Tag Archive | "Portland"

Cotacachi Safety Facts


Here is some important information about Cotacachi Ecuador safety facts.

A recent message outlined a Cotacachi robbery and this note expands on this as I would not want anyone to miss the beauty of Cotacachi because they were concerned about crime. Here is the entrance to one of the safe Cotacachi hotels (Rancho Santa Fe) you will see listed below.

rancho-santa-fe-scene

I mentioned the Cotacachi robbery in a message entitled Cotacachi Crime.   One Cotacachi resort owner read and wrote about that message:

Gary, I read with interest the report which your man in Cotacachi STEVE MERCHANT wrote you with concern to crimes in Cotacachi. Two points, which I believe ought to be considered for correction.

One is the fact that he is referring to a robbery AT A RESORT of about $ 40,000. That statement could be  damaging to any hotel owner, you mentioned that a “resort” was mentioned but not by its name, Lueva.  The owner of Lueva however, was in Mexico at the time of the robbery.

The other statement is that when Steve  went to the police in Ibarra  to report the robbery of the chicken farm, and had the opportunity to view the police book referring to about 180 or so crimes. But when writing it to you it sounds that 180 crimes were committed in or around COTACACHI since no reference is being made to the capital of the province. At least that is the way I was interpreting his writing.

The murder he is referring to within an indigenous community (caused by the fact that after a party where everybody got drunk, they started to attack each other with machetes and while one died several others were taken to the hospital for treatments) But the way Steve describes it to you sounds like the person was murdered for another reason and that might scare people away from Cotacachi.

You might not agree with my observations, but I thought I would give it a try anyway.  Best wishes from Cotacachi to the two of you. Take care.

I could not agree more with this resort owner and wish to add three important points about Cotacachi safety.

Here is another shot of Rancho Santa Fe.

cotacachi-rancho-santa-fe-hall

The first point about Cotacachi safety is about the geography of Cotacachi.  Cotacachi village which I normally refer to in our messages is just one of many communities in Cotacachi Canton (county). The village is just a small area of about 7,300 people. The county is a much larger geographic area and covers about 1,000 square miles in Imbabura Province (state) .

The village of Cotacachi in my opinion is very safe…as are the hotels and resorts there. These resorts and hotels include our hotel Meson de las Flores, the La Mirage Spa and Garden Hotel, El Arbolito and Rancho Santa Fe. These are the accommodations where we usually book our readers and seminar delegates.

cotacachi-rancho-santa-fe-rooms

We feel safe walking to and from any of these hotels and resorts and any others that are in the village, day or night in Cotacachi Village. Meson de las Flores is right in the center of town (across from the police staion by the way).  This courtyard is enclosed.

cotacachi-meson-de-las-flores-courtyard

La Mirage is in a wonderful area and has 10 acres of fully walled exquisite gardens.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-gardens

There is bird life of every type at La Mirage, from peacocks to hummingbirds…safe and serene.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-path

The spa is one of the best in the world…and at excellent prices.  See some of the treatments here.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-pool

Here is the pool at La Mirage.  Merri and I have been friends with the owners for over a decade and take weekly spa treatments there, which are in our opinion the finest in the world.  We always walk to and from these treatments, enjoying the town and the walk.  We hold La Mirage to be the most beautiful, most delightful and healing place that we have ever known worldwide.

This leads to the second point… the place that was robbed is some distance outside Cotacachi village.  I normally do not make negative comments about any particular place so left out the name of this spa on my last message about Cotacachi crime.  I have not visited the spa for some years and did not even know it was still open.

This third point I hope puts Cotacachi safety in perspective.

The area of Imbabura is almost the same geographical size as Multnomah County, Oregon where I grew up in middle class suburbs between Glisan and Stark Street. My 86 year old mom still lives in the same house (for 48 years).   Merri and I were just there visiting mom.  During our short visit…three murders occurred near by.  I copied a December 1,  2008 article from the  Oregonian…Portland’s leading newspaper.

When Portland detectives began to canvass the neighborhood after the Nov. 23 fatal shooting of a 35-year-old man in a Southeast Stark Street apartment, they interviewed Roland Jackson Dir, who was walking to his home about a block away.

Six days later, on Saturday, homicide investigators were called to investigate the violent death of Dir, 54, whose body was found in his apartment at Southeast 155th Avenue and Stark Street.

The proximity of the two homicides, following the unsolved stabbing death of 37-year-old Amatha Mendive-Boyle, discovered Nov. 14 behind a nearby church, has area residents on edge.

Three murders in two weeks in just an area near the safe suburbs where my mom lives…all unsolved.  Police say that the murders are probably not connected which to me is even worse!

Compare this to one robbery outside Cotacachi village in an area that we do not consider safe…one murder from a group of drunks fighting in an area and situation where few westerners would ever be and 183 crimes in the entire county.

Merri and I feel safer walking in Cotacachi village than in our hometown suburbs. Yet I feel safe there in Multnomah County as well.  I would have no hesitation recommending that you take a stroll along any of the Portland sidewalks and bicycle paths.

There are growing number of bicycle paths by the way thanks in part to a fellow high school student…Earl Blumenauer.  Earl was two years behind me at Centennial High so as a lowly sophomore when I was a senior we did not speak much.

Earl went on to great stuff…becoming an Oregon Congressman who has pushed cycling as transportation.

When he moved to Washington, D.C., 12 years ago he decided to ride his bike to Congress every day.  He states that he has burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Through his efforts Portland has expanded its bike lanes and routes throughout the city so people in Portland use their cars much less than the American average.  Blumenauer says this translates into savings of more than $2500 per year per family and that there should be a bicycle master plan for cities large and small.

There is speculation that Earl Blumenauer will be the secretary of transportation in an Obama administration. If so, expect even more biking.

One word of warning about this and walking around Multnomah county…nude cycling.  Here is a report, also from a recent issue of the Oregonian.

A Multnomah County judge has cleared a Northeast Portland nude bicyclist of criminal indecent exposure charges, saying cycling naked has become a “well-established tradition” in Portland and understood as a form of “symbolic protest.”

Judge Jerome LaBarre said the city’s annual World Naked Bike Ride — in which as many as 1,200 people cycled through Northwest and downtown Portland on June 14 — has helped cement riding in the buff as a form of protest against cars and possibly even the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

This is not an activity that is kind to the human form…so when you can find a sunny day to walk in Oregon, a greater worry than crime may become the shock from seeing a nude cyclist!

As an added note, one of the facts Merri and I are most proud to see is that not one of our many readers who have moved to Ecuador has purchased a car…we all walk or ride a bike…but not nude!

The point I hope you will see is that reports about crime get so blown out of proportion that you can let them ruin your life if you want.   There are so many things we cannot predict.  I could never have expected that crime would grow as it has where I grew up…or that one of the fellow students at my school would become a bike riding Congressman and maybe even a cabinet member…or that people would ride bikes nude in Oregon.  So live life to the fullest.  Keep in mind until last week, the 137-year-old Leopold’s Cafe, on one of Mumbai’s main shopping thoroughfares, was long a favorite place for tourists.  There are no guarantees and no way to predict how safety will change.

Crime is everywhere…know it and avoid it.  If you know where to go…most parts of the world have plenty of safe havens.  So whether you travel to Portland Oregon, Cotacachi Ecuador…or wherever..enjoy the journey, but also take care.

Until next message, may all your journeys be safe.

Gary

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

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

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 Update


A number of emails about Ecuador crime have come in such as the one a reader sent below.

The people of Ecuador work hard. The indigenous code is “Do not be lazy – do not lie – do not steal.” The people is what we love most about Ecuador. Yet we get this…

Ecuador-worker

“Gary Recent reports (today) of attempted murder of American tourist.
does little to inspire confidence in Ecuador. You need to publish this story!”

The story is entitled, “Vicious attack turns couple’s dream trip to nightmare
Oregon man critical but stable after being stabbed on Ecuadorian beach”

This article tells about a man who was stabbed in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.

You will not read Ecuador crime stories like this at our site. We prefer to publish useful information that help readers avoid crime. “After the fact” horror stories have little value, but shock value.

Ecuador is a country of great beauty. Here is the Cotacachi Cathedral near where we stroll every evening and at dawn.

cotacachi-sunrise

The article above did not help the man avoid being stabbed. Had he read our site (shown below) perhaps he would have had a different experience…impossible to tell.

There is an even deeper issue if you travel to Ecuador…anywhere in the world…or even around your home.

I am not sure why this particular crime became international news. Had this stabbing happened in Oregon, it may not have even made the local news.

I know. I grew up in Portland Oregon and there was plenty of crime there. What city may I ask does not have crime? Where in the US is a stabbing or even shooting (unless it is in a school or involves many people) that makes the global news?

Here is the bigger point.

Anywhere you go, even the city near where you live has places where you are more likely to be involved in a violent crime.

The people of Ecuador are by nature, sweet and gentle…but yes there is crime in Ecuador…like everywhere…just not as much violent crime as in many places.

Cotacachi hombre.

Ecuador-man

I regularly post warnings for my subscribers and recently wrote about Ecuador crime and safety. See a review of this warning here.

However, though one has to be careful wherever you go, that article shows that Ecuador is not even in the top fifty nations for murder rates. Colombia is #1, Mexico is 6th, Costa Rica 19th and the US 24th.

This is one reason why we recommend to our readers not to go too close to the Colombian border when they are in Ecuador.

In fact for the past year we have had a posting at our site (offering our real estate tours) that warns about Esmeraldas (where the man from Oregon was stabbed) in particular. That warning says:

Warning #3: Colombian Guerillas

Plus we avoid Esmeraldas…too close to the Colombian border. When you are in doubt about an area, a simple rule of thumb is …”follow the missionaries”. They are a fearless lot, going places where most people won’t. If missionaries won’t go somewhere, you probably should not either. The Latin America Missionary web site recently wrote about Esmeraldas:

“Miami (LAMNS)—New reported threats against Americans in Colombia are once again causing U.S. missionaries to be careful about their movements. Along Ecuador’s coast near the city of Esmeraldas , Batchelor reported that missionaries have had to take caution.”

See the entire warning and how to join our Ecuador coastal tours here.

Ecuador feels safe. You see children out walking playing, day and night.

Ecuador-children

boys…

Ecuador-children

and girls

Ecuador-child

This is why our Ecuador Living service is so important. I grew up in Portland, Oregon the same state as the man who was attacked. So I know if anyone had asked him about going to Portland he would have warned them to avoid parts of Burnside Street. If one hangs in the wrong places on Burnside, there is a chance to be robbed, stabbed AND shot.

In June when Merri and I were visiting my mom, we had an unusual experience.  We wanted to go to a pharmacy near her house to buy some bandaids but were told my mom that the store only had daylight hours.  Well, that surprised us because we’ve thought that pharmacies would be open 24 hours.  “Not true,” she told us, “too dangerous”.

Our 40 years of experience in global travel and more than a decade in Ecuador means that Merri and I have a lot of safety experience to share.

Many families have moved to Cotacachi Ecuador from the US and Canada. Here is a group on our real estate tour viewing San Miguel homes.

cotacachi-ecuador-san-miguel-visit

We have helped over 3,000 people to Ecuador in the past decade and never had a single violent crime. Our close friends in Ecuador run a travel agency and the largest Spanish school for thousands of young people. Ditto…not one physical assault.

This is in part because we know which areas to avoid and we let our readers know.

Esmeraldas is considered dangerous. I know that and so do any readers who read what I write.

Ecuador is not a place of violent crime. Ecuador is also not a place of drugs. This is interesting and some people are surprised. Ecuador is very strict when it comes to crime and drugs.

A September 30, 2008 Miami Herald article entitled “U.S. ambassador says Ecuador solid on drugs” said: “The U.S. ambassador to Ecuador says the country’s anti-drug efforts influenced the decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to extend a trade promotion program in Ecuador for another 10 months.”

Ecuador’s government is also cracking down on crime right now.

Another Cotacachi hombre.

Ecuador-man

Recent news articles have interpreted this police crack down incorrectly and claimed that Ecuador’s government had declared a State of Emergency. This is not quite correct.

One great asset Merri and I have developed is an extensive network of friends across the country who can provide us grass roots information. I have asked around, “What does this state of emergency mean?” and here is what a number of our Ecuadorian friends explained:

Our friend and attorney wrote about the State of Emergency:

“The reason is to fight the surge in violent and non-violent crimes in cities such as Manta, Guayaquil and Quito.”

A businessman from Quito wrote:

“This declaration of emergency, must be construed for what it stands. More than a radical mobilization effort (which it does involve among other things), it is a way to bypass bureaucracy in the purchase of equipment for the police.”

Anther coastal businessman wrote: “Yes, there is a state of police emergency due to a wave of violence lately including an attack on a US couple in Esmeraldas. You see more police in the city and more controls.”

An American who lives on the coast wrote: “I have an e-mail from Cuenca stating that he will explain when I get there but not to worry — Ecuador is always in a state of emergency. My friend’s father in law is a cop and hasn’t mentioned anything. Normally they are first to know and wear fatigues when there is a state of emergency. No fatigues.”

Steve, our man in Ecuador, wrote: “Gary this is NOT a ‘State of Emergency’ – which has all kinds of undertones such as curfews, withdrawal of democracy and all kinds of other draconion measures. This is, from my reading of yesterday’s El Commercio anyway, an emergency police operation. Right now there are university student demonstrations in Manta against the violence – in other words they are saying that the police/government aren’t doing enough. Hence, probably, the police operations. A long term resident American with a business in La Mariscal was shot dead last week in Avenida Amazonas in Quito. He was carrying $7,000 takings (!) and probably resisted the robbers. This is not viewed as a big thing here. It was only on page 17 of one newspaper ‘El Telegrafo’ and I can´t find any mention of it at all in La Hora today except they have replaced the two police chiefs in Manta and are tightening up on all report procedures and sending in an elite hit squad to break up organized crime – so there´s a positive – they’re doing something about the problem.”

Another businessman wrote: “Just, just to comment on this email from Steve..the American guy that was shot had a bar in the Mariscal area and it was most likely a contracted job..two men on a motorbike shot him from a distance..I do not think it had to do with the money..at least that is what I heard from my messenger boy who saw the shooting.”

For the record Mariscal Sucre is one of the areas, as is Amazonas Avenue, that we recommend to avoid. We get a lot of flak for this because this is the main tourist area…lots of great bars, hostels, even the Hilton Hotel. So this area is promoted a lot…but we lived there and know that the tourists attract the thieves.

This is another important point about not just Ecuador but all travel and being a tourist. The danger comes from being in places you do not know.

Merri and I know Cotacachi well. Here is Merri with Ma leading some friends into the village.

Ecuador-cotacachi-entrance

The infrastructure is not deteriorating here. More police. Now free education and here is the new road installed in the center of Cotacachi.

Ecuador-street

Some people feel that tourists are target in Ecuador. They are right…but tourists are targeted everywhere because they are in a places they do not know.

Having lived abroad for most of my life, I have almost always been a tourist. When I lived in Hong Kong I was one of the minority…the white, long nose, foreign devil swimming in a yellow sea. There we had to worry about Teddy boys…gangs that fought, and of course being robbed in Wan Chai and the tourist areas.

Here I am with the first Hong Kong sales team I built 40 years ago. Can you spot who stands out?

sales-team

When living in Europe and the UK I was a foreigner there as well…and robbed a couple of times until I caught on. One night I really made mistake in Amsterdam…had to barricade myself in the hotel room…in a district where I should not have been…Oops.

When Merri and I moved to North Carolina, we were foreigners there also. Our real estate broker helped. “See that bar there,” he said. “Do not go in there…unless you want to deal with Bubba and his pool cue when he asks if you’re from around here.” We do not drink so this was not a problem…but it was good to know.

Even stranger, I am now a foreigner in suburbs where I grew up in Oregon. Rockwood Oregon is not like it was. My sister has had to tell me where not to go..my old stomping grounds…and I did not know! My mom has had several break ins at her house of 50 years. We have had no robberies in Ecuador.

There is a huge opportunity these fears about Ecuador crime or anywhere create.
When an area has a problem, most people paint it with a broad brush. Yet most dangerous areas are measured in blocks not miles.

One reader from the Esmeraldas area pointed this out when he wrote:

“Thanks for the follow up and for Steve’s follow up as well. Also, remember we live 25 klicks south of Esmeraldas which in Ecuador is a long distance. I have checked with my contacts in Tonsupa and so far nothing of significance other than a terrific cash offer for a piece of land we own just off the beach.”

You can often find bargains in really safe, good areas that inexperienced investors avoid because they do not know which blocks to avoid and which are good.

This does not mean that Ecuador is for everyone.

I doubt that you will find any place where there is not risk, if you do not take care. Yet I always recommend for anyone to come to Ecuador if it does not feel right.

Go to places that seem exciting to you. Do not travel just because you dislike where you are. Travel because you have overwhelming excitement about where you are going!

Then, wherever you go, be careful. Remember that you have to go through a learning curve in any place that is new.

If Ecuador sounds exciting, please do come, look and see for yourself. Most who do and the many families who have moved here feel pretty darn safe…because we have learned where and where not to go.

If you do come to Ecuador, I have established a full time full support research and assistance team to help Ecuador Living subscribers in any way required. Part of this team are multi lingual Westerners so we understand the Western cultural needs as well as those of Ecuador. We know the typical mistakes that our friends from the US and Canada make when coming down to begin and can help you avoid them.

Here are some pictures that one of our delegates took in Cotacachi.

Ecuador-view

You can subscribe to our Ecuador Living service here.

Regards,

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi 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

Ecuadorians love music.

Ecuador-music

They love flowers and beauty.

Ecuador-flowers

They are friendly.

international-club

They are very religious. Here is the cathedral next to our hotel.

multi-currency-Ecuador-cotacachi-dawn

Cotacachi-Statue

Here are Merri and me with our Ecuador family and Godson, “Quinti Ananki” (King of the Hummingbirds).

ecuador-family

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

Economic Correction Opportunity


The current economic correction is creating some great investment opportunity. Here are three economic correction opportunity ideas I have seen already.

Economic correction opportunity #1: Recent messages mentioned that a golf course on Lake Yaguarcocha, just five minutes north of the city of Ibarra is for sale. This is just a little more than half hour drive along main highways north from Cotacachi. Here is the lake.

Ecuador Day 3 089

There is a ridge which runs between the lake and the city of Ibarra and from a local lookout point you get the view of the lake above and also the city below.

Ecuador Day 3 087

Here is a picture of our last real estate course delegates eating lunch at the course.

P1030417

There is 22 acres in total and room to build townhouses along the course. Steve just posted a full report abut this.  Here’s a shot of one of the fairways with the lake and mountains in the background.

P1030463

The course includes 44 seat restaurant. (The patio can seat a further 100 people).

P1030525

Steve Marchat has posted a full report on the details of the sale for Ecuador Living subscribers.

Learn how to subscribe here.

Economic correction opportunity #2: We just finished our International investing and business course in North Carolina and I outlined why I am now looking at foreclosure property for sale in Portland Oregon. Property prices are down but the potential in Portland is up.

An October 5th Oregon Live article by Eric Mortenson entitled Look our, oregon, for a global warming land rush says: By 2060, a Metro economist said, the seven-county Portland area could grow to 3.85 million people — nearly double the number here now.

Then Lorna Stickel, a planner with the Portland Water Bureau, stood to ask a question. Does the population projection, she asked, account for the possibility of climate change refugees?

That article uses Rebecca Niday, a Realtor from Florida, as an example. She moved to Rhododendron for Oregon’s more moderate weather. Experts speculate that such migration could become more common if climate change causes other areas to dry up, brown out or get increasingly hammered by storms.

The article continues: What if the American Southwest dries up, browns out, and those people now misting their patios in Arizona head to the still-green Pacific Northwest? What if Californians hit the road north in numbers far surpassing the 20,000 who now move to Oregon each year? What if the polar ice melts, oceans rise and millions living along coastal areas — or ravaged by Katrina-like storms — have to move?

What happens, as Oregon becomes more attractive and other places become less attractive?

Property prices will rise and those who buy wisely now will see prices like we will never see again. Look for places that will thrive due to global warming.

Economic correction opportunity #3: Illiquid bonds offer unusual returns. Take a look at lower quality bonds now. Take for example the US dollar 8.5% TITAN PETRO issue that matures 18/03/2012 .  This bond was recently selling at a discounted price of 59.00 so its yield was 26.93%.  Then that discount dropped even more so the issue had a 45% yield. The risk premium is way out of line…much more than the risk.

Some General Motors bonds are paying 70% interest.

We are creating a complete report about these bondsfor our Multi Currency Course subscribers.

Learn how to subscribe to our Multi Currency Portfolios Course here.

This time of economic correction was predictable. So too are the profits that will be made from this shift.

I look forward to sharing the opportunity with you.

Gary

Merri and I love our lives in North Carolina’s mountains but autumn’s frosty bite has arrived. The trees along the creek are golden now.

Ecuador-exports-reason

Instead of sitting in the cold and gray we move to Ecuador’s Pacific coast and Cotacachi, enjoying warm, sunny weather at unbelievably low prices.

Many who join us pay for their trips with Ecuador products they buy and export. One delegate who just visited told us he bought 150 Ecuador shawls at $1.50 and exported them to sell at $19.95. He paid for his entire trip and made a small profit.

At our Ecuador exports course we look at how to combine ideas and products to make them worth more. For example here I combined Ecuadorian carpets with Ecuadorian carved wood frames to make Ecuadorian art.

Ecuador-exports-art

Our Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course is a great place to do your Christmas shopping and learn how to have an Ecuador export business in the process. The course has one space left. See more here.

Learn this November more about Ecuador and emerging bonds. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan and Peter Conradsen of Jyske Global Asset Management in Cotacachi Ecuador. We’ll review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio and investing and business ideas for the months ahead.

Nov 7-9 2008 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Stay on for our Imbabura real estate extension. See wonderful condos for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi with beautiful hardwood interiors like this.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-bedroom

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy Ecuador’s coast and see condos for $89,000 on Ecuador’s Pacific with views like this.

Ecuador-exports-view

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour;

The coastal tour includes a free one day Quito Real Estate Tour November 16, 2008.

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Pet Projects


Our pet projects are our pets.

Merri and I love animals. They have been part of our lives since we were kids. Merri never rode a bike growing up. She was on a horse every day instead.

I had it even better as far as animals go. As a zoo keeper’s son, I enjoyed animals all the time…even raising lions and tigers at home. Here is an old newspaper clipping from the Oregonian about my sister and me with the second baby lion, Duchess, we raised. I was only seven or eight then and over the years we raised more than a dozen of them.

healthy-pet-lions

This is one reason we have a farm…for our dog Ma and five horses.

healthy-pet-horses & dogs

And our geese and chickens.

Healthy-pet-geese

healthy-pet-rooster

We added a dozen mallards last month. they came in the mail.

healthy-pet-ducks

and cats. This is Boots.

Healthy-pet-cat

This is his friend, Alice.

healthy-pet-female-cat

So we know the importance of nutrition in pets. I began learning this when feeding baby lions and tigers. The right food at the right time is essential!

We have struggled getting a good diet for our hound dog, Ma (really a fairy princess in disguise).

She was an abandoned pup who stumbled in her dying gasps to our footsteps, back hip crushed, atrophied leg…ribs exposed. She began with a bad start..before she stumbled onto the pot of gold…us.

Yet the back leg never quite healed correctly and we see, if we let down on her nutrition at all, she drops downhill fast. Now at eleven years of age she is still going strong but we are doubly cautious about making sure she gets the best of care.

This has made it hard here in Ashe County…a great place but there are not many veterinarians around who specialize in natural nutrition. Our daughter in Portland is a vet but that is 2,500 miles away and when we have questions she can’t look at Ma.

So we were delighted to discover that one of our readers Dr. Dan is a Vet in  Unicoi County, Tennessee not more than an hour and a half from our farm.

Dan no longer practices veterinary medicine but formulates natural products…exactly what we have been looking for.

A few of the pet items he offers include:

Pet Bug Check…Promotes and maintains healthy skin and coat…from the Inside…OUT!

Pet Health Check…A super anti-oxidant herbal formula. This supplement reduces oxidative stress caused by free radicals and has an anti-oxidant ORAC total Fl 219 per gram.

Pet Aller Check…To help maintain normal, healthy skin, gut, and immune system.

Pet Omega Check…Promotes and maintains healthy skin and coat – Great source of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids!

SHOO-FLEA…Natural Flea Control for Pets.

Bug Check Spray… A Bug Kill and Repellent Spray w/ Pyrethrins and Aloe Vera.

We are starting with Dr. Dan’s Pet Joint Check that supports healthy joint function, bone and connective tissue.

Ma’s crushed hip has always left her relying a little extra on her other three joints. Years of running for miles on the farm adds that extra joint stress on the three healthy joints.

The active ingredients in this supplement include Glucosamine HCL,
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chrondroitin Sulfate plus there is Ascorbic Acid, Astragalus Herb Powder, Beta Carotene, Boswellia Extract, Citrus Bioflavinoids, Copper Proteinate, Deglycyrrhized Licorice Powder, DL-Methionine, Dried Liver Extract (Porcine Source), Garlic Powder, Ginko Biloba, Ground Dried Grape & Seed Pomace, Grape Seed Extract, L-Lysine, Maltodextrin, Manganese Proteinate, Montmorillonite, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, Pine Bark Extract, Poultry Meal, Siberian Ginseng, Vitamin E Supplement, Whey, Yeast Culture, Zinc Proteinate.

We have not tried these supplements yet but will start shortly and we’ll let you know how Ma responds.

Meanwhile you can learn more about DR Dan and his formulas.

Until next message, may your projects and animals be blessed pets.

Gary

Meet our pets. Join us for the autumn leaf change and our course International Business and Investing Made EZ. We’ll all spend some time at the farm.

Small Business Starts


Small business starts are important because your own small business is one of the best ways to fight inflation and hard economic times. Yet the most frequent question I hear about starting small business is “where and how should I start my small business.

The answer to this begins with two questions:

Small business starting question #1: How much time do you have to start a small business.

Small business starting question #2: How much money do you have to start a small business.

The answers are often related but in the end most people are in one of five
positions.

Small business start up position #1: Plenty of time and enough money to live on and start a business.

Small business start up position #2: Plenty of time and enough money to live on but not enough to start a business.

Small business start up position #3: Plenty of time but not enough money to live on (or start a business).

Small business start up position #4: Enough money to live on and start a business but no time.

Small business start up position #5: No time and no money.

Interestingly enough position #5 is safest (not much to lose) and position #1 has the greatest risk for small business start ups. Small business start up position #1 suggests some previous success and or inherited money. Either position can make one over confident and encourage, “full steam ahead!”

Full steam is not often the best way to begin a small business. I always recommend that people start small…limited steam in a very directed way. Open the small business stopcocks nice and slow.

Small beginnings are nature’s way. Most businesses start with a learning curve. During the beginning and in the initial learning period, it is essential to remain small as you err. Once lessons have been learned, the business can grow using business evolutionary cycle.

The small business evolutionary cycle is

#1: Get an idea

#2; The idea leads to enthusiasm.

#3: The enthusiasm leads to education.

#4: The education leads to action.

#5: The action leads to profit or loss but also more ideas.

The cycle repeats and this is the way that businesses should grow.

My businesses never really started in a full steam ahead mode. In a way I have always had one business, but it has morphed again and again, each new development being financed by the old. Each new development has always been (to Merri, me and we hope our clients) better.

I began as a Prudential Insurance agent selling door to door in Portland Oregon.

That beginning was financed by working in a gas station while I learned and trained to sell.

Selling insurance in Portland led to selling American investments door to door in Hong Kong. This was really the only full time jump I made. I nearly starved! And I learned. Yet even then I was still selling door to door…with the same tactics just for a different product in a different place.

I learned (as I starved) that the different product and place required different tactics.

This started the evolution and due to traffic congestion in HK, I began putting on seminars to sell US investments more efficiently. Then I created a small newsletter to keep in touch with the investment salesmen I hired.

small-business-sales-team

These were the salesmen i motivated with my first newsletter. That was a good idea and both part time efforts (the newsletter and seminars) were financed originally by my door to door selling of US investments!

But this approach was flawed. In the early 1970s, I was living in Hong Kong selling US mutual funds. This was when the Hong Kong stock market first began to emerge. Share prices in Hong Kong rose and rose. This was also the first time the U.S. stock market had collapsed in twenty years.

To be frank U.S. investments then, sucked. Hong Kong investments were good.

That idea changed my business. I began writing newsletters and reports about Hong Kong investments for Americans and how US investors could make more money abroad.

This was a good idea but ahead of its time so I did this part time and financed the new effort with my existing business…selling US investments in Hong Kong.

As my income grew from the new activity (selling HK investment ideas to Americans) I saw investment opportunity beyond Hong Kong. I moved to London. There was more international investing knowledge and information available there. I began selling reports about investing in gold, silver, Swiss francs, Australia, England and Germany.

I tried many business ideas in London. Here is a shot that was in a London daily, part of a PR  program to help sell square inches of Graceland after Elvis died. That was a really bad idea.   I am very glad  I started that one small!

small-business-in-london

This move to London was financed by selling HK investments to Americans.

Then I saw other Asian countries beginning to have great potential. I began researching there and as phone rates dropped and the fax came along, I saw that I could get out of the big city and moved to Naples, Florida, then a sleepy fishing village… closer to my North American clients. My seminar business boomed financed by my London business.

Then in the early 1990s saw potential in Latin America and in Smalltown USA.

I began researching and traveling in these places part time…financed by my existing efforts in Florida.

Finally as Naples became crowded, because of the Internet, we were able to move to isolated farms both in The Blue Ridge and in Ecuador and still have access to any international investment business information and stay in touch with my clients.

My internet business began in a small way as well…as a supplement to my print business…not earning much…until gradually it became the only way we do business.

Each step in our business growth has been a gradual evolution financed by the last.

Each time we began the new part of our business in a small way, crept along and learned until it grew and took over to become our core.

Today our business on the farm and in Ecuador create the largest part of our income.

What’s next?

I do not know. You’ll find out as I do and my business evolves once more.

What I do know is that whatever ideas emerge the ones that enthuse me will be the ones I follow…in a small way. I will test them…in some small way…not expecting to make enough to live on. Some will survive ad grow. Others will be discarded.

Whatever your time and money position, you can begin your own business by looking for ideas that create enthusiasm in you. When you feel excited in a field start to educate yourself. Learn about the idea and then test small business ideas. Use a little time and or capital. Try…read…ask…learn. Tkae small risks.

After that if you still feel good…go for it in a larger way and let your small business evolve from there.

If you have little money start a business that uses your time and energy (as i did as a salesman) as your capital.

The is the era when small is beautiful so until next message may your success to begin be fulfilling but small!

Gary

We offer two emailed courses to help you start a small business.

International Business Made EZ

Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher

Readers are proving again and again that having a small business is smart! One reader just shared this note:

Gary: This is Randy. I have been a subscriber of your newsletter for a long, long, time and I LOVE it. I just thought that I would chip in a comment about your comments about Labor as we are approaching Labor Day. I thought for years that Manuel Labor was a Latino and then I got involved in creating my company and found out differently. That is supposed to be a joke. Seriously, we started FFI November 2, 2005 and we have grown to over $200,000,000. And are shipping our products to over 200 Countries and territories and we are primarily an Internet company doing eCommerce. I agree with you that if one is doing something they truly love, it is not considered work, but a labor of love. My wife (Wendy) and I have traveled to over 81 countries during the last couple of years speaking to people about our products, and expressing our passion for what we do, and today we have over 200,000+ people selling our products face-to-face and the rest of our sales are on the Internet. Anyone that has a determination to succeed and have enough knowledge of Internet marketing can distribute their products.Keep up the good work of delivering your message with no hype, but telling the truth. Your Friend, Randy”

We offer seminar courses to help you start your own small business as well .

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina October 3-5

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course October 14-18

This export course has been working well. One reader just wrote:

“Good Evening Gary/Merri/Steve, Speaking of a small business, we have opened All American Enterprises, LLC (AAE) which includes selling products from Ecuador at a trade days operation about 200 miles East of Dallas. I don’t know if we are off to a “bang” but we are sure having fun. See attached pictures to include our model, Consuella.

small-business-ecuador-exports

Please tell Mary we have made profit on our inventory and the big sellers are alpaca silver jewelry and Octovalo alpaca ponchos. We will visit with Steve at the end of September and would like to restock to include blankets/ponchos/throws from Hilana. Does Mary have the contact for wholesale Hilana products? Say hi to Ma and the cats, too. Bob and Dot”

small-business-from-ecuador

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
November 7-9, 2008

See discounts for couples attending more than one course.

Here is another comment from delagtes who attended the import export course

“Hi Gary & Merri. Our business of selling Ecuador products is still going well. We are now appointing Agents across Australia and should have the whole country covered by mid-August. Our initial shops continue to re-order on a regular basis. The best shops seem to re-order every two weeks.We have also received inquiry to provide buying services for people in a few other countries. So we will be seriously thinking about starting our own brand name to market globally. If successful, it should help many Ecuadorians.We have appointed a national distributor for our Andes Artisans products (www.andes-artisans.com) so we will be leaving Australia to live in Ecuador soon. Thank you again John & Dixie.”

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course October 14-18

Ecuador Perceptions


Ecuador perceptions create opportunity.

What’s in a Word?

What can the perception of a phrase like “communist” or “terrorist” mean for us as investors?

There is opportunity in these words because most people never look beyond
the perception that has been endorsed by the establishment.  They react without  thought about the reality of a situation.

Let me share an example.

Merri and I love nature. We live pretty much in the wild. Our farm in North Carolina  is in an area so remote it is called “The Lost Province”.

Our hacienda in Ecuador is even more remote.

Yet our reclusive lifestyle was not always the case.  After spending my college years in downtown Portland, Oregon, I moved to Hong Kong, one of the most crowded cities in the world.

After moving to San Francisco I finally lived many years in London, one of the largest cities in the world.

London.  What a great city. I loved living there.  This was a really fun place and part of the fun was Ken Livingstone, the mayor at that time. He was so left wing we all called him “Red Ken”.

I mention “Red Ken” because many readers write to me expressing concern about the political stability of Rafael Correa and Ecuador.  The three words most frequently in the writing of these concerns are “populist”, “Chavez” and “left wing.”

Many people fear anything that seems to be left wing.

Ken Livingstone was so far left and such an unconventional and controversial politician that during the Cold War era he sponsored such events such as ‘Babies Against the Bomb’,and declared London a ‘nuclear-free zone’.

He not only was a “communist” but also endorsed terrorists.

Livingstone even extended an official invitation to terrorist leaders of the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Féin.  Britain denied entry to the invitees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, so Livingstone met them in Northern Ireland instead.  Livingstone said that Britain’s treatment of the Irish over the last 800 years had been worse than Adolf Hitler’s treatment of Jews.

His actions were so left wing that he acquired the nickname ‘Red Ken’ and one British magazine dubbed Livingstone ‘Leninspart’.

Yet during Red Ken, the communist’s reign, London became one of the most affluent cities in the world.

Another example can be seen when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1968.  The Chinese communists were rioting. The first day I arrived in 1968 a British police officer had his leg blown off by a communist bomb.  We were taught at the office how to spot bombs in the street.  The Chinese army was massed at the border. These were the days of the war in Viet Nam and the “communist” threat seemed real to many.  Investors were fleeing Hong Kong left and right. I and a few others stayed.

Those who invested heavily in Hong Kong then, became some of the richest people in the world.

Those who saw the underlying reality and ignored the noise made by political manipulation and the local press made fortunes.

Another example is in Cotacachi.  Merri and I have been investing and living here for years while the mayor there, Auki Tituaña Males is so apparently left wing, there is a huge photo of him and Fidel Castro together on city hall.  That puts some people off!  Fidel Castro a communist!

Yet we have seen this mayor create a social economic system that has transformed the village into one of the nicest areas we know.  Prosperity has grown by leaps and bounds. What has happened over these eight years is remarkable!

Mostly I ignore politicians and the press and look for the deeper fundamentals that drive economics. i know that economics always drives the politics in the long run… not the other way round. Those who rise above and get ahead of political noise are the ones who profit most when the finances shift the politicians.

Places that have brought me the greatest profit are those where the political words and symbols look shaky but the economic fundamentals look good!

Whether Correa, the President of Ecuador is good or bad…I do not know.  A lot of what he says rings true to me…but I have been fooled before.

Will Correa’s actions have an impact on business in Ecuador?  Of course…but my belief is that his influence will not be as bad as many think.   He may even do some  good.

Thus I see bargains that abound in Ecuador because the majority is worrying about the inconsequential words, the noise, the small stuff and most of all the unlikely.  They argue over the scraps and leave the best for the few of us who look deeper.

I have been in Ecuador fourteen years and see little difference in the political noise today than when we arrived. the president then was a mad man (they called him El Loco) changing the constitution. Today we have another President changing the constitution. This President is not so crazy in my opinion.  Is he good? Only time will tell.

I have learned my lesson from London and Hong Kong!  Bring on the words that scare. They create opportunity.

Merri  and I really enjoy living in Ecuador.  When we look through the political noise, we see huge progress in living conditions, sweet non violent people, a wonderful climate…an abundance of sunshine and excellent food.

So we are buying as much real estate there as fast as we can based on our experienced view.

Had we been worry warts for the past 14 years because this or that might have happened we would have missed amazing good fortune…wonderful people…great weather…low cost living…excellent investments…and an amazing lesson that Ecuador’s rich culture has to share.

Of course there are others who are more afraid of George Bush, the US economy, the falling dollar and the American system. There are no guarantees here either.

Our advice on investing and business is to always look first for a place or task you love.  When you find it, go for it!  Take your chances.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, there is risk…so enjoy the process and look for places where fear, due to words and not fundamentals create extra opportunity.  What is within is usually more important than what is without.

We feel as safer or safer in Ecuador as in the US.  Only the future will tell which place will turn out better.  My guess is that both will be great.  I am quite happy with being double lucky but fully accept that no one can predict the future.

However, we expect to invest even more both in Ecuador and the USA. We love both places so we will enjoy the process whatever the outcome.  I look forward to sharing with you what we do and what happens.

That is our perception.

Until next message, may all you perceptions be clear.

Gary

Join us in the cool Blue Ridge while much of the U.S. burns up this summer.  We enjoy cool nights (mid 50s) sleeping under blankets without screens (translation-there are no mosquitoes here). Rarely does it reach 80 during the day and if it does a quick dip in the creek cools us right down. We have farmhouses, cottages, cabins and cottages you can stay in and enjoy. Rockers on the front porch (best for watching fireflies at night and eating sunny breakfasts), quiet pools to chill watermelon, waterfalls in which to soak, horses to chase, chickens and ducks to feed and we would enjoy meeting you.

Everyone who comes wants to come back and right now we can treat you to some fresh blackberry pie!
Cool-mountain-retreat

During breaks in the course join me for a hike in the woods.
We have a space left for you to join us this August 15-17, and learn about intuitive investing at Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

Or join us October 3-5 for the Blue Ridge leaf change. International Investing and Business Made EZ  North Carolina

autumn-leaf-change

Enjoy the autumn leaf change in October.

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

ecuador-beach-restaurant

While others worry about politics our tour groups find opportunity and enjoy wonderful seafood lunches at open air restaurants like this.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Ecuador each hammocks

The future cannot be predicted but this is here…now.

Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Ecuador beach house

Here is a house we inspected on our last coastal real estate tour for sale at $25,000.

Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made
EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than
one course.