Tag Archive | "Italy"

Ecuador Air Fare Excerpts


There is good news on Ecuador air fares. Right now Lan which has regular flights to Ecuador is offering some Guayaquil and Quito air fare special deals. We’ll look at these air  fares in a moment.

We are certainly very happy to be here after reading this report from Richard Goebel, our manager at our North Carolina farm.

Ecuador-air-fare

It was cold this AM.  -4 degrees and with the wind chill -20 degrees F. I broke up a fight between a hawk, a chicken and the rooster. Only feathers lost.
though the small black chicken is gone. Plus we lost two mallards last night or one male and a female. The cold is bringing out the predators. Another exciting day on the farm. Your friend Richard

We were happy to learn that the little black chicken was found. She ran off when the hawk came and is now sleeping in the pump house with our cat Alice.

Before looking at that Ecuador air fare war remember you can get fresh Ecuador valentine roses shipped to your home.

Second,  here is an excerpt from Yesterday’s password protected multi currency courses that shows why  Ecuador may be a good bet now and why using the special February low cost Ecuador air fare may be wise.

The multi currency excerpt begins when a reader asks:

Why not just keep your money in gold/silver?  All fiat currency will crash sooner or later.

Here is my reply.

Re gold. I’ll have a friend who is one if the world’s gold experts do a feature password protected lesson on the state of gold shortly.  I have often thought of just buying gold myself and forgetting all this work of keeping up.  If for no other reason this has such simplicity. However, though history shows that gold always adjusts for inflation eventually… history also shows that gold can have huge price swings that may last for decades.

I know one client who cashed out his portfolio and just bought  gold about 30 years ago when the price was $860 an ounce.  So we have to ask, when is sooner or later?
I know another client who bought a lot of gold and then had it confiscated when he tried to cross a border with it.  His crime… just having  a lot of gold as far as we can tell.

Plus if you live outside of a major city how often do you have to run to a metropolis to sell some gold?    How about the security risks?

I have a little more faith in the resiliency of mankind every day.  Sometimes when we have more turmoil than expected, it is hard to see how things can get better. Yet in every decade, the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, there has been a crash and after the crash, a recovery.

I am not a gold bug  or real estate or share bug.   I am a VALUE BUG.  I like value and find it exceedingly hard to know gold’s real value.

I also like diversification and have created a hedge for each potential situation…for things to get better or worse.  So I have some gold. have some equities…but not all that much.

It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.  For now I’ll not buy too many Amero futures or blocks of gold.   Nothing to date suggests to me that this downturn is any different than any others.

I do keep some gold socked away. I do live on a farm where I can feed myself in case of an extreme global currency dislocation.  The farm however is a lifestyle situation and makes no comment on my belief on global affairs.

I have not abandoned my core belief that there are four ways to fight inflation and currency turmoil.  My portfolio is based on these beliefs.

History suggests that we can always succeed in:
#1: Our own business.
#2: Real estate
#3: Commodities
#4: Equities (ownership of other people’s business)

You can read this entire password protected lesson as a multi currency subscriber.

Now the low Ecuador air fare. Here is an excerpt from today’s password protected Ecuador Living report.

Lan Ecuador seems to be starting an Ecuador air fare war.  For example their site says, if you fly down Saturday February 7, 2009 on flight EL517, you leave Miami  at  5:10pm  and arrive  in Quito at  9:20pm.

You can attend our Beyond Logic and International Business Made EZ courses, then return Monday February 16, on flight XL516 leaving Quito at 9:20 am and reaching Miami at 1:25. The entire fare INCLUDING TAX  is only $421.51.

Plus right now Lan let’s travelers bring a third suitcase to Ecuador FREE!

This is a good time to visit Ecuador because the price of oil is low and Ecuador’s oil dominates what happens in Ecuador.

This low oil price and two other important factors canhelp Ecuador real estate prices rise.

When Ecuador’s currency was the sucre, it crashed in 1999.  Real estate prices simply rose as the sucre fell.  The instability caused b the currency collapse created some great real estate bargains because Ecuadorians rushed out of the sucre into property.

Now the low oil price can boost real estate again…plus there are two other boosts.

The first real estate boost come in the form of Cholo Boys. This is the name for Ecuadorians who left Ecuador during its 1999 economic plight… manly to Italy and Spain. They earn there, return and invest in real estate.  Now they are returning to Ecuador. Even Ecuadorans in the US are returning to Ecador…beause life here is good.

The other upwards pressure on Ecuador real estate is the Nort American expat market. Hoards of gringos are coming down for a warmer and easier low cost lifestyle.  I know. Our hotel is full almost all the time now.

All of this buying pressure turns Ecuador real estate into an international commodity. This makes the prie of real estate ere less vulnerable to local economic declines.

I believe this enough that I bought an extra unit at Vistazul when I heard the news that Correa might default on Ecuador bonds.   I own more condos there than anyone else and may buy more…six condos and an apartment in the hotel itself…plus two of my daughters each (on my advice) bought a condo.  Plus I just made an offer on more property in Cotacachi.

Due to the drop in the price of oil, President Correa recently said that he plans to restrict imports to help stem the outflow of dollars and offset the tumble in oil, the country’s biggest export.  He cannot afford to do it and as a trained economist he knows this.

Oil prices are now lower than in 1999, when adjusted for inflation.    The low oil price in the 1990s helped push Ecuador into default and caused a couple dozen banks to fail. This was when the country dropped its currency, the sucre, in favor of the dollar.

Correa plans to revise investment plans and trim spending on public-sector salaries and pension plans to help cope with the global economic slump.   He is cutting back on minimum wage raises and  subsidies  for the poor.

In short, times may become tougher in Ecuador. This means those who have money to invest will find the greatest value!

Visa Change,

When you come down be sure to check visa rles. Recently the visa attorney we refer readers to told us  that there are new Ecuador visa regulations. He said there is a lot of confusion as two government agencies wrestle with each other for control over immigration.

Many people do not need a visa if they are staying less than six months (180 days) a year. When Americans, Canadians and British enter Ecuador, they are automatically given a 90 day T-3 visa. This is the visa that Merri and I always use.

This T-3 visa is non-renewable.  You must leave by the expiry date.

Be careful about this.  In the past there was just a modest fine.  If you stayed over your due date you could pay a small amount extra when you left.   This is no longer true.   The fine is $200…but there is another catch we just learned.

We talked to a friend who overstayed his 90 days and paid  the $ 200 fine when he left in December. He flew back last week, was stopped at the airport and deported back to the United States because he did not know this rule!

You can learn the new rule and read a password protected, complete report about how to get visas as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

Plus the Ecuador Living report shows  how to have Social Security give you a letter of proof so you can have an Ecuador residence visa.

Learn about being an Ecuador Living subscriber.

Until next message, good Ecuador Living to you.

Gary

Last week we began tracking how fast the municipality gets work done here.  We saw day one of a dirt road where construction was obviously about to come.

Day two.  The action had begun.

cotacachi-real-estate

Day three and the first phase of the road is almost done.

Ecuador-social-security

Day four its even more complete.

cotacachi-real-estate

Day seven (Sunday there was no work) and the road is fully paved.

ecuador-air-fare-wars

Plus the intersecting road is well under way as well.

Ecuador-air-fare-wars

See in Sunday’s update how I was caught in this parade when I went out to take the latest road shots.

Ecuador-air-fare-wars

We’ll have a dozen shots like the picture below.

Join us in Ecuador this February.

Feb 9-11 Beyond Logic Keys to More Wealth & Better Health

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses 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

Ecuador-air-fare-wars

Ecuador and the Dollar


Since 2000, the US dollar has been Ecuador’s currency. Could it be that now Ecuador and the dollar might part ways?

Many readers have written and voiced concern that Ecuador might stop using the US dollars as its currency and return to a new sucre.

This may or may not happen. I previously did not think it would, until recently President Correa vowed that Ecuador would continue to use  the US dollar.

Lesson one of our Multi Currency Investing course points out that a general rule of currency investing is to expect a currency to devalue (or in this case change) soon after the responsible government swears that it will not.   See more about our Multi Currency Investing Course

Perhaps.

The current strength of the greenback alters the fundamentals.  If the dollar remains strong it is more likely that Ecuador will go off the dollar in  2009.

A continued low oil price could also have an impact on a decoupling decision for two reasons.  First, Ecuador’s President Correa will be under extreme pressure to deliver local promises he has made to the public.  Without high oil prices he has no money to deliver the goods.  His public excuse could be to blame America and the US dollar.  A return to the sucre would allow Correa to print money he needs for local promises right now.  This would only give him a short term boost but if he is desperate this might happen to make him look better.

Secondly, low oil  prices will diminish Ecuador’s foreign exchange reserves and the nation’s ability to pay foreign obligations and debt.  Correa has proven he is willing to jilt long term obligations.  A bond default slams the door in the face of someone who gave you something in the past.  However it is a bit easier to beat up on creditors of the past than those you need to deliver goods now or in the future.  If you do not pay them, they stop sending the goods!

Correa will not want the country running short of the supplies it needs to run on a day to day basis.

Let’s watch for Ecuador’s  reserves versus its short term obligations as an indicator of when Correa might pull the dollar plug.

If Ecuador and the US dollar do part, we must ask, so what? For many, this switch back to the sucre would be good.

When Ecuador originally Dollarized those who suffered most were the urban poor and citified middle class.  When the sucre was Ecuador’s currency and it devalued… wages were always raised at the same time. This meant that basics like food, clothing and subsistence shelter did not really cost more. Inflation at the base level was not real.  Certainly Western imported goods cost more…like TVs, cars and computers.  This mattered little to the urban poor because they never had a chance for this stuff anyway.  The middle class emigrated in droves to Spain and Italy.

Dollarization made inflation real!  Politicians could print more sucres to raise wages with inflation…but they could not print more dollars.  The poor in the city reeled.

The poor in the country who worked in agriculture did well though.  The price of crops rose.

Then the US dollar began to collapse versus other currencies.

The falling dollar helped create business opportunity.  One friend who owns a flower exporting business told me that the flower business in Ecuador was good due to the dollar fall versus other Latin America currencies, especially the Colombian peso. Colombia is one of Ecuador’s largest competitors in roses and bananas, two of Ecuador’s largest exports.

The cost of Ecuadorian products became lower even in the U.S. when compared to products from countries (such a Colombia) where the currency had strengthened against the dollar.

As the dollar falls versus other Latin America currencies, Ecuadorian products become less and less expensive in global terms.

Now of course the dollar has gained strength and this hurts Ecuador’s export potential.  The strong dollar is the rock…the low oil prices…a hard spot.  Correa and Ecuador’s economy are caught between them.

Also a new sucre, though less convenient,  would probably be good for expats.

A full report sent to our Ecuador Living subscribers explains what this would mean to expats and the Ecuador real estate market. You can subscribe here

Gary

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jyske Gobal Asset Management will join us Feb. 13-15 for our course International Business & Investing Made EZ

Join us and then stay on for a real estate tour Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

We’ll view this hotel. It has a huge front porch.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Large second floor veranda with ocean views.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Beautiful flowered front yard.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. Subscribe to get this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

Join us at a course in Cotacachi to learn more about multi currency investing.or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses 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

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.

Ecuador Sunday in Manta


Ecuador Sunday’s in Manta can be wonderfully civilized even from your own $49,000 sea view condo…as you will see below.

Manta is Ecuador’s fastest growing city…has been for years.

As an international port there are parts of the town that are rough. FOR EXAMPLE, STAY AWAY FROM THE TUNA FACTORIES IN NORTH MANTA…PHEW!

Yet at its center Manta is quite civilized, everything evolving around the Oro Verde Hotel.

Oro Verdes are great! The first hotel we ever visited in Ecuador was the Oro Verde Guayaquil. I loved it! Though sadly I have been told that Oro Verde Cuenca filled in the beautiful lake that wrapped around it. They turned it into parking.

I guess Big Yellow Taxi’s go there now…remember the lament.

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot

A pity about that in Cuenca…but the Oro Verde Manta is still great….especially on Sunday morns.

manta-condo-for-sale

They have a killer breakfast buffet and the restaurant has wonderful sea views. Yet the Oro Verde Manta is special for Merri and me for another reason…

manta-condo-for-sale

Cinnamon rolls and…

manta-condo-for-sale

croissants.

Merri and I lived in England and Europe for over a decade…spent a lot of time in Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy. We picked up some bad habits…like European bread and for me dark roasted coffee.

We take care with our nutrition, so we limit our access to these potential sins…but on Sunday mornings we allow ourselves to let go! We’ll eat croissants if we can find good ones.

This makes the Oro Verde Manta special because overall bread in Ecuador sucks. I love the food in Cotacachi except the bread. I dare you to find a croissant that a Frenchman would spit on.

The Manta Oro Verde has some of the best croissants, pan au chocolat and cinnamon rolls in the world! We live 40 minutes north in San Clemente and even though we are no longer city folk, we just might drive all the way.

For those who want to be in the city there is an easer solution…buy a condo in Manta. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors and form.

Here is one at the low end we visited on our last coastal real estate tour.

manta-condo-for-sale

This is a few blocks off the beach…but very walkable to the water.

All tile and clean almost to sterility.

manta-condo-for-sale

The sitting-dining area has an ocean view…no balconies though.

manta-condo-for-sale

The bedroom…

manta-condo-for-sale

has a shot of the ocean as well.

manta-condo-for-sale

The kitchen is efficient and compact.

manta-condo-for-sale

as is the washer and dryer.

manta-condo-for-sale

Plus there are plenty of closets.

manta-condo-for-sale

We met the couple who live in the penthouse above…nice people…Americans who work in New York from Manta via broadband.

All in all this is a nice unit, I am guessing about 750 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom in a good part of town. The asking price is $49,000…fully furnished…all appliances included.

I have just sent a Manta condo report with more details and broker contacts to our Ecuador Living subscribers. You can find our how to subscribe here.

Until next message, may your Sundays go really well.

Gary

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See condos like this in Cotacachi for $46,500.

Ecuador-real-estate-advertising

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

See Manta condos like this one. Delegates are inspecting the 1,000+ square foot patio.

Manta-Condo

The patio has this view.

manta-condo tags

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Here is a long shot of Cotacachi.

Cotacachi-condos

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito. Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.

Ecuador Crime


Ecuador crime & safety.

A reader just sent me this note about Ecuador crime.

Hi Gary, My husband & I have been reading everything you’ve sent on Ecuador & it sounds ideal. We were all excited about it as a prospect to move from the US to until we saw the US State Dept. website & what they
had to say about crime, rape, robbery & disease! It sounds awful. Have you seen it & what would you say in regards to? Thanks.

This is a good question that affects us all.

I replied:

I have written numerous times about risk during any travel because we all increase our risk when we go places we do not know. There are places of great risk in Ecuador as there in in New York, Seattle, Miami, LA or any city anywhere in the world. Yet people in these cities live fine because they know where to go and where not to go.


The State department correctly focuses on the most negative part of any country and they should. However there are vast parts of Ecuador that have been perfectly safe for us. This is a huge part of our service helping our readers know where readers have ad journeys and where they have not. Merri and I have taken several thousand people to Ecuador without a single violent crime. Where we live, we feel safe being out any time. Children are seen day and night playing, walking…on their own…without fear. I would let my grandchildren go more places in Cotacachi Ecuador than in the suburbia of Rockwood Oregon where I grew up.

However everyone has to make their own decision about the realities of risk.

Ecuador people are generally happy like these girls in Cotacachi.

ecuador-indigenous-girls

Ecuadorians are not violent people by nature. Even the worst reports suggest this.

Ecuadorians are friendly people.

Ecuador-friendly-people

The Overseas Security Advisory Organization wrote in their 2008 rpeort about Ecuador crime entitled “Overall Crime and Safety Situation”.

The criminal threat for Quito and Guayaquil is rated “critical” by the U.S. Department of State. Non-violent crime is the most common problem encountered in Ecuador, but police statistics show a significant increase in violent crimes. Reports of murders, rapes, kidnappings, carjackings, armed assaults, and burglaries are becoming more frequent throughout the country. The U.S. Mission to Ecuador personnel and other American citizens are routinely victimized by crime. The Regional Security Officer (RSO) continues to receive numerous incident reports from U.S. Mission personnel and American citizens detailing criminal acts committed against them, their families, and friends. Police reports show that in more and more cases, criminals are using some sort of weapon in the commission of their crime.

Children play safely in the streets night and day in Cotacachi.

ecuador-safe-children

The Overseas Security Advisory Organization report goes on to say:

Fortunately in the majority of these cases, the weapon is used for intimidation purposes only, with the result being that cooperative victims are seldom injured. Gratuitous violence is generally rare throughout the country, but is becoming more common in the larger cities, especially in Guayaquil.

Public transportation and tourist areas are still the locations with the highest crime rates, although the RSO office receives incident reports from different locations throughout the country. The RSO office recommends that visitors bear in mind that crime can impact anyone, anywhere, at any time, and thus should exercise normal security precautions throughout the country.

Observations/Trends

Ecuador is considered a critical crime country and hundreds of Americans are robbed each year. Weapons are readily available and criminals are frequently armed.

Ecuadorian people are not violent.

ecuador-happy-people

The Overseas Security Advisory Organization report adds:

Violence is rare as long as the victim cooperates. There is no evidence to suggest that Americans are singled out for crime, but some Western foreigners are perceived to be wealthy, causing them to be targeted by criminals. In two of the incidents, the victims were approached by perpetrators who used improvised schemes to approach the victims. This tactic is increasingly common, meaning that visitors should be wary of all requests for assistance

I wish I could report that Ecuador is crime free. Even more I wish that the world was crime free. Even more I wish I could report that crime in the USA and around the world was diminishing.

This is not the case.  Crime is growing in many places.

A recent USA Today article pointed out growing crime problems in America’s suburbia. It said:

Suburban neighborhoods are becoming refuges for those outpriced in gentrifying inner-cities.

Devastated by the subprime mortgage crisis, hundreds of homes have been foreclosed and thousands of residents have been forced to move, leaving in their wake a not-so-pleasant path of empty houses, unkempt lawns, vacant strip malls, graffiti-sprayed desolate sidewalks and even increased crime.

Many homeowners not only cut their own grass but also trim the yards of vacant homes on their streets, hoping to deter gangs and criminals from moving in.

Other residents discovered that with some of the empty houses, it wasn’t what was growing outside that was the problem. busted several pot homes with vast crops of marijuana growing from floor to ceiling.

The white picket fence of an American dream has faded into a seemingly hopeless suburban nightmare.

Tomorrow’s message looks at how these shifts in suburbia creates opportunity.

The point in today’s message is that crime is everywhere. in Ecuador as well as the US.

Ecuador crime has some positive aspects.

Ecuador crime typically is not violent. See the worst 50 countries for murder. Mexico is 6th, Costa Rica 19th, The US – 24th, Finland – 30th, Portugal – 33rd, Malaysia – 34th, South Korea – 38th, France – 40th, Australia – 43rd, Canada – 44th, Italy – 47th, Spain – 48th, Germany 49th.

Ecuador is not in the top 50. Statistically your odds of being murdered are higher in all the countries above.

Metals detectors are not required at Ecuador schools.

There have been no shopping center shootings!

Yet here is the decision everyone must make. Do you want to travel or not? When you visit unfamiliar places you increase your risk of being a crime victim.

To reduce risks when you travel see ten safety rules

We hope to help you avoid crime in Ecuador by taking you to places full fo color fun and laughter like this parade in Cotatacahi.

Ecuador-fun-people

Gary

Learn how to learn more about Ecuador her

Join us Oct 14-18 for our Ecuador Import Export Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

Visit Ecuador markets.

Ecuador-vendor

We still have space in our November courses and tours.

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

Economic Labyrinth


Follow the money three words that form an economic labyrinth and have the potential to destroy the world.

Actually those words create an economic maze not a labyrinth.

Labyrinths are often confused with mazes, but a maze is a  puzzle that confuses the path and direction; Labyrinths have only a single path to the center that are unambiguous ways to the center and back. Labyrinths are not designed to be difficult to navigate.

The Western economic model of working mainly for money to have lots of things and to eventually retire is flawed.

So too is the social concept that having more is better.

The combination of these flaws have hurt the environment…perhaps badly…not to mention our social order.

Now the entire concept is falling apart because bigger is not better.

Correcting this will create some fortunes for those who see ahead.

Environmental investing is one area that is and will continue to prosper.

Shifting China and the US to European/Japanese conceptual models of “smaller is better” will help as well.

A July 7, 2008 USA Today article entitled “New cars will skimp on fuel but not on amenities” by Sharon Silke Carty gives an example when it says: “Automakers are working as fast as they can to meet a new consumer landscape: Buyers want not just fuel-efficient cars but also the same amenities they had in their hulking SUVs.

“It’s a change from how most cars have been set up in the USA.

“If gas prices stay high and demand remains strong for smaller engines, auto executives say the U.S. market will start looking more like Europe’s, where what is considered a small car here is seen as a family sedan.

“People are starting to look at their four-cylinder cars like they did their luxury cars, with leather seats and creature comforts,” says Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors’ executive director of global market analysis. ‘Think about this: The price of fuel in Europe is $7 a gallon, and the industry has survived nicely with smaller vehicles that are loaded up.'”

Automakers that shift fastest to this euro model will clean up.

One way to prosper is to look at how crowded Europe and even more crowded Japan deal with the different supply and demand. The US, Canada, Australia and China all have learned to squander having huge natural resources and space.

No more.

However there is another flaw in the relation to work, fulfillment and living. The idea of having the biggest house on the bloc and “he who has the most toys wins” isn’t working so well anymore.

Bonsai is an example, a Chinese invention that became big in Japan…perfect for limited resources and space.

The Japanese rock or Zen garden, often small, containing sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass and/or other natural elements, with the sea symbolized not by water but by sand raked in patterns that suggest rippling water. Compare this with the large water consuming grass lawn requiring plenty of gasoline to mow.

The Japanese tea ceremony is another…lots of pleasure from limited resource expenditure.

Global shifts in resource supply and demand are creating new lifestyles via economic crisis that will bring a post consumer society.

This shift will be easier than most realize because it is human nature to feel best when working with a sense of purpose. Current shifts are so profound that societies will have to live more purposeful lives.

We try to watch for, adapt to and reflect these shifts in everything we do in our work, play, business and social interactions.

Yet it is not always easy to change after 61 years of doing things one way!

This is why we are busy here at the farm making a number of changes. One was to enhance our labyrinth.

The history of labyrinths dates back into the mists of time, but their religious and spiritual aspects became most noted during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries when many Christian gothic cathedrals installed them in England, Italy and France.

Labyrinths help connect the spiritual side of consciousness in a physical way.

Walking or tracing a labyrinth unites the physical with the spiritual. It brings the inner spiritual life into the outer physical world. We operate in a more holistic way when these inner and outer worlds are united.

Labyrinths represent an easy to follow series of twists and turns from the outer to the inner and back..200% of life, in spirit and material wealth.

Environmentally speaking, labyrinths are great places for exercise as well. They provide the longest amount of walking in the smallest possible space.

We have had a seven circuit classic labyrinth carved in one of our upper, hidden meadows for a numbers of years, but it had grown a bit worn and the meadow overgrown

So Richard and I jumped in my 22 year old Suzuki Samari and headed to the meadow.

samari

We cleaned up.

old labyrinth

Then we called our friend of decades, Chuck Hunner, a master labyrinth builder who had laid out this labyrinth in the first place.

Chuck drove up from his home in Asheville and the three of us enhanced this labyrinth…a lot…including with another good and essential friend John (Deere) putting a heavy stelae in the center.

stellae

The labyrinth is beginning to look better!

labyrinth-taking-shape

You can see the entire process and many pictures of our Merrily Farms Labyrinth being created in Chuck’s Labyrinth Journal.

Chuck is a craftsman with 38 years of experience making art with his hands. For the last 10 years he’s made labyrinths.

His ‘career’ in labyrinth making started when Richard Anderson taught him to
scratch the labyrinth pattern on the beach. The first time Chuck walked into
the pattern he immediately felt the same effect that 15 minutes of deep
meditation gave him.

He makes labyrinths because he knows that they can influence the way people think and feel…this has been for hundreds of years. Walking a labyrinth automatically balances and enhances the way we think. Labyrinth walkers report feeling calm, clear headed and focused. Some experience a catharsis moving old emotions out so that they can see new solutions to the confines of their past. Breakthroughs are almost automatic.

Chuck says he loves labyrinths because they free up his own creative process. A long walk in this small space gets the creative juices flowing and allows new ideas to bubble up into awareness. Ideas come and make life better.

Man working with the environment. Logic uniting with intuition. Work becoming part of play.

There is huge change coming. The change is good. Understanding and adapting to it can help bring profits and help make life better as well.

Gary

Join us and stay at our farm. Enjoy the mountain cool and summer views as you learn.

Or sit at our waterfall.

waterfall

Walk the labyrinth with us during Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

Or walk the Labyrinth during the splendor of the Blue Ridge leaf change as you learn at our October 3-5, International Business and Investing Made EZ North Carlolina Course.
Labyrinths…lots of walk…little space…uniting the mind, body and emotion. They are springing up all over the US …another sign of how the Western world is changing.

You can see many permanent labyrinths in hospitals, churches and schools near you. Chuck Hunner has helped create many. Try a long walk in a small space.

Labyrinths are another sign of how Western concepts are changing.

Here is a list of Labyrinths that Chuck as worked on in the past few years.

Yanney Park, Kearney, Nebraska
Memphis, Tennessee Cancer Survivors’ Park
Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, Utah.
Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church, Lafayette, California.
Trinity United Methodist Church, Ruston, Louisiana.
Labyrinth at Bright School, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, Illinois
First United Methodist Church of Ventura, California
First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, California
Central Park Labyrinth, Burlington, Ontario,Canada.
University of Redlands, Redlands, California.
All Saints Cemetery, Salina, Kansas.
Boone Medical Center, Columbia, Missouri..
Church of the Good Shepard, Augusta, Georgia.
Maxey-Gregg Cancer Survivor Park, Columbia, South Carolina.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara, California.
St. Dominics, Houston, Texas.
Danville Labyrinth Project, Danville, Kentucky.
Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Dolores, Colorado – Sophia Retreat Center

See pictures of these labyrinths

International Investing and Business Made EZ & Fun Part II


International investing and business have proven themselves over the past 40 years to be profitable. And even more than the profits are the broadened horizons, fulfillment and fun!

Yesterday’s message International Investing and Business Made EZ & Fun looked at why International investing and business should be a fun filled process…not a dull boring set of numbers.

One reason for this is that those who live a fulfilled, involved fun existence are likely to be healthier…with less need for expensive pharmaceuticals and medical treatment.

This makes life better plus can save huge amounts of cash.

This is likely to become even more important in the years ahead for those who live in much of the Western world.   Existing medical systems are already filled with problems.  Inflation and aging populations will make the problems even worse.

At the turn of the decade, The World Health Organization analyzed the world’s health systems. The WHO used five performance indicators to measure health systems in 191 member states.

The five performance indicators were:

* Fairness of financial contribution.  While private health expenses in industrial countries now average only some 25 percent because of universal health coverage (except in the United States, where it is 56%), in India, families typically pay 80 percent of their health care costs as “out-of- pocket” expenses when they receive health care.

* Overall Level of Health.

* Distribution of Health in the Populations:  the average level – goodness – and the smallest feasible differences among individuals and groups – fairness.

* Responsiveness: respect for persons including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to decide about their own health as well as prompt attention and access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider.

* Distribution of Financing.

The study revealed that U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries.  The United Kingdom, which spends just six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health services, ranks 18th.  Several small countries – San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.

Here is the WHO ranking.

1         France
2         Italy
3         San Marino
4         Andorra
5         Malta
6         Singapore
7         Spain
8         Oman
9         Austria
10       Japan
11       Norway
12       Portugal
13       Monaco
14       Greece
15       Iceland
16       Luxembourg
17       Netherlands
18       United  Kingdom
19       Ireland
20       Switzerland
21       Belgium
22       Colombia
23       Sweden
24       Cyprus
25       Germany
26       Saudi Arabia
27       United  Arab  Emirates
28       Israel
29       Morocco
30       Canada
31       Finland
32       Australia
33       Chile
34       Denmark
35       Dominica
36       Costa Rica
37       United  States  of  America
38       Slovenia
39       Cuba

Most of the readership of this site live in countries where the medical system is not even in the top 15 countries!

This means that many of us, (especially us boomers now in our 60s), may want to rely on a good lifestyle to keep our health…not the medical system.

The cost of this medical system is another reason we want to have independence
rather than reliance on government funded programs.  We’ll see why next message.

Until then, may your international investing and business be good…and fun!

Gary

Learn about our next International Investing and Business Course in North Carolina

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Ecuador Living Benefit


Ecuador living offers many benefits, one being that it stimulates the sluggish Ecuadorian economy. However, all of human existence is one of polarity.  Black must have white, positive needs negative and money always brings a rising price.

Ecuador-hotel-staff

Take Eduardo and Consuelo, who work at our Ecuador Hotel El Meson de las Flores. The hotel was in receivership and empty when our foundation Land of the Sun bought it to help stimulate the economy in this part of the Ecuador countryside.  By bringing people we have helped save their jobs.

A reader raised a good question about this though when he wrote:

“Gary, I’ve received your email newsletter for about six months now.  I have been interested in real estate in Ecuador for about a year.  I’ve been to Ecuador twice in the past year, and am going again July 1.  On the one hand I understand your enthusiasm for Ecuador, but on the other I wonder how pushing Ecuador real estate will impact the local population?  Obviously if you are a property holder, it’s a good thing; but if you’re not, but hope to be, outside money could push many locals out of the market.  Is this creating any kind of animosity toward outsiders?  I’d appreciate your insight on this.  I am an economist with a focus on international finance, so I enjoy all aspects of your writings.  Regards.”

This has been a never ending story since the beginning of time..everywhere, neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, county to county and country to country.

So far the majority of Ecuadorians love us….as much or more as our neighbors here in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains.

Most Ecuadorians cannot afford property because the locals were pushed out of the market by the Spanish about 500 years ago…just as American natives in the US were pushed out by the English, Germans, Irish, Scots, Italians, Chinese and others who arrived here.

Our arrival in Ecuador creates jobs, hope and a chance that many more Ecuadorians will be able to own their own land.

However the problem goes beyond just a few investors arriving from the US, Canada, Span, Italy and many from Colombia and Peru.   This is a time of transition for Ecuador with the final phase of the colonial hierarchal system near its end.  Whether the locals in Ecuador like it or not…just as people in many other countries do not like it, we all live in a global economy.   Many Americans did not like selling so much property to the Japanese in the 1980s.  They will gripe now as Europeans buy big chunks of Florida.  The Floridians will gripe. Yet they will sell, take the money and move to North Carolina…where the North Carolinians will gripe about the inflow of Floridians.

Prices will equalize anywhere there is a distortion, locally…nationally or globally.

Water gushes down. Air rushes into vacuums.  Money flows towards good value.

We see this in the United States with gas prices rising to $4 a gallon.  This is not as bad as in Europe where gas runs $7 or $8 a gallon….but it is still a shock to those of us who can remember…(yes it’s true) gas at 19.9 cents a gallon.

Gas is a global commodity. Americans have to pay the going rate.

Ecuador property is a global commodity…in an ever growing global economy.

I am a full blooded American…born and raised in the USA…as you can get.

Today, I am wearing all American clothes beginning with my American Converse tennis shoes (made in China), my American Wrangler jeans (made in Mexico), my American Fruit of the Loom underwear (made in El Salvador) and my American Van Heusen shirt (made in Bangladesh).  So even if I stayed in America, unless I plan on running around shoeless and naked, I will encroach on people in other countries…pushing up property prices for factories…that create jobs…help feed families…and create pollution. Positive…negative…positive…this never ends.

My first book “Passport to International Profit” was published in the early 1970s and included a chapter on “border blindness.”  This chapter looked at how political borders are illusions that support hidden agendas for the few who encourage them.  Borders  are transcended by almost all human emotions. Get a pretty Italian and handsome Irishman together and they will fall in love. Put a Mexican with a cheaper tomato next to a hungry Canadian and the Canadian will get out his loonies and buy the tomato. Put an Englishman and Frenchman in a sinking ship and they will both bail water.

The market place of humanity tramples borders. The deepest nature of our existence supports free trade and free movement of all to anywhere in the world.

Since that book was written…modern communications and transportation have made all of this even more true.   For example at Cotacachi communications see how broadband has changed the way we can live in Cotacachi.

We are, at the deepest level of our being, all citizens of the world.  It is logical and correct that we trade with those who serve us best…whether they bring products to us (like the tomatoes, shirts, shoes, pants and even underwear) or we go to the product (real estate abroad).

I have found that if one treats people with fairness and respect, these courtesies will be returned.  This was as true when we moved from Florida to Ashe County, North Carolina…where Floridians are called “Floridiots” by many locals…because they pay too much for the land and drive prices beyond the local abilities.

I know we are loved by our friends and staff in Ecuador.   Cotacachi Ecuador Hospitality shows how they treated Merri on Mother’s Day.

We are loved up here in North Carolina as well…not because we are Americans or Floridians or because we are red, white or black, Christians, Muslims or Jews, but because of how we act with our friends, neighbors and business associates.

When you treat people right…you become known as a friend not a nationality.

We are loved because we try to treat people with care, respect and fairness.  We bring in money and bring them work.

Few economies, local or national can isolate themselves from the global economy and enjoy a high material standard of living.

Ask the people of Mynmar if you do not believe this.

What a grand experiment (though I do not see it happening) would be for
mankind to eliminate all borders, customs, immigrations and nationalities for a decade.  My bet is we would never go back.

In Ecuador I do not see a resentment problem…but let’s allow the people of Ecuador have ther say. A leaflet has been posted on buildings and telephone poles all around San Clemente, the small village where Merri and I have bought our beach condos.  This was not put up by us..nor by the developer of the condo where we are buying.  This was written by locals in San Clemente.

I asked John Papski, our man on Ecuador’s beach, to translate it.   Here is what the Ecuadorians are saying about our arrival in their small fishing village with a five star spa hotel and a 61 unit luxury condo development  that will change the village’s life forever.

TRANSLATION

“Ecuador has a population of 13 million (2008 )and 3 million that live abroad (23% ).  Parents have immigrated leaving their children; people left for lack of work, pessimistic views of the future without opportunities, corruption, globalization and neo-liberalist practices have contributed to a disappearance of opportunity for individual, family and social development.

“San Clemente has an approximate population of 4500. There is a need for 600 new jobs per year for the youth but nature and the sea does not allow sufficient funds for welfare, health and studies.

“However, tourism is one of the few chances left for Ecuador and its youth.

“The marvelous beaches of San Clemente attract people that travel many hours, save and borrow money so they and their families can spend on food, lodging, water, beer, sun lotions, repellents, handcrafts and return home broke but content knowing that health, welfare, lust for life, relaxed has prepared them to continue the hard fight in the city.They have integrated with nature with the immense help of the sea and its marvelous sounds and movements, with the wonder of the beach and hills that surround, wonder of tranquil people, amiable and service orientated to all visitors with humanity, smiles,assistance and hospitality.

“Our visitors dream during their happy stay of a swift return to our beach or perhaps remain here forever. The beach tourists do not come to Rocafuerte or Charapoto (nearby towns ). They come to San Clemente.

“Bahia apartment owners come to us because they know our beach is a great treasure with fantastic potential of nature, not enclosed in sad cement but green, blue, orange living nature. Look after nature as we care for ourselves and defend the future of our youth.”

There you have it, a local view of what they think of us.

So far I believe we are more than welcome.  I hope that Merri and I and all we bring along have the wisdom to be with the wonderful people of Ecuador in a way so they are not just happy that we come…but that they also want us to stay.

I invite you to join us in the wonderful adventure and as human beings who are citizens of the world!

Gary

See dates for our other Ecuador courses and tours:

Coastal Real Estate Tour

Pool, tennis court and beach at Palmazul where we stay on our coastal tours.

Ecuador-beach-hotel

Beach at Palmazul.

Ecuador-beach-property

Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Courtyard at Ecuador hotel El Meson de las Flores where we conduct our Spanish Courses, Imbabura Real Estate Tours, Shamanic Mingos and Import Export  tours.

Ecuador-hotel-courtyard

Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Shaman Mingo Tour

Ecuador Import Export Course

See discounts for attending more than one course.