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There are many vendors who would try and convince you that going abroad without traveler's insurance is downright foolish. However, most people going on vacation have already invested enough in their travel costs that they generally overlook extra costs they consider frivolous, at best.

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Understanding Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is important to understand, since like health insurance coverage, the customer may be refused coverage. Many insurance companies will offer a surplus of coverage for individuals and families. The company will consider few aspects of the policyholder, by reviewing the risk factors involved. If the policyholder is a high-risk the company may cover the holder, but the premiums will be higher than standard in most instances. Travel Insurance on the other hand, can refuse customers if they pose a high-risk.

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The Realities of Mexican Living

I had an interesting encounter the other day with one of my readers. Actually, every encounter with my readers is interesting. They are never boring. This lady read some of my articles about living in Guanajuato, Mexico. She and her husband live in Mexico already but are thinking of moving to Guanajuato.We corresponded with a couple of e-mails and I think I offended this woman.

Whenever I get e-mails from people asking about living in Guanajuato, I immediately make the assumption that they are virtually Spanish-illiterate. I am almost always correct.You see, what exists in the mostly American expatriate communities in Mexico, like San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, and the popular resort areas where American expats have traditionally flocked, is they do not learn Spanish nor do they assimilate into the culture. They do in Mexico what they would be screaming about if they were still in the States concerning the immigrant population in America?not learning English and thus not assimilating into the culture.I do not want to see in Guanajuato what has happened in other areas of Mexico.

In San Miguel de Allende, for example, you could live and never have to speak one word of Spanish. Many of the American expats are quite upfront about this issue and ask why they should learn Spanish. They require anyone who works for them to speak English. This attitude has changed San Miguel de Allende into something other than what it used to be. It is an American colony or enclave in a Mexican wrapper.My conversation with this reader took on a scary tone.

She took offense at the direction most of my writing about Mexico has taken in recent months. In my first book, The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico, I dealt with issues concerning The Ugly American in Mexico. If you want to read some "reviews," go to Amazon.com and type in Doug Bower.

Read the reactions to that book. Americans who review the book negatively say things like, "He is a bitter man." or "He has issues.".Americans do not want to confront the reality that they act badly in foreign countries. Mexico is no exception.

Though not all without exception come here and act like they were raised by wolves, a great deal of them certainly do. To prove that point, all you would have to do is come to San Miguel de Allende and sit in the Jardin for a while. You would not be disappointed.In our new book, which will be released in two weeks, I deal with the reality of Americans who do want to learn the language and assimilate into the culture. I also write about what it is we have to deal with on a daily basis living in Mexico. The first book: the reality of Americans acting badly in Mexico.

The second book: the reality of how hard it is to live in Mexico.Mexico is not a perfect society. From the way some Americans react to what I have written about the realities of Mexican culture, one that is vastly different from the American culture and one that is very difficult, you would think that Mexicans personify holy righteousness.They do not.Some American expats are so infatuated with Mexico that they simply cannot see there is indeed a dark side to the culture.

And, if you point it out, even with proofs and reasoning, they label you a bigot.For example, I pointed out in an article, "not one shred of logic or an ethic of honesty applies in this country." I should have clarified that with a, "as we Americans understand honesty and logic." As Americans, we would regard it as dishonest for a landlord to wire outside security lights into your duplex electric meter, not tell you about it, and expect you to pay for the higher light bill.

This happened to us here in Guanajuato.When we figured this out, we moved immediately. Before writing about this, I asked my Mexican friends about this situation.

They told me this is standard practice and it did not shock them. I was told that since I am an American, it is assumed that to do something like this is ok.Another example: We were told by a Mexican woman we trusted that it is standard practice for contractors to have elaborate schemes to cheat Americans. When you hire someone to paint your house, he will tell you the "American price" for the paint and labor, paint your house, and then pocket the difference.

And, there is the American Price for things and there is the Mexican Price for things. Most expats we know will send a trusted Mexican friend to buy things because when the vendors or service people see the American coming, the price goes up, up, and up!.Just the other day, we got lectured that "We" needed to walk on one side of the sidewalk so the Mexicans could walk on the inside part of the sidewalk. "We" should walk on the side closest to the street.On three occasions, either a bus or a truck has hit me because Mexicans have shoved me off the sidewalk. The same thing happened to an American expat who is almost 70 years old.

A taxi nailed her. Mexicans also shove each other off the sidewalks. On the buses, it is even more horrible.I cannot count the times I have been on a bus when a pregnant woman, with small kids in tow, gets on and no one will get up so she can sit down. You could be a crippled pregnant woman with kids in tow, and blind as well, and your fellow Mexicans will not surrender their seats for you.

This is such a problem that the local television stations in Central Mexico have started doing public service announcements dealing with this "reality of Mexican life." This is a reality that some American expats, like this woman who wrote me, cannot (or refuse to) see.They would not be doing these television announcements if this were not an issue.

Mexicans in central Mexico will not surrender their bus seats to handicapped persons or pregnant ladies. There have been some horrid accidents as the result.It is to this sort of rhetoric that the woman who wrote me took offense.

What then does an American Expatriate who is a writer do? Ignore it? Pretend it does not exist? Look the other way?.I think not.I've been trying to think, "just how did this woman who wrote me manage to miss this reality if she already lives in Mexico?".Here is what I came up with:.Americans, the vast majority, come here and do not learn Spanish. They depend on cable or satellite television, all in English, and would not watch the local television station's public service announcements.

How could they understand the announcements if they did see them?.They live in isolated Americans-only gated communities. They live in an isolated situation and never (or at least rarely) mix with the nationals?as in San Miguel de Allende?so they do not see the realities of Mexican living.They've invented their own reality.


OUR NEW BOOK.Guanajuato, México--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of Frogs.Guanajuato, México ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico.

The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, MÉXICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.Contact Information:
Doug and Cindi Bower


By: Douglas Bower

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