All you need to know about Iberian America

The Benefits of the Informalities of Latin America

Published December 27, 2020 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 1 Comment

As I wrote here….

One of the common complaints from gringos about life in Latin America is how it seems “nothing works right down here.”

The cops steal from you as you can read here.

Or transportation issues are abundant as you can read here.

Perhaps customer service seems to be shit all the time.

And whatever other issue of the day that seems to piss off the regular ol’ gringo.

However, I see it a little bit differently.

On one hand, yes – it does suck ass when things are not done properly down here.


On the other hand, there are benefits to that as well that a gringo can always take advantage of.

Because of how informal things are down here, it’s easier to get away doing things that wouldn’t as likely fly in the US.

Where if you were to do certain things in the US, you’d possibly be facing jail time, heavy fines, lawsuits or whatever else.

So because “things don’t always work right down here…”

Or, better said, because things are more “informal” down here…

You can get away with stuff, cut corners or break the rules with either no consequences or very minimal consequences at times.

Not that I’m encouraging you to do that or any of the examples I will bring up below…

But let’s get to some examples of what I mean.

Public Sex in the DR

Of course, you can have public sex in the US…

Many people do!

It’s just that if you get caught, you are more likely to face heavier fines in the US than anywhere in Latin America.

For example, according to this source here, the fine for certain acts like having public sex in the US comes with “a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine.”

Now, to be fair, I’d be willing to bet that the “official” fine in most Latin countries is probably pretty similar.

Some threat of jail time or whatever it might be.

The difference is that you have the possibility of getting around that.

How so?

Just bribe the cop!

In the US, I doubt I’d be able to bribe a cop to get out of that predicament.

Though I’m sure people have bribed cops up there…

It’s just not anywhere near as common or likely for you to do.

For example, when I was in the Dominican Republic as you can read here

I fucked a chick named Deborah in a public bathroom late at night.

We finished our business but got caught!

The guy in question started threatening me with jail time…

And, pulling out all of the money I had left in my pockets…

I had maybe 10 bucks in my pants or whatever it was and said to the guy “this is all I got.”

I didn’t even ask if he’d take a bribe – “here is all the money I got. We good?”

Immediately, his demeanor went from being angry at me to “oh, ok, esta bien….”

Took the money and away I went.

Similar to the guy in the next example below, you realize over time that a lot of people can be bought down here.

A lot of people have their hands out for some cash – many times small amounts – because of how shitty most jobs pay down here.

And there just seems to be a culture of corruption among a lot of folks anyway.

Not like I invented it with this guy…

Just played the game.

A Bribe for Some Vodka

Some recent time ago, I was walking around looking for some vodka to buy for the weekend.

Well, I had a problem.

There was some new rule enforced in my specific part of Mexico City that says that we can’t buy liquor on the weekends.

Anyway, I didn’t know that when I went to the first store to buy some vodka.

The guy told me that I could come back on Monday to buy it.

So I figured I could find someone who would be willing to sell me vodka.

Perhaps some poorly paid worker who is alone and doesn’t remember the new rule in the moment that I ask for it.

Anyway, one store after another…

There’s quite a few along the path to my apartment.

I had gotten some food and now I’m passing by every small store asking each person if I can buy some vodka.

They all say no.

Until I get to the last store….

There’s this young looking kid who couldn’t be older than 20 and who is probably paid the usual minimum wage of 5 dollars a day in Mexico or some shit…

So I ask the kid if I can have some vodka.

For a split second, I felt I had him – he looked at it and it looked like he was about to reach for it.

Then he must have remembered “oh wait, no liquor on the weekends. We can’t let people enjoy liquor while they are dying of covid.”

So he turns around to me and says “no, sorry, no liquor on the weekends.”

Now keep in mind this was a little bit later in the night when this happened…

And I don’t remember seeing anyone else in the building – at least within ear shot of us.

No customers or fellow employees though I’m sure he had some in the back room or something…

Anyway, I say to the kid with a 20 peso note in my hand – “if I give you this, will you sell me the vodka?”

He looks at me dumbfounded like he can’t believe that even the gringos are cashing in on corruption also!

A “the fuck did he say?” look on his face – only confusion though and no anger.

He asks me again what I said and I repeat myself.

He takes a second to think about it and then reaches for the vodka.

The 20 pesos anyway is only like a dollar so I’m a little bit surprised it worked.

Granted, he’s a kid who is maybe 18 and maybe doesn’t give a fuck if he loses his minimum wage job.

His parents probably take care of him anyway.

Anyway, as far as I know, nobody said anything to him but who knows.

Regardless, sometimes people come at you for the money instead of you offering it to them….

Cutting Lines in Peru

I was never in Peru for very long…

But I entered Peru for a month after crossing the border near Lake Titicaca on a bus coming in from La Paz, Bolivia.

And I only spent time around Cusco area mostly – checking out Machu Picchu and some of the surrounding Inca looking spots and all.

I didn’t have much time anyway for Peru as I had to leave a month later to catch a flight from La Paz, Bolivia to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Anyway, there was a moment in my time in Peru where I had to stand in line at some government office.

I forgot what the office was exactly since it’s been some odd years but I think it was to get my passport stamped to enter or leave the country.

But I’m not positive though that makes the most sense.

Anyway, I’m standing in line and it’s a fairly big line…

When I get tapped on the shoulder by someone.

Someone I didn’t know.

Who offered me a chance to cut in front of this big ass line to the front for a small fee.

In hindsight, I imagine it must be some poorly paid government worker or someone who is looking to make some side cash offering gringos a chance to skip the line

What was the heavy fee in question?

If I remember right, it was 20 soles exactly.

I’m not sure what that would have been back then as it has been a few odd years…

But Google translate says that is roughly $5.54 USD as of right now.

Anyway, I paid the fee and that was it.

Though sometimes gringos do things down here that doesn’t have much to do with bribes…

And something that exposes more how badly run the system is down here.

Here’s an example below that happens to include this time someone not me.

Ripping Off Apartment Owners

As I wrote in greater detail in this article here

It’s not just the locals scamming people.

I have often heard on other expat blogs about how you have scam artist gringos down here.

Such as this guy here who ran some prostitute business in Colombia and often fucked over some of his clients.

Anyway, there’s only one gringo down here that I can think of that I have met personally who is in the business of scamming people.

His story is actually kinda interesting.

It mostly just involves fucking over apartment owners in Mexico City.

The basics of the scam though are pretty tame compared to having prostitutes and a threatening tax driver in LATAM.

Basically he will look for apartment owners that are desperate for a tenant…

Though without contracts for example for the room itself.

Then he will ask to live there but ask if he can pay the deposit in several amounts where the first payment is like a month after he is already living there.

Then when the first month is over, the apartment owner wants the second month of rent plus a part of the deposit.

He will then claim that his debit card has had money stolen from it and he needs the bank from the US to send the next card.

Which could, as he tells them, “take a month or so.”

And being a gringo with the perception that he has enough money to pay back and all…

The apartment owner goes along with it and he basically stalls them for a month or sometimes even 2 months without paying anything.

Coming up with whatever excuses he can.

Then ditches.

Basically getting 1 to 2 months of free rent every time.

I imagine his financial situation isn’t very good to be doing this but whatever.

Anyway, he says that he never gets any punishment for a variety of reasons.

That they never had a contract to prove he lived there and sometimes these apartment owners who rent without contracts are avoiding taxes to begin with…

To the fact that he tells them he lives in the US now and they are not likely to pursue an international process against him to get the money of 200 bucks or whatever he owes them.

To the fact that the court system in Mexico is so shit and slow that it would cost a lot more time and money to get anything anyway – which is no guarantee in Mexico.

Again, as I said before, I don’t encourage anyone to do things like this but it does show you how “the informalities” of life down here can and often are exploited by gringos to their advantage.

And the locals as well!

Of course, the informalities go beyond just being a rude cunt scamming people…

“Marijuana? Marijuana?”

Being honest, I’m not at all into using drugs personally.

The main reason is I’m too lazy to pursue it – I’m sure some drugs could be fun to do but I know nothing about how easy or difficult it is to get them in LATAM or Gringolandia.

However, my suspicion is that they are fairly easy to get down here if you want them.

Maybe easier then the US?

I have no idea.

I prefer liquor personally because I can go to a store and just buy it and done.

Though I have smoked occasionally in the US when I was in college.

And a few times in LATAM.

I remember the first time I ever smoked in college at some dorm party….

And I remember thinking to myself “is this it? This is all it is?”

I wasn’t impressed as it didn’t do anything for me.

But maybe it was low quality.

Anyway, I remember in Colombia funny enough….

I was walking down some dark street in Cartagena with another guy whose name also happened to be Matt.

I think he was from Virginia or somewhere on that side of the US.

Anyway, we are walking down this dark street alone heading back to the hotel where we and some other gringos were staying that were with us…

And I was a bit drunk at the time so just fooling around…

When, for absolutely no reason, I just yell out “marijuana? Marijuana?”

I wasn’t even looking to buy.

I’m not even sure I had money on me at the time.

I was just drunk and being a dumb young kid.

Anyway, we kept walking and maybe 3 seconds after I yelled that…

Someone yells back out “Si!”

I heard it but didn’t think he yelled that at us.

But the other Matt heard it and thought “oh shit? For real?”

So he turns his head around as we stop and some young skinny dude…

Who was maybe medium brown skin with curly short black hair in a yellow loose shirt and some light blue jeans…

Funny how I remember some details but not if Matt was from Virginia or not…

Anyway, that guy waves his hand at us as he was sitting on the edge of the sidewalk and we approach him.

The other Matt was actually interested in buying something and he negotiates with the guy.

Or does the best negotiating a gringo can do without getting gringo priced…

But I remember Matt was impressed by the prices he got – I don’t remember what they were but I guess it was a good enough deal for him to like it.

So the guy runs off and comes back with a few bags of some stuff.

Marijuana and some other drugs as well…

He buys it and that was it.

He went to the hotel….

And, according to my 10 lawyers, I can’t say I did anything.

Legally, I am completely in the clean and I would never do anything like that!

I’m a good guy.

Believe me…..

Anyway, rumor on the street was that it was apparently very potent stuff….

Not that I would know….

Just what people told me, you know?

Regardless, that was that.

Paying for Sex

Moving on, it is well known that some gringos come down to Latin America for sex.

Maybe even romance and finding themselves a wife!

Personally, I don’t get why people would live down here specifically for that as I feel a lot of the negatives would outweigh the positives if you only just want sex here.

Like if you just want sex, why not go take a year off in Brazil or Colombia and then go back home where you can take an occasional one week visit back here time to time?

At least then you are not necessarily sacrificing income potential.

Regardless, the guy I mentioned in the apartment scamming section?

One of his reasons to be in Mexico was to bang a bunch of hot chicks – though they all come from Tinder and whatever so not really paying for it…

Anyway, he plans on leaving soon enough as he has had his fair share of fun.

I also like to have fun but not into paying for it myself.

But some guys do!

And that’s cool – no judgment.

Though I rarely ever meet gringos down here who admit to paying for sex down here

But I do remember one – a much older name named Jeffrey in Guatemala.

As you can read briefly about here.

He was an older American that often sat in the same couch area of a café that I often went to when I was spending a few months in Xela, Guatemala.

He was there mostly for the sex, the booze, low cost of living and living with privacy from the government.

Anyway, he would often talk about his time in the US and also time in Guatemala.

He was big into prostitutes.

Which makes sense – he was a much older guy in his 60s maybe so it’s not like he would normally get young 20 year old chicks to fuck him otherwise.

Sometimes he would even get into trouble but not often…..

He recalled how one time he got drugged by a prostitute and ended waking up with all of the money taken out of his pockets.

Lesson learned.

Either way, maybe he’s still at it fucking Guatemalan prostitutes.

And, from what he told me, they could come as cheap as 5 bucks to as expensive as 30 bucks sometimes.

Imagine paying a normal looking chick 5 bucks in the US to suck your dick?

Ain’t happening.

Final Thoughts

As I said, many of these things you wouldn’t get away with in the US but do satisfy gringos and locals here!

If you tried scamming apartment owners in the US, here’s a lawsuit.

5 dollar prostitutes? Ain’t happening for that price but also could come with jail time.

Yelling out “drugs? Drugs?” in some random street and getting some with no jail time? I never bought drugs in the US but I have my doubts.

Paying someone to get you in front of the line? Sounds like something you see here below from a favorite movie of mine: Goodfellas.

Bribing the store employee to break some government enforced rule? Ehhh, maybe but I doubt it.

And I imagine bribing your way out of public sex or for the vodka would be more difficult anyway.

Regardless, it is what it is.

There is a benefit to all of this that I like.

It’s the other side of the coin!

While there are negatives to how informal everything is and the rules not always being followed…

To things being permitted here that wouldn’t happen in the US…

There are also benefits to all of this when you learn how to play the game in a way with some time down here.

Instead of complaining about the negatives, some prefer knowing how to take advantage of them so you end out better.

Either way, got any comments or questions? Drop them below in the comment section.

Follow my Twitter here.


Best regards,


1 comment

Alfonso - April 5, 2021 Reply

very interesting topic, outstanding post.

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