culture

15 Stereotypes About Foreigners Visiting Latin America

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Oh, stereotypes. What would intercultural relations be without a few simple-minded preconceptions of foreigners? Stereotypes surrounding gringos who visit Latin America are numerous. Some of them are actually a bit true, but, like most black-and-white views of the world, most are a huge exaggeration.

Tourism from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe brings considerable income to Latin American countries. Commercial relations between the Anglo countries and Latin countries have always been a cornerstone of the economy. So it is pretty common to spot rubios y rubias in the region. Here are some stereotypes that are common and sort of chistosos.

1. They fall for all the tourist traps
Real? A bit, but not too much. 

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People believe that all foreigners will walk into the first establishment that offers crappy food and mediocre musicians performing “local” music. Fact is that most tourists are well-informed, particularly in the age of the internet. Ranking systems like Expedia and sites like Lonely Planet often advice against falling for the infamous tourist traps.

2. They are scared OF EVERYTHING
Real? Nope, not at all.

Credit: robbery-thief-robber-burglar-steal-money-bag-vector-20804951.  Digital image. Vector Stock

There is a misconception that gringos are afraid to go out because of the insecurity that plagues many big cities in Latin America (that is sadly true). Fact is, the contrary generally happens: many tourists fill emboldened and do not take the necessary precautions. Gladly there are always good, honest locals to guide them.

3. They encounter poverty for the first time and ask why people just don’t “work more” to solve it
Real? YES

Credit: mexico-poverty. Digital image. International Business Times

This is VERY common. When encountering poverty in the continent, many foreigners naively ask why people don’t just do more work, implying that locals are lazy. That is not how disadvantage works, compadre.

4. They just cannot consume spicy food
Real? NOT.AT.ALL

Credit: 150804122715-chili-peppers-large-169. Digital image. CNN

Most cosmopolitan cities are exposed to food from around the world, so many foreginers are well-seasoned eaters. Many can, in fact, out-chili the most daring Latino. Other foods that are widely consumed in the United States, such as Indian or Sichuan, have even more chili than, say, Mexican, so be prepared before you challenge a foreigner on a chili eating contest.

5. Foreigners are damn funny!
Real? Por supuesto

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Foreigners have la fama of being bien chistosos once that have a beer or two on them. Well, this is true… particularly when they attempt to wishiwashear songs in Spanish! Foreignerss that are definitely not funny, however: spring breakers who trash hotel rooms and throw up on the street como Pedro por su casa.

6. They walk around disinfecting EVERYTHING
Real? Partially

Credit: 84abb89cc44588566b56dafcc6a25d242eb67af01beeda90ac93923cc9266b26. Digital image. QuickMeme.

One of the biggest fears that foreign visitors have in Latin American countries is catching diseases. They walk around with a disinfectant in their purse and drink bottled water even in five-star resorts. A little precaution is fine, but too much actually turns insulting.

7. Some expect everyone to speak English
Real? In many cases, yes

Credit: american-tourists. Digital image. Modern Diplomacy

The worst tourists get offended when not everyone bows to them and speaks English. When someone asks you if English is your second language as if to insult you, just elegantly say: “Yes, actually, yes, and what is yours?” Even though English is one of the dominant languages in the world, so is Spanish.

8. But some really make an effort to speak broken Spanish
Real? Claro!

Credit: 43b14ffa92791f6259d172c05912405ba09fa23f. Digital image. Smashwords

Many awesome visitors make a huge effort to prepare before their trips and spend months learning basic words and phrases and actually attending Spanish school. We have met many that totally try to immerse themselves in the language and culture. Bien por ellos.

9. Older foreign couples fall in love with cute little towns and move there to open an B&B
Real? Yes!

Credit: changing-my-mind-about-san-miguel-de-allende. Digital image. The Travels of Bbqboy and Spanky

Towns like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico have become retiree central. Many couples buy a property and turn it into their dream business. They live an Eat Pray Love life well into their seventies, creating employment in the meantime. A win-win situation. These type of resting spots have become famous for celebrities like Johnny Depp, who made San Miguel his go-to place for chilling out in the early 2000s.

10. Young wild foreigners leave everything behind and open beach bars…. livin’ la vida loca
Real? Yep

Credit: zenzi-beach-bar-and-restaurant-at-calle—v6195748-720. Digital image. Oyster Hotel Reviews

Just like their older counterparts open chill Bed and Breakfast venues, young foreigners, many of which try to escape corporate life, open beach bars in places like Belize and Costa Rica. They live a life of sand, booze and one night stands. They change the suit for the rastas and become central figures in expat communities. Problem is: most of these expat bars are not intended for the locals, so there is not much attachment to the land.

11. Foreigners, in general, cannot sunbath without ending up like camarones
Real? Hahahaha

Credit: Sunburnt-Shoulders. Digital image. Scuba Monkey

It is not uncommon to see unprepared foreigners rojos como shrimps or a mandril’s butt. This is a bit funny, but also dangerous and something that should be discussed. Skin cancer is the real deal: wear sunscreen, chaparritos. It is not uncommon to see foreigners lather themselves with coconut oil to get a tan, a very dangerous practice that actually burns skin cells beyond repair.

12. They will eventually run to the first McDonald’s they see
Real? Nah

Credit: McDonalds_cropped. Digital image. Josh Healey

Even though sometimes foreigners need the comfort of their food, not all go to Mackers for a Big Mac fix. Part of traveling is eating and most foreigners know this. Tacos, enchiladas, chiles en nogada… bring on the Pepto Bismol!

13. They ask for the Mexican, Chilean or Cuban word for whatever comes to their mind.. It’s Spanish, so.
Real? Sadly, yes

Credit: the-spanish-language. Digital image. K International

Many foreigners believe that people in Latin America speak… Mexican… Argentinian… Cuban…. and even though we all speak different variants of Spanish, we are united by a single mother tongue.

14. “I know a guy called Juan in New York, he is also from Colombia, do you know him?” Dude, there are millions of Colombians.
Real? Yes, and it is damn funny

Credit: d1566_066295-c1c3e05c-1236-11e4-ae81-95568c4ed36e. Digital image. The Apricity

It is true and super funny. Would you ask a gringo is he knows a John in Missouri? No last name, no other indicator… just John. No, right? Well, many americanos are sure that every single person of Latino origin must know each other. Oh, it is so silly it is kinda cute.

15. They think the whole region is either a tropical paradise or a godforsaken desert
Real? Carajo, esto pasa muy seguido

Credit: Arbol_de_Piedra. Digital image. Never Ending Voyage

The geographical reputation of the whole region is that every single landscape is either a desert where Speedy Gonzalez roams around, or a tropical Brazilian rainforest with massive iguanas. Well, Latin America does have those types of places, but also forests, snowy mountains and everything in between. Learn some geography, guys, it is not that hard.

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Hey Gentlemen, Let's Up Your Fashion Game This Year With These Easy Style Tips

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Hey Gentlemen, Let’s Up Your Fashion Game This Year With These Easy Style Tips

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When you hear the term “a stylish man,” what’s the image that instantly appears in your mind? For most people, it would be that of a sharply-dressed man in a fitted suit, well-groomed and dressed to the nines. That’s usually why some of you have the notion that you can never be naturally stylish because that’s just not “you.” There are more ways than one for a man to look stylish – wearing a well-fitted suit is just one of them.

Every man has his own style personality; it’s just a matter of finding yours. That said, there are certain style rules and tips that you can adapt according to your preferences and match your personality. Here are 21 of those tips.

The Fit Is Everything

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Whether you’re a suit guy or a jeans-and-t-shirt guy, your clothes should fit perfectly. Ill-fitting clothes can make you look sloppy and take away several inches off your height. So, even the most expensive suit could look terrible on you if it doesn’t fit right. On the other hand, wearing the right fit will give you that effortlessly stylish look even if you’re just wearing jeans and a graphic tee.

See how good Michael Trevino manages to look by rocking just a plain hoodie with a pair of distressed jeans. The right fit makes this look work for him.

Start Out With Classics

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Before you start developing your personal style, it’s best to begin with the classics rather than experiment with lots of trends all at once. Start out with solid tees and well-fitted denim with boots or white sneakers. Or in case of formals, pair a classic white button-down with a pair of slacks in navy blue or some other neutral tone. You can then expand on these styles by adding a few trendy pieces that you like.

Stick to Neutral Tones (For Now)

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When you’re just beginning to develop your style wardrobe, it’s best to start out with neutral tones because it’s easy to match them together. Since they’re not overpowering, it’s hard to go wrong with them. You can gradually add more colorful pieces as you progress (if you want). Neutral colors include black, white, brown, khaki, navy, gray and olive.

Go Beyond Black and Brown Footwear

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While black and brown are “safe” color choices, there are plenty of shoe colors you can experiment with. Look for suede and leather shoes in reds, blues, and greens. If you’re not yet confident to experiment with such bold colors, trying going for darker shades of these same colors or stick to grays.

Retro Sneakers are All the Rage

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Retro sneakers have made a comeback – from Reebok Club C and Adidas Continental to Nike Cortez and Onitsuka Tiger. Combining style and comfort, these timeless classics would be the perfect addition to your closet. They don’t make you look like you’re going to the gym, unlike regular sneakers.

Wear Sneakers Sparingly

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Sneakers are usually a big no-no in men’s fashion. Although the more classic designs have become an exception these days, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear them every time you go out. Even if the office dress code says “business casual,” save your sneakers for Casual Fridays and brunches.

Experiment With Colored Trousers

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Once you feel comfortable enough to move on from neutral tones, start experimenting with colorful trousers. This could be anything from red to violet. Colored trousers are a great way to make your outfit pop, and take the boring out of your all-neutral wardrobe.

Invest in a Nice Fitted Blazer

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Even just one nice blazer can turn your whole wardrobe around. Invest in a high-quality blazer in a neutral color, and make sure it fits you well. You can then dress this piece up with a button-down or dress it down with a t-shirt as needed.

Invest in a Tailored Suit

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If you’re in the market for a suit, make sure it’s tailored to fit you perfectly. Suits are expensive anyway so it’s better to spend a little extra on a tailor-fitted set than on one that slouches off you.

Go for Staple Suit Colors

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Unless you’re going to buy several suits, it’s best to go for a staple color that you can wear year round. This means either a navy blue set or one in dark charcoal, which will be suitable for all occasions and seasons.

Get a Pair of Checked Trousers

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Like retro sneakers, checked trousers are all the rage. Invest in a well-fitted pair in neutral shades like browns and grays. You can easily dress these up with a shirt and a blazer or dress them down with a sweater and a pair of classic sneakers.

Avoid Extreme Jeans Detailing

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Ripped jeans look great. Jeans that look like they’ve just been mauled by a bear? Not so much. If you’re going to get a pair of ripped jeans, avoid excessive rips that extend to both legs. Go for a pair with a slightly extreme rip on one leg while the other leg remains intact. Or go for something with only minimal rips on both legs. The same goes for other detailing like studs, patches, and wrinkle effects – less is more.

Get Classic Denim

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When it comes to denim, it’s best to go for classic colors and designs. Dark indigo or black jeans with minimal detailing would be a perfect choice. If you do want to go for a lighter color, don’t go overboard with extreme light wash jeans, which can be difficult to style.

Experiment With Layers

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Layering your outfit with a cardigan, a lightweight jacket, or a blazer is a great way to take your style up a notch. Or you could even go for a short-sleeved shirt during the warmer months. For winter, you could further explore various layering options such as sweaters and overcoats.

Go for Clean, Minimal Looks

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It’s easy to go wrong when there’s too much going on in your outfit. A flannel shirt with a graphic tee and a leather jacket on top may not be an easy look to pull off for everyone. You could end up looking like you’re trying too hard.

So while layers are important, don’t go overboard with them either. You should keep things simple at the beginning and go for clean and minimal looks with a single layer per outfit.

Experiment With Patterns

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Solid neutrals are always a safe outfit choice. But it can get boring after a while if you only wear solids for months on end. Experiment with patterns every now and then, and try going beyond stripes and checks. Even if you’re not too sure about wearing bold prints like florals, try searching for something in a color that isn’t too contrasting from the base color.

Make Patterns Work for You

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While patterns may be great for enhancing your outfit, the right patterns can also flatter your body type. So the best thing to do is to choose something that will serve both purposes. If you have a lanky figure, you could use broad checks to add some breadth and weight to your appearance. Vertical stripes, on the other hand, will slim you down and add some height to your appearance.

Avoid Pattern-Clashing

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Although patterns are an excellent addition to your wardrobe, too much of it can go horribly wrong. The safest move would be to avoid wearing more than one type of pattern in one outfit. Even if you must have one more type of pattern, make sure you only choose one that complements (not compete with) the first one.

Use the Occasional Accent Piece

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Accent pieces can immediately add some pop to an otherwise boring outfit. Look for scarves, shoes, hats, and jewelry that can give your outfit an instant boost. The only rule is that they have to look bold, color, or unique without being completely gaudy.

Know Where Your Trousers Should End

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A lot of men have no idea where their trousers should end. So they end up wearing a pair that either looks too small or too big for them. Your trousers should rest very lightly on the top of your shoes. In other words, there shouldn’t be a gap between your trouser cuffs and the top of your shoes. And the cuff shouldn’t cover your shoes either.

Don’t Buy Into Every Trend

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One of the biggest style mistakes is buying into each and every trend that comes out. This makes it harder to develop your own style and easier to commit drastic fashion blunders. Instead, you should carefully assess the latest trends and see if they’re something you can wear with your existing wardrobe pieces.

Most of all, consider whether you’d feel comfortable wearing them. If mixing sporty elements into your formalwear isn’t something that fits your personal style, for instance, you don’t have to force it.


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