Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does Latin America Exist?

I've been reading about a certain country south of here for around three years. I've been thinking of moving there.

Mainly, I'm cheap. Because I have to be, not having much to live on. And with less to come. And there are the other things. You know. Or maybe you don't.

For one thing, when you get to be older it becomes harder to change jobs, or to find work if you don't have it. What "older" means depends on a person's sex, geography, educational level, and field of work. And sometimes makes some sense. If physical ability is important, and a person can no longer maintain an even strain, then that's it right there.

But most work these days isn't seriously physical, so what about the rest?

Sometimes, just appearing older than one's workmates is enough. Or being in a "young" field. No matter how profoundly stupid this whole ethos is, it is. The young don't catch on because, well, they are young. When this situation hits them they are both no longer young and can't avoid it anyway.

So there's that.

And then "older" is also a matter of experience. For instance, in more and more kinds of employment these days, if you have significant experience you are considered dated. Somehow it is assumed that once you have learned one thing, you can't learn another. And since you have been doing one thing for a while, you are no longer up-to-date. That is, you have become expendable.

So there we are.

Some parts of Latin America look not bad at all. I'm ready to try now. I just have to find out how to get there.

A lot of people take a trip or two or three, and then make the transition. I don't know any of them. I also can't afford to go flying around, staying places while maintaining a residence "back here", and spending money on sightseeing and exotic experiences and hotels and eating out everywhere.

I just want to go.

Nah. Not working out. Not so far.

I mean, though I want to start the process, it doesn't look like there is any way to do it. I've tracked the reports of many others who have moved and resettled, and none of them quite knows how it happened. No two pieces of advice are the same. No one has ever, in the many reports and hundreds of comments that I've read, ever described, step by step, a definite process.

Some recommend a certain resource, usually a lawyer, but the information is always vague. Sometimes it's a name and a city. And even those who freely admit to going this route always report massive confusion, false starts, dead ends, waiting, fear, frustration, and, if they say they finally did it, can't quite find the words to say how.

So right.

I'm looking at a place everyone has heard of. Not too big. Not too famous. Not too far off. Somewhat on the fringe, in a way. Others seem to be there, and to be doing well, and all that. And I thought I had about as much information as it was possible to get. As much as I needed.

But.

When I sat down last weekend to actually lay out my plan and start doing actual things, I realized that, as has been said before about other situations, you can't get there from here.

I have to get certain documents, and send them to certain consulates, and do some shuffling and get stamps and translations and various things done to or with my documents, and I understand that. But the consulate staffs, as has been reported and repeatedly confirmed, do not speak English. At all. No one.

Also, although the consulates may have email addresses, those don't work. Telephoning may reach an unconnected number, or a voice mail system that cannot accept messages. Street addresses can sometimes be found, but they may not be addresses that accept mailed-in documents, if they are real at all.

So it's a wash.

One comment I've seen is that the one who knows the most is the last person to have completed the process. Others say that you have to go in person, and hand-carry things, and take a translator, and really be persistent.

Though this does not help if the doors are locked and the lights are out, even if you've found the right building at what should be the right time of day on the right day of the week.

Yet others recommend this attorney or that one, though not even the attorneys show up when needed. Though I guess they still charge.

One woman reported being about one step from success when the person across the counter said to her that her city of birth did not exist because it was not in the computer system. She could not change it to the city she had lived in all her life because that was not her city of birth. Adding her city of birth was also not possible because doing that was not allowed. It made no difference what her birth certificate said.

Which is why I now think that Latin America is an internet hoax. Latin America does not exist. If it did exist then it would be possible to do more than read about it. It would be possible to go there, and, obviously, no matter how many people write about it, or tell their experiences, it simply is not possible to actually connect.

Go ahead, try.

Therefore, there is no Latin America. Latin America does not exist. Which makes me wonder if I am living right on the edge of an unpublished J. R. R. Tolkien story. One that is rumored about but which cannot be read because both the place that the story is about and the book are mythical.

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