I live here and noted it was easy to get a lot of «friends», most unwanted, when spending money. Like everywhere.That sounds very shallow. I would agree with Bob when it comes to people you are closer to after spending a lot of time here. Bob I think has family here.
But to get respect as a «gringo» in the community, money is not the answer. But nobody seems to bother if I am here legal or not. I have family here, car, house and bank account. None of those tasks asked what my legal status where.