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Don't overdo the friendliness. Stay somber while travelling alone.
Confidence games abound in many places. Information is power for certain parasites, con men, and dangerous criminals. It is really up to the individual (mark) to divulge information. Often times the mark's vanity, projection of wealth, and unlawful behavior/dishonesty is prayed upon, and solicited, and is his/her own undoing. These things range from the relatively innocuous: hustling people to buy timeshares and properties of dubious value--calling one's hotel room ceaselessly("But I only told him my name, and the hotel I was staying at) to dangerous and frightening situations where loose lips can sink a knife into your throat.
Expats can be some of the worst. Many scammers who operated their tricks in el Norte, have moved their trade to the less regulated third world, operating in a largely unregulated, and poor climate for adjudication. Just because a person is friendly or of a certain ethnicity does not mean he/she means you no ill will. Hint: many brokers arrived in the South with dubious reputations from up North. Buyer beware.
How many hapless tourists have I seen buy into offers of dope in these places, only to be turned out in sting operations that see both the executive and judiciary exact their pound of flesh on the person, and extortion of their families in the 1st world.
Intelligence seems to go to the wind, when a "chance of a lifetime" is on offer. Momma said, "If it is too good to be true, it probably is." Listen to Momma.
Many people just don't know how to ask questions. They are passive participants in conversation. It is work to come up with questions to ask someone, and most people just don't want to put in the leg work. Or they think you may be offended by them asking questions about your life. For example, many expats that I have met seem to have this ideology that they started a brand new life when moving abroad and the old one is dead. I have pissed many off by asking questions about what they use to do for a living. "That doesn't matter any more," they try to say. Of course it matters if you want to have a relationship with someone that goes beyond a single meeting. If I have a problem with my computer I want to know if any of my friends were once a computer tech etc. . . It seems as if people don't want you to know about them if they don't want to have any sort of responsibility to you. Which is fine, but they can't expect me to make a return investment of friendship. Conversation is a giving game, it takes effort, it should not be a relaxing activity -- it should be stimulating. If you want to relax, go read a book by yourself haha.
"I Give You Give Interview of Expats
There is a need for reciprocity in conversations, when I say hello, I demand the person say hello back, generally if not, they are not my friend."
I hate that. I've had people do that to me when I ask "How ya doin?," and it ticks me off when they don't even respond, so when that happens and I get no response, I say, "WELL I GUESS NOT TOO GOOD THEN." They usually continue to say nothing, but I secretly delight in the fact that I let them have it for their ignorance and rudeness, and without retribution. LOL
But yes, people that do that are downright rude, and above all, I totally DESPISE rude people. That kind of behavior just IRKS me to no end.
To invest in land in the DR or any other country you need not do business with or through ex pats, in many countries it is difficult enough doing business with or through the natives, even if you are advanced or fluent in the local language, I always worked with people and never invested money, just time and effort, it is risky, if you have an ex pat friend, someone you know awhile face to face, in Sousa, take him or her aside and ask who is 'kosher' and who is not in both the ex pat and native communities, it does not matter what country or region that any individual is 'from', it is the content of their character and often remember the other person may be suspicious of you, as they neither know you in person nor on line, most ex pats, permanent tourists and perpetual travelers, like many of the people on the planet have had financial problems, divorces, personal problems, some have overcome addictions, some come South to be in a place where they are able to drink from noon to midnight with no stigma attached, to each his or her own, when I was recently in Guatemala I walked into a friends hotel, a native, trust was instant, we have known each other for 25 years, I needed to buy certain things, this man told me who to go see, later that evening other locals I know well came by the hotel, go where you have friends, not 'friendly people' that you know and trust, or the other alternative is to stay around Sousa for 6 months or so and find a couple of people, ex pat or native, that you trust, for as you travel most of the year, you will need a responsible person in the area to take care of tenants and watch over empty properties, travelers go from one place to another, travelers are transients, in the 1980s and early 1990s when I was imbedded in the ex pat communities of Guatemala, travelers who wished to start businesses were known as 'floating gringos' and were not generally not trusted since they had no 'roots', talk to the Sousa ex pats who have been around for years, don't generalize and realize that most of the people you meet do not know you or your website, some people are not gregarious by nature, I am and many times I have been 'rejected' myself. As far as my background, I am not required to tell my life story to strangers, once I know you, trust you, ex pat, traveler or native I will open up, lot of trolls out there in the world, takes some work. When I registered for the Synagouge in El Salvador in 1995, I told the French-Jewish lady at the table I had a 'checkered background', she told me "Mon ami, not to worry, every Jew in Central America has a checkered background." I am not alone. Most of the travelers I meet here in El Salvador are traveling and curious to see a country which has suffered so much and amazed how safe it is in general, and yes I am integrated in society socially here, I have introduced many persons around but usually they do not stay around long enough to gain trust..to end..if I went to a small town in the US wishing to do business, I would have to gain the trust of locals first before the 'doors would open' for me, same abroad. Ciao
Do not be 'somber', never lose your sense of humor, I have two femal\e friends in Antigua, Guatemala who are long term working ex pats, one was brought to live in Antigua by her Father when she was 13, you would not believe what these hard working women, who also donate time and money to charity, have to go through and cope with day in and day out. They are business owners, so are you, cope, hope and manage, some days the right people come to you, other days you are swatting the flies, You are not alone Andy.
LIFE IN THE TROPICS
another sh***y day in paradise!
quite right ...Ah yes the key is to be sober--not somber. : )
I miss Bah a lot, I miss West - West Africa a lot, I am now in a more dangerous place, but good Internet and a beach. Ghana was 10-30 times safer than here, my roommate got mugged last night, she was shaking when she returned home. I have to unlock to barred doors and a wooden door to enter and leave my house.
Every conversation I have w/ an American is a 1-way street: all about them, zero interest in me. I avoid other expats.
In light of what happened can you still recommend this area as a place to live short term. This may also explain the reluctance of expats to be so open and trusting. As a female traveler the safety level would be important...an area that is 10-30x more dangerous than Ghana may not be quite the bargain I need or want. I'm from Chicago see violence everyday not interested in a more dangerous setting particularly in a foreign country.
My wife and I know from experience that foreigners met in two third's of the world's poorer nations are often less trustworthy than the locals even though they survive and live their lives on only U$60 to U$300 / month incomes.