these observations – only truth, depth and insight. Therefore, if you are one of the many out there who filters the truth you see through “politically correct lenses” as I call it, you may be in for a rude shock. So be prepared. This caters to very open minded types who can see things the way they are, without any politically correct programming filter. So make sure you are willing to become such a type, before continuing on.

Please keep in mind that, as with my Happier Abroad Ebook, the dissertations and observations expressed here are only general guiding rules, not absolutes. Ladislav acknowledges that exceptions exist for every general pattern, and that such exceptions can be cited by others. Thus, absolutes are not claimed here, only patterns and tendencies.

Also please note that this is a collection of observations and experiences filled with insight and wisdom, not a guidebook telling you what to do. In fact, no one can rightly tell you what to do with your life. There is no magic formula or single path that is right for everyone or works for all people. Everyone has their own path, destiny and karma that is gradually discovered through progressive revelation. Thus no one person, no matter how brilliant or experienced, really knows what is “right” for another. To presume that they do would be foolish. However, there is nothing wrong with sharing one’s observations, experiences and lessons learned for another to consider, and as an aid for introspection or self-reflection. Taken in that perspective, this collection is quite a gem.

Therefore, I now present Expatriate Observations, and it is my hope that you will find the content as enriching as I have.

Winston Wu
Founder of HappierAbroad.com