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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tips for Surviving the Sub-Continent: 10 More Things I've Learned from Being in South America by John Galt

  1. While pickpocketing is a problem here it is not advisable to walk around with your hand in your pocket to protect your wallet. Being known as the foreigner who walks around with his hand in his pants and smiles to greet strangers will invoke police inquiries.
  2. It seems as though reputable Italian jewelers hire local tweens to sell their goods at sharp discounts. Be sure to pick up on these good deals, where else are you going to get a 24 karat gold chain for 20 USD?
  3. Bank security in Central American countries is very tight. There are always heavily armored guards at the door and no hats, bags, hands in pockets, or nervous movements allowed. However, these are just suggestions feel free to do as you please and it is common courtesy to walk up to the guard and try to get a fist bump.
  4. In many countries the police flashing their lights means little more than "hey look at me I'm a cop." If you ever see one turn their lights on behind you it doesn't necessarily mean anything, you should only pull over once they begin to discharge their weapon. I wish I was joking.
  5. While Americans aren't very popular American clothing is. Hollister, American Eagle, and the like are very common in the area. So much so that you'd think you were in one of their magazines, except they're not all white people.
  6. Sharks have been known to get pretty close to the beaches and sometimes cause trouble. Contrary to popular belief, punching a shark in the nose will do little but antagonizes it. My suggestion is to grab the nearest child, preferably around 10, and offer it to the shark in return for your safety. They are typically a merciful species.
  7. Prices are typically higher for tourists than for locals. Always ask how much something is before a service is rendered, don't get caught with them jacking up the price after simply because you didn't ask. Bus fare is usually $2, not $45.
  8. While the countries are a lot smaller than the United States it can still take a good 5 hours by car to get to where you're going. Make sure to check your iPod before you leave to make sure it has more than one album on it by mistake. Unless it's Pinkerton by Weezer. That's just one of those albums you can listen to on repeat, 24 times. And counting.
  9. They lock up some of the silliest things at some supermarkets, like shampoo. Just get the keys from the cashier, grab what you can, and book it. They actually think I can afford shampoo? In this economic climate? Who does Head and Shoulders think they are, god?
  10. Having very rural economies, a lot of areas have people that keep chickens. Interesting fact, by almost magic they kaw at midnight, 1, 2, and 3 almost by magic. They're natures drunk douchebag blasting Black and Yellow coming home from a party.

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