Tag Archive | "Pichincha Province"

Mindo Real Estate For Sale


We have written many times about the Arboretto residential project (see below) in Mindo Ecuador.

See the latest updates and special opportunities with Mindo real estate for sale here.

We have found that many readers, especially those,  searching for warmer climates,  like this project.

Those who do, may find the paid advertisement, sent by Brian Kearney, below of interest.

Gary

Paid Advertisement

Unfortunately, my wife and I need to leave Ecuador urgently to return home to look after an incapacitated family member who has no one else available to provide the proper care and attention required.

This means we must sell two blocks of land, No 24 and 25 in the San Rene sub division development.

mindo real estate

San Rene is situated next to the Arboretto project.

Each block is approx 50,000 square feet (over one acre), with river frontage at one end to the Mindo River.

mindo real estate

The other end is nearby the access road to the Arboretto Mindo Development.

mindo-real-estate

Here we are on the lot.

This is exactly the same ecological area as Mindo itself and is only about 3 miles from the start of the Mindo Development.

Each block has capacity for two houses without interfering with the eco system or each other.

I am asking $40,000 for each block.  The assessed formal land value by the Council is US $59,900 for both blocks.  Will sell as one or sell individually.

Please contact me, Brian Kearney, at bklkbklk79@gmail.com

END OF PAID ADVERTISEMENT

We have not inspected or visited the property in the advertisement above nor do we know the advertiser.  Interested parties should use all normal caution, take care with all due diligence and use an independent attorney in all purchases to check title, contracts and all aspects of the purchase. We highly recommend that interested readers always visit and inspect any property and/or construction before purchasing.

Carlos Tobar our Quito Mindo tour director is making arrangements for delegates on our February Quito Mindo real estate tour to visit the property above as well as  the  Arboretto Riverside Villas project shown below.

More on Mindo

Mindo has an altitude of 5,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level and a temperate climate.

Mindo Ecuador is one of Ecuador’s beautiful areas. Merri and I purchased (and still own) our first hacienda Rosaspamba near Mindo .

mindo ecuador

Here is a shot of the cloud forest near Mindo taken from our front yard at Rosaspamba.

Mindo is one of best places in the world to watch birds.  Mindo sits in a cloud forest only an hour and a half from Quito.

ecuador-birding

You can watch the clouds walk across the tree tops in the Mindo cloud forest.

Due to its critically important role in the conservation of numerous rare and endemic species, Mindo was designated South America’s first Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International in 1997. Mindo is an area of historic ornithological studies, where early collectors and ornithologists discovered or collected many species.

Mindo lies within the Chocó Endemic Bird Area (EBA) and Chocó Biogeographic Region, which is considered one of the world’s richest biogeographic areas.

This area supports the largest number of restricted-range birds of any EBA in the Americas, over 50 species being endemic to the area.

ecuador-birds

The Cock of the Rock often observed in Mindo and Intag.

Mindo is also home to the greatest number of endemic montane birds of any place in the world (Birds of Ecuador, Ridgley and Greenfield).
2000-2005 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) – sponsored by the Audubon Society.

Mindo has been among the top three highest bird counts in the world for the last six  years. This is with over 2,000 locations participating. Each location is a 25 kilometer radius, and the count lasts for 24 hours. Mindo had the highest count in the year 2000 with 350 bird species recorded, and in past years has exceeded the 400 bird species mark.

Just 45 minutes west of Quito, Mindo has a rapidly growing tourist industry based on Ecotourism in the Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest. Birdwatching is especially famous in Mindo as well butterflies, orchids and bromeliads.

Mindo offers many other activities beyond  birding.  There is tubing on the rivers, horseriding through the forest , hiking, gliding through the forest canopy  suspended on a zipwire.   Mindo has a rich variety of wildlife, a butterfly farm, and a huge variety of flowers… especially orchids. All this is serenaded by tropical sounds… frog concerts Bird songs parrot flock sing and katydids hum at dusk.

When in Ecuador, Mindo is a must-see.  The climate is warm all year round.  The wettest months are January and April,

At all times though, you’ll see hummingbirds and tubing is best in January through May when water levels are high.

Rain does not stop visitors because the temperatures range from 60ºF to 75ºF.   Rain storms are common throughout the year,  a benefit in a world that is increasingly starved for water.   The climate is driest from May – September.  July – October are the busiest months for overseas tourists, but weekends and national holidays throughout the year find many Quiteños in Mindo.

Delegates on our Quito Mindo tour visit the Arboretto Riverside Villas (ARV), a novel concept in ecotourism presold villas.   ARV is made up of 36 custom homes, to be built within an extension of 25  acres.   Carlos Tobar, our Quito Mindo tour director is one of the developers of this project and has built the first model home, which delegates visit during the Quito Mindo tour.

quito-real-estate-for-sale

Prices start at $150,000 for a 1,300 square foot custom home built on a lot of an average of 10,000 square feet.

quito-real-estate-for-sale

The key characteristic of these homes is their transparency and the way they are immersed in nature:

quito-real-estate-for-sale

Each house has its own outside Jacuzzi, that allows residents  to enjoy nature in the warmth of their own deck that projects into the forest.

quito-real-estate-for-sale

This project suits those who want access to a modern, city but desire  a more relaxed way of life in a smaller town and natural habitat.

This is just one more example of Ecuador’s diversity and our Quito Mindo provide an opportunity to experience the many facets that Quito and Mindo have to offer.

Gary

Ecuador Demonstrations


There were some Ecuador demonstrations last week.

ecuador-demonstrations

This and the AP photos below by Dolores Ochoa show Ecuador protesters blocking the Pan Am Highway. See excerpts of the related article below.

Merri and I are used to these Ecuador protests as they are part of life in Ecuador. Though we have not seen any Ecuador demonstrations for several years,  they represent a good part of the Ecuadorian way and I am proud of how the  people exercise their democratic rights…. peacefully… but effectively.

The French use demonstrations as well and remember France is where many of the current ideals of democracy as we know them and processes that helped the industrial revolution really begin.

Yet the French leave cars flipped and shops burned. Remember what they did to some of their royalty!  In Ecuador violence is rarely the case.

ecuador-protests

Part of Ecuador’s political problems are created because the majority of the population are very poor… and poorly educated… but they are gaining.  This is Maria…  excited to be headed on her first day to university to study tourism management through a scholarship provided by our foundation, Land of the Sun.

Merri and I have been in the midst of several Ecuador demonstrations.  Our first protest party took place many years ago in the 1990s.  We had to get a friend from Latacunga, (one of the most active places for demonstrations), to Quito airport.

There is a “moving through Ecuador road blocks art” that we learned.

ecuador-protests

Ecuadorians are by nature friendly and easy going. Violence is rare… in their protests, crime or politics. These girls attend the Topo Grande school that Land of the Sun foundation is assisting.

In that first protest adventure we were with a yatchak… in his car… a four wheel drive. This meant that  a lot of the demonstration avoidance tactics came in the form of driving down railway tracks, through football fields and for quite some distance on the grassy path that formerly was the Incan trail.

Eventually however one meets a roadblock.  On that trip the yatchak did most of the work. As gringos we stayed in the car and let the yatchak do the talking.  Most road blocks are more like street parties… the blockers only half serious. There are generally two types of demonstrators… those with a real gripe and the majority who see the demonstration as a sort of fun time.

If you meet up with the party types… usually a dollar or two is a sufficient consideration to be able to move on IF one approaches the road block correctly… never with pushiness or aggression.

If one meets up with those who have a true grievance… the process is more difficult but usually  an earnest listen to their complaint… a murmur of agreement, some sympathy and an explanation of why you need to pass through, with perhaps a dollar or two will open the block.

In that first trip, the taxi drivers had the complaint… so they were the hardest nuts to crack… but the yatchak never failed.  Gentle words… appreciation for their plight and explanation of our own problems always opened the gates.

That trip to the airport took much longer than normal… one does not rush through these events… but we were able to help our friend board his plane on time.

Our second Ecuador demonstration trip took place on the day before one of our seminars in Ecuador.  Talk about terrible timing!

We always met delegates when they arrive at the airport the day before the seminar so we needed to travel from Cotacachi to Quito.  Normally we would make the two hour trip via the Pan American highway.  But Otavalo is another major, strong point for demonstrations.

We have developed a network of friends across the country so we knew that the Pan American was tightly closed.

So we headed down the back roads with an intrepid taxi driver who knew the ropes.

At each road block I would lay down in the back seat, close my eyes and groan.  Owh owh owh.

Merri, looking as pathetic as possible, rambled on “Me esposa necesita un hospital”.

The taxi driver requested clearance to the “hospital” and offered a few dollar for the favor.

This worked half way to Quito.  However there are some road blocks that just cannot be passed.  We found such a place where one group had dug a large pit through the road.

ecuador-demonstrations

Another AP photo shows how some road blocks cannot circumnavigated.

Here I experienced a major recovery from my illness, grabbed our suitcase and we walk through the burning tires… NOT LOOKING ANYONE IN THE EYE.

The only hangup came when our hound dog Ma became tangled in the wires from burned tires. On the other side of the road farmers awaited with their pickups.   For $20, they were willing to give us a lift into town. The normal two hour journey turned into six…. but we were there, smiling when our delegates arrived.

The demonstrations (as with those last week) lasted only a day and we accompanied our delegates on the bus back to Cotacachi next day on the Pan American highway.  No one really suffered.

In short Ecuador demonstrations can range from kinda fun to frustrating… but rarely dangerous… as long as one takes their time, remains passive and avoids getting involved.   These Ecuador demonstrations, are in my opinion, a good part of Ecuador’s democratic process.

I expected political tensions to tighten in January… but they seem to be winding up sooner.

Here is my thinking why there will be more political turmoil in the months ahead.

Part of Ecuador’s political problem began over 500 years ago when the Spanish began colonizing the area that is now Ecuador. The system favored a few at the expense of the majority and has remained that way.

Today the majority of the population is indigenous….but historically have had little political power and they have the smallest portion of wealth and income. Here is a resident of the village of Topo Grande.

ecuador-protests

Slowly they have become increasingly organized and must be considered as a political power that now determines elections.  Yet due to the fact that they still remain among the poorest sector of the population, they also understand the global economy the least.

Almost every Ecuador president, since Merri and I began living in Ecuador, has been elected in part by making promises to poor people, like this lady above, that could not be kept.

President Correa is included in this definition and had two added benefits… his ability to speak Quichua (the indigenous language) and high oil prices when he entered office.

Oil revenues provide the major part of the government’s income and the high prices allowed Correa to keep many of his promises in his first years in office.

Then oil prices dropped and the government began cutting back.

This put so much pressure on the government income that in July 2009 it sold a billion dollars of oil to the Chinese.

An excerpt from a Reuter’s article entitled “Oil-hungry China moves to strengthen Ecuador ties” explains as it says:  QUITO (Reuters) – Oil-hungry China is moving to strengthen ties with OPEC member Ecuador, part of a global trend in which the Asian giant is providing billions of dollars in financing to producer nations to guarantee energy supplies.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Saturday the country will receive $1 billion as advance payment for future oil sales to China. Ecuador sends most of its oil to the United States, and is trying to diversify its market.

Details remained unclear on Monday. But China, the world’s second biggest petroleum consumer after the United States, is striving to cement better ties with resource-rich Ecuador.
Chinese company Sinohydro is bidding for a contract with Ecuador to build a $2 billion hydroelectric plant in the country.

In addition, the leftist Ecuadorean government says it is in talks with Chinese companies interested in investing in the Manta air base, which the U.S. Army is due to leave in September. Ecuador wants to build a commercial airport in Manta.

According to the Chinese customs office, China imported 326,000 tonnes of crude oil from Ecuador in the first four months of 2009.

Ecuador is the fifth largest producer of crude oil in South America after Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. It produced 486,000 barrels of crude oil a day in May.

Impoverished Ecuador faces a liquidity crunch due to low oil prices. The government’s recent debt default has shut the country off from the international capital markets.

Here is how one sharp Ecuador businessman explained the problem to me.

The government took payment now on 30% of its future oil, beginning next January to balance the current budget. How will it balance its budget next year with only 70% of its oil?

This leaves the Ecuador government only two options… higher gas prices… a factor beyond its control… or a cut back which means breaking more election promises.

That’s why it made sense to me that demonstrations would start next year not now.

However I was wrong. On hearing of the demonstrations I wrote to a network of friends and contacts across the country to get people’s opinions. Here are some of the replies I received.

Business person from Manta:

Dear Gary, Today Sunday the indigenas stared to make groups in different places of Guayaquil  and especially Quito. It Iooks like they want to make strikes tomorrow and to close main roads especially in highlands areas.   Until this moment everybody is quiet and nobody worries over  that situation.  The people are asking for solutions to water problems and something more.,

I think we have to see what happens tomorrow and hope that there is nothing more than a one day demonstration.

The Real Estate Tour in Manta was very good yesterday.  The people were very nice and it looks like two couples and two men are planning to stay in Manta to see more properties.

Demonstrations have been brewing and are now taking place on two fronts.

One of them regards schoolteachers that are part of a much politicized association called UNE (Union Nacional de Educadores – or National Teachers Association) who opposes the widely celebrated regime effort to bring higher quality to public schooling via teacher examination and training.

UNE appears to be divided in this and the government is gaining ground in this legitimate endeavor.

The other front regards mostly the indigenous population (also somewhat divided), who opposes the draft for the new Water Law, claiming that it will “privatize” water, something that has no grounds.

They say that they have not been taken into account in drafting it and that it has elements for the privatization of water. Please note that the indigenous peoples of Ecuador are very dependent on natural water sources for their livelihood.

The indigenous population is adept at closing-off highways in very disruptive demonstrations.

So far it seems that the demonstrations have been mostly mild but it’s hard to tell if they will flare-up big time.

The indigenous people also oppose the new mining law on environmental grounds. The general public believes this new mining law is important as it provides environmental safeguards but also allows the exploitation of our mineral riches under a better framework. There are always tradeoffs of course.

President Correa’s Government keeps a very high level of support amongst the population and has been extremely able to defuse situations like this, even though it has had a confrontational stance.

Change brings discomfort and demonstrations are part of our culture. I hope and trust they fade away amidst inclusive dialogue.

It seems that by Tuesday the demonstrations were defused. The biggest supporters have lifted their demonstrations in order to start a dialogue process.

Some fringe groups still remain protesting but for the most the demonstrations should be over now.  Best regards,

Business Person from Puerto Viejo

Hi Gary, Sorry I could not get back to you before.

As you probably know already, demonstrations have been going on this week.  There  are several groups such as teachers (UNE), indigenous people (CONAIE), high school and university students and other small groups who have gotten together protesting against different things they consider that violate or diminish their rights:  all of them have in common their opposition to the government, although the majority of them were part of the government in the past .

Each of the group is protesting against a particular law that is about to pass in the congress:  CONAIE  are against Ley del Agua or a law which regulates water and that in their opinion privatizes the water.  UNE or the teachers are against a new law of secondary and elementary education and also against some regulations that will reduce their salaries.  Students are also against  the law of university education which will not allow to have private universities in the future.  Of course political parties are also involved in these demonstrations.

CONAIE is now splitt and having talks with the government so I do not expect their strike to be as strong as in the past.  UNE  or the teachers are the ones that seem to be stronger and they are right now in their third week of protest.

Please let me know if you need more information or comments on these issues.

Kind regards,

Vilcabamba Teacher:

How are you?  I just read a little about this problem in my Country.  You know I feel sad about it because the only people who suffer the consequences are the students, right now the public schools and some universities are closed, students are in their homes.

UNE (national union of teachers) is protesting for 3 reasons:

1) The Ministerio de Education did some kind of administrative process against the teachers who did not do a test (I do not what kind of test) before, this administrative process could cause a teacher to be fired, so, UNE do not accept this process.

2) Also UNE protests about the new reforms in the law that reduce 1.5% of their salary.

3) UNE protests because a new law says that school´s authorities should get a commission of service without a salary.  Regards

Quito Businessman

Hi Gary,  There are 2 ways to read into this:

1.  Correa is trying to clean up the mess that Ecuador’s education system has grown into over the years, with UNE, the main teachers’ association becoming a by-product of the left wing political party MPD.  He has run into opposition and this has lead to the UNE’s strike which started last week.

He is also trying to put some order into the way water rights are distributed and managed in the country, thus angering CONAIE (whom he no longer needs as a political support base because through the same CONAIE and Pachakutik he has gained direct access to the indigenous people by providing them housing, infrastructure, etc.).

Now it turns out that the UNE strike will tie into the CONAIE demonstrations, and things could turn nasty next week.

2.  Correa has become obsessed with his power, and as such is trying to get control of every aspect of Ecuadorians’ life, including education, the use of land and water, the economy in general and of the production and industrial sector (taxing importers out of business in order to support local industry).  In doing so, he has alienated many of his former allies and has made worst enemies of his former foes.  This is unsustainable in the long run and the first signs that his government is heading into severe difficulties are starting to appear.  As you are aware, Correa has a very aggressive political style, criticizing his opponents and trying to make anyone who does not support him look bad and ridicule.  This has its cost and now Correa may be starting to pay the price.

Frankly speaking, I do not know how serious that is.  The main support of Correa’s “Citizens Revolution” has been the poor people.  If they start to turn against him, I do not think he will fare very well.  On the other hand, these demonstrations may just be caused by a minority of UNE and CONAIE, in which case, they will pass and it will be business as usual in Ecuador.   It is hard to tell at this time, but one thing that is for sure is that people are starting to run out of patience with respect to Correa.  We will have a clearer picture by next Monday, because it will be possible to gauge how strong and successful CONAIE’s closing of roads turns out to be.  Best,

Loja Businessman:

University and high school teachers have been protesting the elimination of a 1.5% payment and a couple of other issues. These protests began last week.

This is normal in Ecuador particularly by the union involved. They like to do this in the beginning of the school year.

The police are involved which makes this more serious, but I don’t know how serious.

Guayaquil businessman:

Gary, I do not see it so bad.

Ambato Investor:

By the way, from reading the article, it is not so against the Correa-Government.  Nonetheless, there has been some small protests in Ambato as well.

Coastal Businessman

Gary, thanks..I am in San Clemente and no demonstrations here!

The students and the teachers have always spent most of the time demonstrating..but of course the government thought they would avoid demonstrations against them with the “peoples revolution” slogan..

The indigenous people seem to want to march again against the new mining law and the governments intent to start big scale mining operations to improve finances..

I do not think any of these demonstrations will be even close in size to what they used to be during previous governments..basically because all these movements supported the government and it’s policy and many still do..They also lack the charismatic leaders they once had.

Regards,

This last comment seems to be supported by excerpts of an Associated Press article entitled “Ecuador Indian group protests water, mining laws”: The Associated Press  QUITO, Ecuador — Hundreds of Indians blocked Ecuador’s Pan American highway in several provinces Monday with rocks, tree trunks and burning tires to protest new water, mining and oil laws.

Their leaders suspended the protest late Monday, saying the government had promised to talk about their objections.

The Indians contend the proposed the laws threaten their lands and will privatize water resources. Leftist President Rafael Correa disputes that view, and the ruling party-controlled legislature has been expected to approve the laws.

Monday’s protests on the main national highway paled in comparison to protests that ousted Ecuadorean presidents in 2000 and 2005.

ecuador-demonstrations

Third AP photo from this article.

Things are improving. Ecuador’s indigenous are getting richer and better educated.

ecuador-protests

Enrique is one of the excellent Cotacachi indigenous builders who is developing homes in Cotacachi. He is among a growing sector of hard working, highly successful and dependable indigenous businesses that help form a strong, integrated  middle class in Ecuador.  Be sure see to see some of Enrique’s houses at this site next week.

Ecuador demonstrations are a part of Ecuador’s democratic process.  Since moving to Ecuador I have seen many presidents comes and many go… very few serving their full term… a process I like better than having a bad president last.    President Correa has enjoyed a time without Ecuador protests because of high oil prices and his willingness to default on Ecuador bonds.  That former decision is now biting him back… along with low oil prices… so more and more are saying… “throw the bum out”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this at home?

Gary

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

See details of the two seminar below.

ecuador-seminars

Delegates at our Ecuador seminars and tours enjoy Ecuador music.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Hello Gary and Merri,  I have wanted to write to tell you how much we enjoyed your IBEZ seminar, and to thank you both for inviting us all into your lovely home for lunch last Sunday.  Merri, again, thank you for taking the time to prepare foods especially for me; they were delicious, and I appreciate your effort!  Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable, very well done, stimulating seminar.  I came away not only with all the notes provided, but also with many ideas which I plan to begin working on now that we are back home.  Wishing you all the best,

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

ecuador-exports

We take delegates on our Ecuador seminars to Otavalo markets.  Many buy enough goods to resell in North America to pay for their entire trip.  Ecuador textiles like these I photographed in Otavalo are popular.

Here are comments from one seminar delegate about the followup from our course:  Gary & Merri –
I know why I get a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling when I see your two names in the ‘From’ column of my emails!  I sincerely hope that others are getting that same satisfaction.  Thank you both again for the help and assistance in getting to Ecuador.

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour Sold Out

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Beyond Logic Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

“Oil-hungry China moves to strengthen Ecuador tieswww.reuters.com/article/GCA-Oil/idUSTRE56C6FF20090713

www.thestate.com/world/story/962859.html?RSS=untracked
Ecuador Indian group protests water, mining laws

Investing in Chaos


Many recent messages have looked at living, business and investing in chaos during times of turmoil and change.

investing-in-chaos

Ecuador at times may seem chaotic.

Chaos is caused by transition from one wave of productive technology to another.

Investors and businesses who understand this have an enormous advantage because they know to look for the next wave.

In a moment, we’ll look at the potential for chaos in Ecuador.

First, let’s look at some positive chaos that could ruin some basic utilities but also create millions (maybe billions) for some businesses and investors.

The industrial revolution has been a time of continual chaos.  There was a time of turmoil when mankind shifted from steam technology to the internal combustion engine. Investors who had been big in railroads (but were smart) shifted to investing in automobiles and trucking and bus lines.

Then chaos came again when the jet engine made the airplane a more effective form of transportation than long distance.  Bus travel and smart investors shifted from Greyhound into airline shares.

In the information era; the PC, Internet (and Microsoft) became the major carrier of mankind and investors who saw this potential once again jumped ahead of the pack.

Where do we go next?

One new wave of technology may come in a product we all take for granted…. creating what I would call the independence era. Let’s just look at the break through.

A forward looking reader sent me the Utah Daily Herald article “New battery could change world, one house at a time” by Randy Wright.

Here is an excerpt:  On a modest building on the west side of Salt Lake City, a team of specialists in advanced materials and electrochemistry has produced what could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.  — a new generation of deep-storage battery that’s small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.

It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.

The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices.

The convergence of these two key technologies — solar power and deep-storage batteries — has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

With small-scale electrical generation taking place at millions of individual homes — as opposed to today’s large-scale power generation from a handful of giant power plants — there would be less worry about what’s called “point failure” on the grid. That’s when a single component gets knocked out and shuts off power to a whole region. California-style rolling blackouts would be history.

The threat of terrorism has heightened the worry. But wide distribution of batteries in homes would virtually eliminate it.

Inside Ceramatec’s wonder battery is a chunk of solid sodium metal mated to a sulphur compound by an extraordinary, paper-thin ceramic membrane. The membrane conducts ions — electrically charged particles — back and forth to generate a current. The company calculates that the battery will cram 20 to 40 kilowatt hours of energy into a package about the size of a refrigerator, and operate below 90 degrees C.

This may not startle you, but it should. It’s amazing. The most energy-dense batteries available today are huge bottles of super-hot molten sodium, swirling around at 600 degrees or so. At that temperature the material is highly conductive of electricity but it’s both toxic and corrosive. You wouldn’t want your kids around one of these.

The essence of Ceramatec’s breakthrough is that high energy density (a lot of juice) can be achieved safely at normal temperatures and with solid components, not hot liquid.

Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5 kilowatts of electricity over four hours, with 3,650 daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years. With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in. Five kilowatts over four hours — how much is that? Imagine your trash compactor, food processor, vacuum cleaner, stereo, sewing machine, one surface unit of an electric range and thirty-three 60-watt light bulbs all running nonstop for four hours each day before the house battery runs out. That’s a pretty exciting place to live.

And then you recharge. With a projected 3,650 discharge/recharge cycles — one per day for a decade — you leave the next-best battery in the dust. Deep-cycling lead/acid batteries like the ones used in RVs are only good for a few hundred cycles, so they’re kaput in a year or so.

How do you recharge? By tapping your solar panels or windmills. It’s just like plugging in your cell phone or iPod, only you plug in your house.

A small three-bedroom home in Provo might average, say, 18 kWh of electric consumption per day in the summer — that’s 1,000 watts for 18 hours. A much larger home, say five bedrooms in the Grandview area, might average 80 kWh, according to Provo Power. Either way, a supplement of 20 to 40 kWh per day is substantial. If you could produce that much power in a day — for example through solar cells on the roof — your power bills would plummet.

“Batteries and PV are about to merge,” said MIT’s Nocera, using the shorthand for “photovoltaics” or solar power. “First Solar is now saying that it takes $1 a peak watt to manufacture, and another 80 cents for installation. So they’re saying that you can get PV for under $2 a watt. That’s a reduction of cost by a factor of four. Only a few years ago, it was $8. If CoorsTek and Ceramatec come up with a good battery, the market will develop quickly.”

The long-term impact of home electric generation for a power company’s business model could be huge. After all, you can’t stay in business if nobody’s paying for power. Exactly how that will play out remains to be seen.

This technology is new to me… but seems breathtaking and loaded with opportunity.  Please send any thoughts, ideas, information or opinions you have.

Before you invest though, remember the golden rules of investing.

1. Money isn’t everything
2. Work only with people you like
3. Buy businesses, not stocks
4. Invest only in what you understand
5. Don’t over diversify
6. Keep looking for new opportunities
7. Buy businesses you plan to keep for life
8. Look for businesses that are available at a good price
9. Do what you like

Potential Ecuador Chaos

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The people of Ecuador are friendly and happy.

There is some potential for change in Ecuador that could benefit those moving and investing there.

First, let’s look at the cause of the turmoil.  A recent message entitled Investing Internationally shared news about the Ecuadorian government’s plan to take back a number of radio and TV frequencies stations. We promised to stay tuned to what happens and share observations and opinions from trusted sources in Ecuador about this.

Since that time, the Western press has published even more bad sounding news.

A recent AP article entitled “Ecuador Wants Citizen Committees To Defend Gov’t” said:  QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador wants to create local citizen committees that would defend the government and its “revolution” — sparking criticism that the president aims to control opponents in a system reminiscent of Cuba or Venezuela.

Citizen Participation Minister Doris Soliz told Ecuador TV on Thursday that local citizen groups are needed to defend against coups like the one that recently deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, or against outside agitators, noting U.S. military plans to use Colombian bases.

Other articles covered lots of rhetoric from Venezuela’s President about winds of war in the area (Chavez’s commenting on the announcement that the US would place military in Colombia).

Since the daily press distort, dramatize and magnify the negative; here are more comments from Ecuadorian business people with this comments.

Dear Gary: Sorry for the delay in my reply.  Correa is an unpredictable president.  On one hand he tries to emulate everything Chavez has done in Venezuela.  It is clear that Chavez gave him millions to finance his political campaigns and now he is obligated to do whatever Chavez wants.

On the other hand, he knows how far he can push the people of Ecuador.  If he is not careful, he can end up like Zelaya in Honduras.  I see strong confrontations coming if he tries to close radio and TV stations like Chavez did.

As you say in your reports.  We all need to be diversified in order to avoid problems in one place and not have anywhere to go in thing go bad.  I do believe the Ecuadorians are not as passive as the Venezuelans, and if Correa pushes too far he will find out. Let’s wait and see.

I agree with this reader. Ecuadorians are an independent people, and I have watched them (peacefully) oust a number of Presidents who abused their power.

Here is another opinion from one of my many sources.

Gary,  My comments are just some personal opinions and for that reason I prefer that I not receive any credit.   There is some noise going around that Correa wants to have “block leaders” who will report back to the government of any dissent. You can imagine what this means. Stifling dissent. It is a time to be careful and hope the Ecuadorian military remains faithful to the people of Ecuador. While there are so many needs and opportunities in Ecuador to be attended to, one could ask why does the president feel it is necessary to be out speaking of “winds of war blowing” against Colombia?
Anyway, it all comes with the territory of being in the Latin governmental world I suspect.  If the leaders were just humble people looking to improve the lot of their people instead of being megalomaniacs hell bent on being Castro or Hitler, life would be easier for all.

investing-in-chaos

Here are children in a parade in Cotacachi.

Readers should note that it was not Correa, Ecuador’s president who made the comment about Winds of War but Chavez of Venezuela. A lot of press makes it sound like Correa is much more closely aligned with Chavez than I believe he is.  Good or bad, I do believe that Correa is his own man and is pretty independent.

Here is another comment by an Ecuadorian with a great political and historical background.

Thanks for asking.  Correa. He is all right.  His big problem is being too young.  There is
a proverb in Spanish “mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo”.  (
The devil knows more because he’s old than because he’s the devil). That is Correa’s problem.  He is not old enough.  Velasco Ibarra who was president five times, was very much like Correa, when he was young. When he grew older he became much more sedated.

Again I agree with this. Everything I have seen has led me to feel that Correa has many good intentions and is trying to correct many wrongs and has a big job.  In his youth he may be too ambitious and impatient.  Time, inertia and politics should correct a lot of that!

Here are more comments.

He usually talks too much.  He talks every Saturday for 3 or 4 hours continuously.  It is not highly recommendable to quote him or mention his speech. Sometimes he just changes his mind. Or does not follow what he mentioned in the previous weekend.

That could describe more than one politician!

I have met the President a couple of times. He actually stopped next to us on the street at 9pm at night and met our son and was very sincere and asked what we thought about how things were here in Ecuador.  He is very headstrong, but I think that he is a very intelligent guy and he knows how to negociate  and what it is going to take for Ecuador to become a stable economy and that is with foreign investment and tourism.

Again this is the way I see it as well.

This is from a Quito businessman:

Dear Gary:  Many thanks for sharing the concerns some of your readers have about President Correa. I get some emails on the subject too.  I should start by saying that I am no fan of President Correa,  far from it. I don’t particularly like his discourse as if from the union trenches of the 60s and 70s.

Some of his economic policies seem to go counter current and his relative closeness with Chavez is a blemish.

Nonetheless, there are merits too, amongst which is great effort in improving education and health care. Also, in attempting to fix some wrongs and distortions we’ve had on several fronts.

In spite of Correa’s antics, Ecuador continues to offer, and perhaps more so than ever, rather remarkable opportunities for real estate investors, visitors and expats.

Let me explain:

The new, fresh-out-of-the-oven, Ecuadorian Constitution states, following with the tradition of the previous one, that foreigners have exactly the same rights as Ecuadorians under the law.

Furthermore, private property is protected under the law as one of the main pillars of our economy. Confiscation is prohibited and eminent domain (expropriation) situations are extremely rare, much less so than what they would be in Miami, London or Toronto for that matter.

While some people may believe that Correa is not particularly pro foreign investment, the reality is that Ecuador, just as the next country, needs investment to prosper and, hence, the President is very welcoming of it, he just demands responsible practices.

While the pitfalls of politics-as-usual and nationalistic grandstanding in Ecuador, can and does preclude some major investments from coming in (picture hydroelectric, oil exploration, etc), for most of us, of your readers Gary, this should not be a problem.

Regarding the Government’s stance towards foreigners coming to Ecuador and investing here, something quite nice and reassuring happened to me recently, which is telling about how reality differs from perception.

Here’s the story:

While working in the concept for a coastal development with international capitals and geared mostly towards foreigners, we realized that better government planning and zoning was needed in the area if we were to spread our wings the fullest.

I decided to call the Production Ministry, which is a high level coordination entity on top of many other ministries in Ecuador to see if they could perhaps give us some light as to getting some better zoning for the area.

I was immediately transferred to the head authority in charge of foreign investments in Ecuador and in a few hours was meeting with him along with other officers from the ministry he had called in.
They were not only incredibly welcoming of our ideas and concepts but asked us to create with them a road map not only for planning and zoning, but for infrastructure, education of the local community, and much more.

They have let me know that they are ready to lend a hand as needed and that when the time comes, once we have things down on a plan we can meet with the secretary of the ministry and even President Correa for further vision.

What is the reason for this incredible support? Well, that they are really pro investments and that when you want to do the right thing, doors become open.

On the subject of visas, something that concerns many foreigners, I can say that the President has prompted a very open regime for foreigners to come to Ecuador. However, some changes in the procedures are driving some of us nuts. We just have to adapt.

In any case, you can expect to get a resident visa in Ecuador in 3 to 6 weeks in most cases. The new director of Migration is quite a gentleman and very open and understanding. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

With regards to some radios being closed, this is something the President declared as a possibility on grounds that some radio frequencies had been granted with irregularities according to an audit. While the audit may be correct, President Correa does have a bitter quarrel with the press and his fixation with it is over the top now.

Getting back to real estate; I’d like to add that foreigners have been investing and buying real estate in Ecuador for some time, and that this is a trend that is seemingly quite on the rise.

I am seeing the start of a major wave here.

Ecuador has excellent real estate opportunities and values and the current international crisis where former “safe havens” have been shattered is making this truth about Ecuadorian real estate all the more compelling.

Investors into Ecuadorian real estate ought to buy soundly into capital preservation and important appreciation potential.

As final thoughts, given the current financial problems the world is seeing, the violence in Mexico fending off tourists and investors… the bursting of the real estate bubbles throughout, the baby-boomers coming of age with individuals lusting for active living with quality of life to boot, Ecuador is starting to make some tremendous sense to many.

Our President may be a bit of a showman (to put it somehow), granted; and we as a nation have a ways to go into maturity; we are rough around the edges, but we may have among the warmest, most welcoming people on earth, and no development can buy that.

We have good infrastructure and low cost of living. Those who see beyond the perception should be able to get in early on the trend, ride this major wave and make the best out of it.

These are good points… especially this one… the government may be talking one way or the other… but look at how it is acting. In this case it appears that the government is pro tourism… pro investment and is welcoming residents from abroad.

Here is one final comment.

Gary, I don’t get involved in my host country’s internal politics.  I am however a strong believer in the Open Society and the value of ideas meeting arguments, so I guess I would prefer more media outlets to fewer.  By the by, Ecuadorians I know say this is the first time they feel they cannot express freely what they feel about their government, for fear of repression.

These are two key points also. I do not get involved in politics anywhere.  My feeling is that time is better spent adapting to whatever the politicians do rather than joining into the political fray. Reality is that if you do business fair and well, whatever the political system is you’ll be welcome.  The second point is about freedom of speech.

I recall feeling fear like this recently when talking to my son over the phone. I was about to make a joke about a certain president and decided not to thinking… I had better not joke about this.  The problem was I was in the US… not Ecuador.

The great technology that has created such great access to information has destroyed our privacy as well…everywhere.

My new real estate acquisitions are in Ecuador . Recent messages have looked at the importance of seeing reality. People write often asking if it‘s safe in Ecuador. I was thinking of the reality of this as Merri and I concluded a long Ecuador morning walk. The birds were singing, roosters crowing in the distance and we saw two very young children, a girl of maybe six or seven and her little brother maybe four or five walking alone through the village on their way to school. This is so typical in Ecuador.

I wondered how many children of that age in North America are allowed to walk alone through town as they are in Ecuador.

investing-in-chaos

More Cotacachi children in a parade.

You see young girls like this (maybe eleven or twelve) walking around night and day. This is not because Ecuadorian parents are careless. It is because there is a great deal of safety in Ecuador .

Here are a few facts I know.

#1: The Ecuador constitution protects landownership of citizens regardless of citizenship. No local government can take land by eminent domain for economic development.

#2: No Ecuador children have been shot in school.

#3: Ecuador schools do not require metal detectors.

#4: No Ecuador police force has used a “no knock” search warrant to break down a door and then shoot an innocent 80+ year old resident 50 times.

#5: We do not worry in Ecuador about being sued if someone spills hot coffee on themselves at our hotel. By the way our coffee is hot here.

#6: Ecuadorian doctors do not have to shut down their practices because of malpractice insurance costs.

#7: Parents in Ecuador are not at risk of having their child diagnosed as having ADD and being forced to give them Ritalin. Read http://www.ritalindeath.com/ if you want to have your heart rendered over the weekend.

investing-in-chaos

There is a deep culture in Ecuador.

Back in early 2007, a potential real estate buyer visited me about buying a $93,000 house in Otavalo. As we enjoyed a “cuppa tea” and visited I could see he loved the house but was really worried about loss of property due to Ecuador’s constitutional reform.

My view was that the reform was unlikely to reduce individual land rights. As we can see above, the opposite took place. the constitution strengthened property protection.  Ecuador’s base of wealth has always been individual land ownership.

Then I pointed out to this potential buyer that his  real bigger risk was buying a similar three bedroom house in England. A similar house would cost him between $400,000 and a million dollars. The risk of losing $93,000 in value when the overheated English real estate market dips seemed greater to me than the chances of losing $93,000 in Ecuador because a house would taken due to constitutional change.

Prices were way overblown in England.  This was exactly what happened.  Real estate crashed in England while real estate prices in Ecuador have remained strong.

Plus Ecuador offers the benefits of $1.40 a gallon gas, lovely weather, sweet people, no capital gains tax on real estate sales, very inexpensive but good medical and dental help, ridiculously low property tax, almost no tort liability, inexpensive cost of living, low crime and better food.

In the west, the cost of living is so high that many people can barely move!

So where is it safe to live? I think when Merri and I are really realistic, we feel that there are many aspects of safety in Ecuador.

Many of us feel many changes in our homelands that are not good. If you do, don’t despair, the sun always shines somewhere as it did here in Cotacachi, Ecuador. Here’s the sun coming up!

Merri and I always practice diversification…in asset class as well as geographically.  We are over weighted in Ecuador so we are voting with our money that the chaos here will create more opportunity than trouble.

See more about Ecuador diversification here.

Change and chaos are parts of the rhythm of life.  The never ending evolution created by time and space creates turmoil but also opportunity.

We hope the chaos in your life brings only good to you.

Gary

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth in chaos.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

See details of the two seminars below.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Amazingly helpful, amazingly timely … thank you for this !

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Read the entire article New battery could change world, one house at a time

Ecuador Exports


Our upcoming Ecuador Import/Export Expedition will be hosted by former course delegate, Maggie Beesley, who now has an active Ecuador export business.  Below we share her thoughts about Ecuador exports with you.

Gary

ecuador-ticket

Ecuador has many colorful products to export.

Wonders of Travel by Maggie Beesley

Who likes to travel?  Who LOVES to travel? How about traveling to exotic places, where the weather is Spring-like all year?  The days are filled with wonderful fresh air, beautiful flowers and bright sunshine.

Ecuador-opportunity

Exports Ecuador flowers.

Who would love to travel to an exotic location and buy the most fabulous one-of-a kind jewelry, alpaca capes, silk scarves, leather boots … and SAVE MONEY?  This would become Your own Stimulus Program!

Who would like to buy the above mentioned items and make money?  In addition to saving money, now you can make money.  Isn’t that a double opportunity?

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Ecuador has many really good and low cost food products.

Welcome to Maggie’s World!

Let me tell you a little about myself and my passions.  Gary Scott, whom you all know, teaches about finding your passion or passions in life and enjoying every minute of them.

I found my passion, with Gary’s help, in Ecuador. I love to shop. I love airplanes. I love food. And I love people. With these passions what on earth would I do, but get on an airplane to Ecuador, buy things at affordable prices which can be resold for nice profits, build up an appetite, (oh, the food is to die for) and share all of this with readers like you … in person. Gary Scott’s next Import/Export Class will begin on Saturday, July 4th and end on Wednesday July 7th, or whenever you want it to end. I unfortunately have to leave Wednesday night, but by this time you will know all of these craft trails like the back of your hand and can keep on shopping…and making money.
ecuador-ticket

Natural hand weave textiles is a huge Ecuador export.

We will begin our shopping, sightseeing tour Saturday in Quito, Ecuador.  Quito is the first Heritage City of the World, and certainly lives up to its name!  Colonial Quito and its cathedrals rank high in the world of beauty and interest.

We will visit a couple of my favorite stores which are very close to our hotel.  By the way, both of these stores do take credit cards.  In addition to Googling about Ecuador, I also want all you to look at your catalogs, such as Talbots, Coldwater Creek and Nordstrom to see what is really popular now.  A couple of very popular things right now are scarves, and summer wraps.  Those scarves you see for $40 and $50, you are going to see in Ecuador for a shocking price of between $2 and $10!  The summer wraps we wear because we are freezing from the A/C…you can buy all over the market for $10.  How about Sterling Silver rings for $12 to $18? (Oh, and I forgot to mention that the are one of a kind!)

Like Leather?  What about a pair of hand made leather boots for $40?  What about purses for $28?  Yes, leather purses for 28 bucks!  I don’t want to leave out the men.  How about leather jackets for $85?  I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. That could be day one, and we have 5 more to go.  Are you packed yet?

This class will teach you about…

* What to look for

* What to be aware of

*How to know your own market

*How to make money on your purchases

*How to get your items home

Please be prepared to buy another suitcase while you are in Ecuador. A $10 expandable duffle bag can be bought at the market and you can really load it up with your treasures.  The things you purchase are probably not going to be heavy so the duffle bag works perfectly.

To sum up some the experiences we’ll have, we’ll start with a typical morning at Meson de las Flores, your home in Cotacachi, Ecuador. Each morning begins with a beautiful sunrise and the wonderful church bells.  At breakfast we will compare how many times each of you think the bells rang.  If two people agree…it could be a first.  Speaking of breakfast, we’ll start the day with a wonderful and healthy multi course meal.  We might do some Yoga stretches, take a short walk or just sit in the beautiful courtyard and enjoy the sun. We need our vitamin D and about twenty minutes of sunshine every day is good for all of us. We’ll then begin class to discuss where we’ll be going that day, what we will see, what we can buy and how to sell it. You can keep and wear some of your purchases when you get home and all of your friends will want to know where you got them…and how they can buy them, too!!

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There are many types of Ecuador crafts to export.

How do you join us?

First go online  to Ecuador Export Tour.   Book the tour there.

After that go to your favorite airline, discounter, travel agent and book a round trip to Quito Ecuador.  For those of you booking online, the city code for Quito is UIO.

You need to arrive in Quito on Friday, July 2, 2009.  Yes, you must have a Passport, but you knew that.

Once you have given us your flight information, we will pick you up at the Quito Airport and transport you to the 5 Star Hotel (at a 2 star price!)  where we’ll all spent the night before leaving for Cotacachi the next morning at 9:30am.

We’ll start out with Olga Fisch Museum (a treasure trove of knowledge and wonder of the superior crafts and arts of the country) and go to a designer store with alpaca everything…things you have never dreamed of.

Then we’ll head out to the Northern Andes and the crafts trails and spend the next 4 days shopping for the best, in the best Indian markets in the world.  You can have the opportunity of buying, selling and knowing all the good you are doing for the magical indigenous of Ecuador.

I’ll be there and look forward to meeting each of you and introducing you to a world of sunshine, smiles and shopping.

Ecuador-Tickets

Ecuador exports include jewelry.

See more on Ecuador exports here.

See another exports tour here.

Join us for an Ecuador Import Export Tour

Other seminars in Ecuador or North Carolina.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Imbabura Andean Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

International Investing and Business North Carolina Seminar

International Investing and Business Ecuador Seminar