When I traveled to Colombia, I was staying in a city called Barranquilla.
I spent most of my time in Barranquilla.
But I also traveled to other Colombian cities during my time there.
One of those cities were Pereira.
Now, as you can read in this article I wrote here, I quite enjoyed Pereira.
And the city Manizales that is nearby.
The greater Coffee Triangle of Colombia I enjoyed all around.
Because I like coffee?
No, because the region was beautiful in terms of natural scenery.
So many nice hiking trails nearby.
And the city itself didn’t seem half bad.
It’s not the most exciting city by any means.
But Pereira is a city that is gaining a little bit of an expat community over the years.
Especially as it can be quite a peaceful place.
Anyway, about a year ago, I learned about another gringo who decided to travel to Colombia.
Who, from my perspective, was basically just looking for a place to get some hot ass.
Some guy who basically just wants to fuck a bunch of women and that is his main motivation for living in Colombia.
When he was talking about his experience in Colombia, he talked about Pereira.
And how he hated that city.
According to him, he had all sorts of bad luck in that city.
Cops fucking with him for a bribe.
Someone trying to mug him.
Everything bad under the sun.
Now I didn’t have any bad experiences whatsoever.
I thought the city was just fine to be honest.
It’s not necessarily a city I would choose to live in.
But that’s mostly because of how small it is.
It’s great to visit for the natural scenery nearby but I prefer a bigger metropolitan city that has millions of people.
But I don’t have anything against Pereira itself.
At any rate, this all goes to a certain point that needs to be said.
Which is that you should be careful when it comes to reading or listening to the perspectives of other gringos who talk about certain areas in Latin America.
Because our previous experiences in life obviously are going to shape how we see new areas and experiences that we come across.
There are at least two ways I see this playing out.
The first one has to do with security.
In the case with the gringo mentioned above…
He clearly saw Pereira as a dangerous shithole.
I saw it as perfectly fine.
Didn’t seem dangerous to me.
But he also got targeted more and just had bad luck in general with that area.
So that’s how it was.
What about me as of now?
I live in Mexico City as I am writing this.
I know for a fact that folks back home would find Mexico City to look dangerous if they ever came for a visit.
Well, I’m from a small town in Iowa.
The small town in Iowa has its faults for sure.
But it’s not bad.
The worse crime of the year is if some random person from Chicago gets shot in the area.
But Mexico City has a lot more crime than that obviously.
And it just looks shady compared to my small town.
A lot more homeless people – much more than anywhere else I have seen in the world.
And some parts of Mexico City that I have lived in have a rougher look.
Like this area called Cuatro Caminos that I wrote about here.
Despite all of that, I wouldn’t say Mexico City is dangerous.
Because it doesn’t feel too dangerous compared to other cities I have been to in Latin America.
Due to my experience in countries like Brazil, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, etc…
Well, Mexico City feels like paradise.
It really does.
In some other parts of Latin America, you get that feeling that someone is about to pop out of nowhere and fuck with you.
Maybe some folks like these two dudes strolling by on a motorcycle looking to rob someone as you can see here.
At any rate, security is one thing.
But it’s not the only thing gringos focus on.
Another aspect to life down here has to deal with dating.
There’s this one guy I know about who likes to travel down to Latin America basically for prostitutes.
Anyway, I know that he used to like visiting Colombia and I don’t think he has any issue with Colombia nowadays.
But then he took a trip to Brazil and now he doesn’t care for Colombia.
He sees Brazil as being much nicer for what he wants and that’s it.
You got guys who say the same thing about other countries.
Of course, it can go other ways.
I know about one dude who traveled to northern Mexico often because he was basically looking for a wife.
Some dude I never met in person but I know about him in a chat I have been part of.
Anyway, his name is Matt just like me.
And I guess he took a liking to Mexican chicks.
But his tune seemed to change over time.
He started saying shit like “all Mexican women are single mothers” and whatever else.
Now, when I heard that, I found that strange.
Living in Mexico for about 4 years now, I can’t remember the last time I went on a date with a single mother.
I ended up thinking that maybe that is simply what he attracts.
Maybe somehow he is just attracting more single mothers who are desperate for a guy to provide money and he doesn’t have much else to offer?
That’s my opinion anyway.
So again --- experiences vary.
People can have wildly different experiences in the same country or even the same city.
Ultimately, that impacts how they talk about those areas and the advice you ultimately get listening to them.
Just always keep in mind the context of what they are saying.
And talking now about my own experiences changing as I’ve gone through living in Latin America….
My Own Development in Latin America
Finally, there is one thing you will notice when it comes to yourself after enough years living down here and traveling around.
Which is that, obviously, you end up comparing previous areas you visited to current ones.
Not a big revelation but it’s a small part of life down here.
For example, when I first started traveling down here…
I took a trip to Chiapas, Mexico and then Guatemala and Nicaragua.
As I wrote in this article here, I didn’t enjoy Nicaragua.
And it almost made me decide against traveling through the rest of Latin America.
Because my individual experience there was shit.
Shit mostly because of bad luck on my end and that was it.
Well, I’m glad I didn’t let the single experience ruin everything.
Or else I’d have sacrificed so many awesome experiences traveling through the rest of Latin America.
And by the time I had arrived to Mexico City some odd years later…
Like I said, Mexico City felt like paradise to me.
It was simply so much nicer and for a much better cost of living than compared to really most of Latin America that I had been to.
It had the perfect combination of having a cost of living that was relatively low compared to all the benefits of living here.
Subsequently, I haven’t left Mexico City since.
Although I’m getting that desire to travel again.
Either way, my previous experiences in Latin America helped me make an informed decision about Mexico City.
And how much nicer it was relative to the rest of the region.
Maybe I would’ve felt differently or not as excited about the city had it been the very first spot I had traveled to.
I could honestly see that.
Given the amount of homeless people we got and a few other dumb things about the city…
Well, I could see how not having that ability to compare Mexico City to so many other parts of Latin America could’ve changed my opinion on the city.
And perhaps even make me decide to leave it earlier than I would have.
Anyway, nothing more to be said here.
It’s just a minor aspect of living in Latin America.
When it comes to gringos talking about their own experiences and how you should understand the context in which they are being said to you.
But also how your own perception of specific places will be influenced greatly by your previous experiences in other areas of the region.
Anyway, got any questions or comments?
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Thanks for reading.