American Colonies Abroad

I’m interested in finding out about places where American congregate and live abroad.  I don’t mean vacation spots, like Paris, where you can probably find thousands of Americans on any given summer day.  (Just as you can find thousands of Japanese tourists in Florida every day.)  And I don’t mean military housing compounds near airbases in Germany.  I mean communities overseas where Americans have chosen to become residents out of choice, perhaps as retirees.

One that comes to mind immediately is San Miguel de Allende, a renowned artist colony which boasts a gringo population of about 3,500 Americans and Canadians.  I’m also aware that many Americans have retired to Costa Rica, though I don’t know any particular locations.  Lately I’ve been hearing about large numbers of Americans in Mexican towns along the upper Sea of Cortez, to the east of Baja California.

I’m looking for firsthand accounts of why these places are popular and what they offer.

Here’s another place you might not have thought of: Deir Dibwan, on the West Bank, in Israeli-occupied Palestine.  (Yes, I know that’s a politically-loaded way of naming the place, but it suits the people of Deir Dibwan.)  I learned while working in Jerusalem that some Palestinian Arabs had migrated to North Carolina a few generations back and had then built quite a little community of descendants and friends who had lived in North Carolina before returning to the West Bank.  It was fascinating to visit the town and to hear Arab-Americans speaking with a southern drawl.

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