Tag Archive | "Santiago"

Early Retirement in Ecuador


Early retirement in Ecuador has several attractions… because of Ecuador’s wonderful people.

One attraction to early retirement in Ecuador is a labor pool that offers much more than just low cost.

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Merri and I know the value of Ecuador’s people and how they can help early retirement in Ecuador. Here I am with the manager of  Meson de las Flores.   He is an incredible person whom we trust totally.  The staff loves him.

According to a recent USA Today article,  When 1,097 Americans 45 and older were surveyed last December, 9% of them said they had lost their jobs in the past 12 months, and 31% of workers that age said that it is very likely that jobs will be eliminated this year, according to AARP’s 2009 report.

Baby Boomers also are out of work longer than younger Americans. Last year, they were out of work 22 weeks on average, compared with 15 weeks for the 20- to 24-year-old age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They may find it hard to get a new job because they’ve had higher salaries. And that means they may have a higher threshold before they’re willing to take another job, says Maria Heidkamp, a senior project manager at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

But they also may be rusty about applying for a job, and their skills may be out of date, she says.

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Our two chefs (Santiago and Alberto) at Meson are  a fraction the cost of a US or Canadian chef but do an incredible job. We continually get raves about the delicious food at the hotel.

One person quoted in the article had lost several jobs in information technology because his employers thought his work could be done more cheaply outside the USA and he saw his money slowly flittering away.”  He took a minimum wage job at a car rental firm, to just keep up with bills but then even lost that job.

The article said that even workers who thought they had planned perfectly and saved enough for their retirement are refocusing.

There are two seeds of an Ecuador early retirement idea that takes advantage of early retirement in Ecuador or anywhere that offers lower cost living.

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Everyone tells how caring our food servers (Eduardo and Consuelo).  They always remember what you want and how you like it. They really do care about your happiness.

The first seed is that labor costs are lower outside the USA and that labor is very willing to work.   Perhaps the man in Ecuador could take early retirement in Ecuador and start a business that takes advantage of this good low labor cost.

He could turn his problem into an opportunity and take advantage of  Ecuador’s labor pool to start an information technology business that serves his former bosses, and others like him in the US, who let him go.

Early retirement in Ecuador or any country with a good pool of workers can turn one of our great disadvantages into an advantage.

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Our cleaning staff are the two…

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Rositas (Rosita Molena and Rosita de la Torres).  They do much more than clean rooms.  They are the hotel mothers looking after all of us with love,  real nurturing, devotion, willingness and smiles.

The second seed is that the cost of living in Ecuador is low.  The high US and Canadian costs of  living make it harder to start a business.

Whether you are young or old,  there may be benefits of taking an early retirement in Ecuador.

Think outside the box and adapt to changing conditions.  Just 3 hours and 45 minutes south of  the USA is a pool of low cost, happy, hard working, earnest labor.

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Alberto Verdesoto (left leading our staff at a Quito seminar) looks after our delegates on tour.  He has over a decade in Ecuador tourism and is assisted by Mauricio Bonilla (below also), who is graduating with a degree in Business Tourism.

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An early retirement in Ecuador can benefit from Ecuador’s wonderful people.  They help make living pleasant and offer great skill, combined with genuine care and desire to serve at an affordable price.

Ecuador’s people can make your retirement more enjoyable, plus form the core of  a successful early retirement income.

Gary

Here is the typical praise we receive about our staff at Meson.

Merri:  Just thought you might like to know that Michael and I have enjoyed our two real estate tours, and feel like we have achieved our goal of an over-view of Ecuador and the available types of property.

Mauricio has really gone the extra mile to be helpful to us, and is a great asset to your team. His “can-do” attitude has enhanced our visit.

Alberto is always there with a smile and a hand to help me out of the bus, and I so appreciate the special attention, as I am a little wobbly on stairs.

Eduardo at Meson is another asset to your group and makes an extra effort to please.  The girls who serve the food there are also very nice.  Looking forward to meeting you and Gary, hopefully at the IBEZ Seminar in October or one of the upcoming Import/Export Tours… Thanks again.

Join us at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about early retirement and Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

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Ecuador people really do care and make you feel part of their family. This is a note from our staff sent to Merri on Mother’s Day.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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

See more early retirement ideas

Reading the entire article For Boomers, recession is redefining retirement http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/retirement/2009-06-16-retirement-boomers-recession_N.htm will help you understand Ecuador retirement better.

Ecuador Food Prices


Ecuador food prices are low.

There is a lot more to Ecuador food than just the low price.

Ecuador food is not anything like Northern Latin food.  Beans & rice … tacos… tortillas… enchiladas… burritos etc. are NOT the typical food.

Here is a typical Al Muertzo (lunch of the day) at Meson de las Flores… beef stuffed cabbage… fresh vegetables and potato pancakes.

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Here is another, steamed quinoa with avocado and shrimp.

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Availability is of good food is great! Here are some shots I took at the Ibarra seafood market.

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Even in the Andes, There is a huge selection of great Ecuadorian seafood.

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Plus the people put such great energy in the production… the growing… the selling at the market and the cooking.  The Ecuadorian people are warm and friendly Every step in the process.

Merri and I love to get in the kitchen with the staff and cook.  Merri is a great cook and the staff are kind so they tolerate me!

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The process of preparing and cooking is fun and after the work, the staff all dine together… laughing,  joking and giggling after a long day. Here they are eating in the kitchen.

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Ecuadorians are artists at heart so they make everything beautiful.  They turn the breakfasts they serve at Meson into artforms, from the fruit…

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to the eggs and even…

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the juice. Here is the juice one morning,  fresh squeezed alfalfa and mango juice.

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Another day it is mango juice with raspberry.

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The staff  even put their enthusiasm into the linen!

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Even the catsup (I would rather not serve it at all, but some guests insist) gets special treatment… served in a carved out grapefruit.

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The chefs are serious about serving great food. Here I am with our chef Santiago.

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Alberto, our sous chef, is a maestro as well.

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The staff are always looking for ways to make the food look better when they serve.

Here are some typical coffee break servings for our course delegates.

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Empanadas

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Fresh strawberries and gooseberries with shredded fresh coconut and dipped in Ecuador chocolate.

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Quinoa jello.

Ecuador food and all this beauty is possible at really affordable prices because the base prices of Ecuador food is so low.

I asked Mauritio, our night watchman and concierge to visit Cotacachi market and get some prices of Ecuador food.

Here is Mauritio’s  report.

Mr. Gary

At the Cotacachi market a trout cost $1.66 but if you buy four or more then the prcie drops to $1.25.

Lomo fino, the best beef for one kilo is $5.28 ($2.40 a pound).

Chicken is $2.64 a kilo ($1.20 a pound).

One kilo of apples is $1.25 (8 apples). This is 56 cents a pound.

One kilo of pears is $1.25 (8 pears – 56 cents a pound).

A liter of fresh milk (appx. quart) is 40 cents.

A pineapple ranges based upon size from 80 cents  to $1.25

Eight mangoes is 2.40.

A batch of 20 bananas is  between 25 and 50 cents.

Regards, Mauritio.

Ecuador-food

Maurition Bonilla.

Low price is not everything when it comes to food.  Quality, freshness and ripeness…plus the way it is grown, prepared and served all count. in Ecuador you can get all the above at a price that is easy on the pocketbook.

Gary

Enj0y Ecuador food on our upcoming Ecuador tours.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador 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.

Easter & Ecuador


Ecuador’s Easter weekends are special..a family time of deep reverence and remembrance. No Easter bunnies, eggs or chocolate here!

More about Easter in Ecuador in a moment… first welcome to spring, this…

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beautiful time of nature’s resurrection.

We have been out harvesting nature’s early gifts.

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We are back at our North Carolina farm and I took this morning to walk and enjoy  this wonderful, rich season…when new life springs from apparent death.

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Our most recent snow just melted and the creek is full.

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The falls roaring.

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I am not sure who loves the walks the most, me… or Ma.

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watching life emerge.

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During this economic downturn… the message of Easter and spring is even more important to take to heart.   There is no death… just change.  Each ending holds the seeds of a new… and better beginning.

We are also enjoying our Easter lilies from Ecuador.  Here are the first blooms I have set out at the farm entrance.

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There were so many blooms that I had to put them into two vases. Here are the rest of  the blooms coming on our dining room table.

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Yet just like all endings… we gain from the past as well… so our Christmas roses, which we dried, are still providing beauty in the farmhouse as well.

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Merri, I and the staff at Meson de las Flores, send our best wishes for a happy holiday and great joy and prosperity this spring.

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Easter in Ecuador is a wonderful family time when everyone gathers to eat Fanesca, an Ecuador Easter tradition. This is a very rich soup, made from squash and twelve different grains, (representing the disciples of Jesus) and salt cod since red meat is not eaten this day. Fanesca is a delicious Lenten chowder prepared to celebrate the unity of Ecuador (each grain represents a different part of the country) and to end the Lenten Fast. There are sliced boiled eggs on top and slices of rich ripe avocado also. Here is our chef, Santiago, with his Ecuadorian Easter fanesca.

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His Easter fanesca is outstanding!

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The view from Meson at Easter is of Jesus commanding the sunrise and…

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an empty plaza.

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Later the parades begin.

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Everyone participates,  boys…

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and girls.   Young…

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and old.

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Spring is here.  On this special season…

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Cotacachi’s plaza will fill.

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Meson will be ready…

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for one of the busiest restaurant days.

Recognizing that for centuries the community has gathered on this day to celebrate the victory of this season in dance.

ecuador-easter Merri and I send our earnest wish that you enjoy a happy holiday.

Gary

To celebrate spring we have created our 2-4-1 program for our spring courses.  Join us in Ecuador this spring.

Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour May 16-17. $499 Enroll here.   $749 For a couple.

Imbabura-Cotacachi Real Estate Tour May 20-21.  $499 Enroll here.  $749 For a couple.

Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour May 22-24.  $399 Enroll here. $499 For a couple.

2-4-1  Take Two for One. Attend any of the three international business & investing courses below and select any one of the tours above free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

Or this spring sign up for our three May 2009 tours and attend any of the IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web seminar above FREE.

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.

Learn about our July 2009 Ecuador export tour 2-4-1 deal here.

See our full 2009 schedule here.

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Ecuador Quinoa Recipe


Ecuador quinoa recipes are a specialty of our chef, Santiago, at our hotel Meson de las Flores.

Here is Santiago with a quinoa cake he often bakes to welcome our course delegates to Ecuador.

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Santiago and Meson will be on Ecuador’s national TV March 9th.

Ecuador’s rich soil, 365 a days of sun adds to the nutrition of the food grown here.

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Quinoa is one Andean food, a high protein grain…the only complete vegetable protein. Here is quinoa in the field…

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and harvested.

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Quinoa is a high protein replacement for rice or most cooked cereals.

Nicki Goff, a good friend, neighbor of ours in Cotacachi and  a graduate of our publishing course, just wrote about quinoa.

First, she wrote this:

Gary, Your writing course is being put to good use! I’ve articles on ezinearticles.com as well as hubpages so far, trying to make one post
per day. My plans are to continue writing, with a blog in the near
future focused on all aspects of healthy diet.

I loved reading this.  You can get this writing course free when you subscribe to our internet course, Tangled Web.  Learn how to enroll here

See how to have the $299 Tangled Web course free also below.

Here are excerpts from Nicki’s Quinoa article.

Introduction to Quinoa

Quinoa (keen-wah) has its origins in the high upper Andes. The Incas credited quinoa with medicinal and magical properties, and held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains”. The Inca emperor would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements’. It has been in continuous cultivation in Colombia. Ecuador. Peru, Bolivia. Chile and Argentina for over 6000 years. Both the seeds and the young leaves can be used as food.

During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as “food for Indians,” and its cultivation and use was actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous ceremonies. Today, it is returning to commercial favor as a grain in these countries, although it still shares first place with corn as the primary indigenous grain.

Quinoa is close to being a perfect food source in the balance of nutrition it provides. Not a grain but a seed, quinoa is related to the leafy vegetables, Swiss chard and spinach.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein – 12% to 18%, one of the best sources of complete protein in the vegetable kingdom. Quinoa is a source of all essential amino acids, including the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. Lysine also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.

Quinoa is a great source of B vitamins, potassium and riboflavin. It’s also a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin E and fiber.

Mango Quinoa Salad

This is my all-time favourite quinoa recipe. It serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main dish.

* 1 cup quinoa
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 mango
* 1/2 cup cucumber
* 1/4 cup blanched almonds
* 2 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:

* 1 teaspoon Ghee (clarified butter)
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 lime or half a lemon, juiced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash quinoa and boil in water for 10 minutes, Let sit until quinoa absorbs all the water. Fluff with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.

Peel the mango and cut into cubes. Dice the cucumber, and add to mango along with the almonds and pumpkin seeds.

To make the dressing, heat Ghee in a small pan and fry with turmeric for 30 seconds, then let it cool. Add the lemon or lime juice. Mix in olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Add the cooled quinoa to the mango mixture, pour the dressing over the salad, and toss.

Chilean Quinoa Tabouleh

* 2 cups Quinoa
* 4 cups water
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
* 2 tsp minced garlic
* 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cooked
* 1 cup finely chopped red onion
* 4 plum tomatoes cut into (1/2-dice)
* 1 cup diced (1/2 inch) cucumbers
* 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

Place Quinoa in a medium-sized pan, add the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. The Quinoa should be translucent. Remove from heat and fluff it with a fork. Transfer the Quinoa to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.

Sprinkle the quinoa with the salt and pepper and stir, folding from underneath the grains. Fold in 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the oil. Gently fold in the cilantro and garlic. Toss the avocado with remaining tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Fold the corn, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado into the Quinoa. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve at room temperature within 2 hours of preparation. Serves 8 to 10.

You can read Nicki’s entire article on quinoa with more recipes including Quinoa Salad Pita Pockets and Crunchy Quinoa Peanut Butter Cookies.

Quinoa is also great with fruit and we have just about every kind here in Ecuador.

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Almost all of the time most fruits are really ripe…

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These are some shots I took at the daily Cotacachi market.  I large bag of pears is $1.

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These huge, syrupy mangos maybe 25 cents each.

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Huge papays $1.

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and tropical fruits I cannot even name…but…

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each is fresh, ripe and delicious.

I think many of our delegates come here just to eat!

Until next message, may all of your food be healthy and a treat!

Join us in Cotacachi or the coast for our March or June tour.

Enjoy the holidays festivities in March.

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March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

March 16-19 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

On the import-export course we’ll look at hundreds of Ecuador crafts.

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We’ll visit properties for sale like this excellent hotel with huge gardens in central Otavalo.

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June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

We’ll enjoy numerous shamanic ceremonies.

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On the real estate tours you’ll see property available nowhere else because sellers come to us first since we charge no commissions.  Here is one of the Vistaazul condo blocks.  totally purchased by our readers at a rock bottom price because they were sold without commission.

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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

We have great social times n our tours as well.  Delegates love sharing with one another. Here is one of our groups enjoying a coffee break in the courtyard of Meson de las Flores.

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Future 2009 Ecuador courses:

Get our web based course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this March or June.

This new course entitled “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Internet Business” is available at $299.

This is a bargain. Merri and I have been traveling and doing international business for 41 years. We have had a web based business for over ten years. You can share everything we have learned for just $299.

However if you sign up for any three of our in person courses below, you can have The Tangled Web course free.

Enroll here $299

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Cotacachi Health Food


A lot of the food in Cotacachi is health food… in a natural way.

Cotacachi-dining

This is not to say that all the food in Cotacachi is organic.  Many farmers use chemicals. What you can say and can see from this local Cotacachi food market… is that most of the food is local and fresh.

The fruits and vegetables you buy each day were just picked.  Plus you can buy it from the farmers who grew it!

The mission statement of our business is to provide interesting, useful information about ways to invest, do business and live globally  (especially in Ecuador) that helps improve our reader’s lives.

Yet there is an overlaying focus on how to attain better health… naturally… because… what good is money… or a successful business… if you are dead… or suffering poor health… pain… or spending all your hard earned cash on hospitals and pharmaceuticals?

Good health is a pillar… an underlying foundation… an essential ingredient that affects every aspect of  investing, business and life.

Yet the health system in North America is imbalanced.

Former Secratary of State Colin Powell has invested, along with Steve Case, the founder of AOL in a company (Revolution Health Group) with a mission to give the people more choice of  health care options and reduce health care costs.

The business is built around a portal site that provides members with data on health care price and quality, as well as information on medical conditions, diet, exercise and medications, with an emphasis on preventive health care.

Powell often says: There’s no part of American life right now that is more in need of imagination and new ideas than health care.

I agree. This is why we work to assure that the Cotacachi food we serve helps mprove health.

One can reduce health care costs autometically with good  eatingbecause nutrition is such an mportant part of the good health balance.

Our efforts seem to work.   Merri and I certainly enjoy good health, vitality and energy eating in Cotacachi.

Guests who visit our hotel, Meson de las Flores, report that they feel better, lose weight and inches without trying.

This is not a nutritional mystery.   The Cotacachi diet eliminates junk food.

Cotacachi health food is just what one should eat rather than fast and highly processed food.

For example at the coffee breaks during our seminars the hotel serves juice instead of caffinated, carbonated beverages.

Here is one of Eduardo’s specialties… fresh mango and alfalfa juice… with gooseberries.  This is absolutely delicious… and things do not go better with Coke! Fresh juice is healthier.

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Here are some typical breaks that these delegates at a recent Cotacachi International Business and Investing Course enjoyed.

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Quinoa jello.

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Fresh non fermented cheese and quinoa bread.

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Fresh squeesed mango juice and blackberries.

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The fact the food is served by sweet,  caring people, with real smiles and laughter, also helps us feel better.

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Here is our Maitre’d Euardo with his helper Jose.

Eduardo hand squeezes the juices each morning. He also makes the butter from local cream.

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He even inspected the local dairies to see which had the richest grass.   There is an organic cheese factory nearby also that makes its own Swiss cheese.  For those who like wine the owner of the cheese factory also runs an Organic Vineyard nearby.

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If you want to really know your food source, you can visit and watch these cows being milked.

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Eduardo also hand makes the mornng breakfast marmalade… offering some wonders… mango… papaya… pineapple… blackberry… even carrot and beet marmalade which are really delicious.

The farm land in the area is rich.

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Even the murals in town depict that this is a place where stuff grows!  Here is a shot of a mural over our local Cotacachi grocery store.

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The staff bring in the produce… vegetables and fruit almost daily.  Here is Consuelo.. our food server.. bringing in greens for one of the regular delicious soups.

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Hotel Manager Franklin looks after the food as well.

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Santiago, our chef, specializes in high protein meals replacing rice with quninoa…the complete protein Andean grain.  Here is Santiago in the bodega going through the vegetables of the day.

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With the help of sous chef Alerto… they generate some incredible meals like this quinoa shrmp and avacado dish.

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Here is Alberto making one of his great soups.

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Lunch is served with a different soup every day …

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then a main course with fish, meat or fresh cheese (for vegetarians) along with vegetables and salad, makes the main course.

Attention is given to every aspect of the meal…even condiments. No catsup here! Instead Eduardo makes a special tomato sauce served like this.

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Even desert gets special, personal attention.  Here is Eduardo hand making the ice cream and sherberts from fersh ingredients.

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Enhancing the good nutrition, Cotacach invites you outside to walk and see the views.  Here is a shot from our bedrom window of Mt. Cotacachi.

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The streets are wonderfully brick paved and traffic is controlled so you can wak in safety and peace!  Here is one of the main waking streets.

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Add these simple things up… no junk food.   Fresh whoelsme balanced meals.  More walking… fresh air.   Suddenly our guests feel better without trying… without discipline… without feeling deprived.   This is not rocket science… just a way life we used to have in he USA and Canada… that remains here, today in Cotacachi.

Until next message may your heath and food be naturally good.

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi in February when our courses focus on how you can have better health and wealth.

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for all three courses in February or March 2009, I will send it to you free. You save $299.

Sheri Clary will be at our February courses and available for consultations about bio-identical hormones. Our February Cotacachi schedule is:

Join Merri, me and Blaine Watson, plus enjoy a shamanic ceremony in the Cotacachi Shamanic Valley. Feb 9-11 Beyond Logic Keys to More Wealth & Better Health

Join Merri, me and Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management at OUR INTERNATIONAL INVESTING & BUSINESS COURSE IN ECUADOR. We review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio plus investing and business ideas for the months ahead. 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 Import Export Expedition

March 16-19 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Bob Shane will be at our March courses and will be available to provide health balancing.

Get our web based course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this February or March.

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

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Global Asset Strategy Seminar

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6     Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9    Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11     IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Ecuador Charity


See a link about Ecuador charity, giving and an Ecuador Living excerpt below.

Our Ecuador charity does not just give.   Just giving builds dependence which is not our goal. Our aim is to help the great people of Ecuador help themselves.

This is why our Ecuador charity, Land of the Sun Foundation  has had its greatest focus in the past few years on helping the hotel Meson de las Flores learn how to stand on its own.  We have helped the Meson staff take Meson from a crumbling empty shell and transform it into renewed facility and profitable operation.  All profits go back to improving the hotel or to the Ecuador Land of the Sun charity that aims to help expand business in Ecuador.  Merri and I do not make a penny from the hotel….our pay check  goes to the heart instead of  the pocketbook

For Meson’s success, we thank all of you who have visited us here.

The staff at Meson de las Flores asked me to send all of you their best wishes for UN MUY FELIZ ANO.  Here is Meson’s staff.

Meson-Cotacachi-Hotel

From left to right Meson’s staff.  Ecuardo – maître d,  Alberto – sous-chef, Consuelo – hostess, Ray – global liasion, Rosita Elena – maid, Mauricio, – night assistant and tour guide, Santiago – chef,  Franklin – manager.  Not present Rosita De la Torres – maid.

The staff of Meson de las Flores are to be congratulated. They are remarkable people who have been willing to work hard for and to deserve their success.  Here is the type of comment I continually receive about service at Meson de las Flores.

Dear Gary and Merri,  From Mesón de las Flores I am sending you my very best wishes for this coming year!!!  I am at your hotel since Monday afternoon together with two good friends and we have really enjoyed the place, the warmth of your staff and the natural food.  I have particularly enjoyed the chance to relax, to do some sightseeing in Cotacachi and Otavalo.  2008 was a very busy year for me, but also a very blessed time for which I am very grateful to God.  I thank Him for the opportunity of having met during this year people like you who has a passion  for what they do and their work benefit many  people´s live. Have a wonderful 2009!!

The warmth of the staff at Meson is a continual refrain I read like this:

Hi Gary and Merri!  I  miss Ecuador so much!  It is amazing to me that, after only 90 days there I feel such a strong connection and love for Cotacachi and all the local people and the others I met there.  I am counting the days until my return.  You promised me that I would be pampered — and El Mason and the people
there really took care of me.  I think it is good to leave Ecuador and experience “home” — it really confirms that Ecuador is a beautiful place and the people there are so warm and welcoming.  Best thing I ever did!  Can’t wait to return!  Blessings to you both,

Having Ray as our global liasion at the hotel has been a hug addition that really helps guests.  We receive continual raves about Ray:

I LOVED the market in Otavalo and came home with another extra-large Ecuadorian bag loaded with rugs and wall-hangings. A very tempting place that I visited 4-times just to give you an indication of how much FUN I had there.
We’ll have to see how our retail season goes and if I can break away for a couple of weeks, I’ll travel back to Ecuador for two weeks in April.  Ray is a splendid character and makes one feel that “our casa is your casa” during your stay. He has that manner that invites and excites and I feel he is a huge plus to your organization. Everyone really likes Ray and I miss him already and his lighthearted banter and genuine care.

Next trip I’ll bring lots of ones and fives. Even twenties were a drag. Imagine! At home a $100.00 bill goes direct to pay one bill alone or one “small” grocery shopping without blinking an eye.

This guest is not alone in praising Ray. Meson has also become a  central meetng place for the gringo community in Cotacachi. Ray organized a Christmas party and this Cotacachi resident who emigrated from Michigan wrote:

Hi, Gary and Merri.  Just a quick note to say thank you for the great Christmas Party for Gringos at El Meson!  It was a lot of fun and we were amazed at how few of the people we actually had met.  Of course we solved that by making sure we met everyone there and invited them to visit us when out our way.  We wish you a very blessed Christmas and a fabulous 2009!  Looking forward to seeing you soon, Love.

Ray seems to help guests in so many ways:

Hi Merri  Returned from Cotacachi last Thurs after a great trip.  The woman that traveled with me wants to return this summer – she could not believe how nice the area is and the friendliness of the people.  I saw my apartment and am very happy with the bed and bedding that you added.  Thank you.  Ray Manna is a super nice person and very friendly and accomodating with the guests – a real plus.  Brought over 200lbs of clothing, school supplies, medical supplies and gifts for the children and nursing home.  Everything was donated – a very warm experience and shared joy.  I wish you and Gary a Merry Christmas – hope to see you in Ecuador in the Spring.  Hugs and love

From shopping to checking out and arranging tours. Another guest wrote:

Hi Merri, We are back from Ecuador and in a serious cold spell in Alberta. It is minus 30 C this morning but is beautifully sunny. We have a little snow so at least it feels like Christmas.  I just wanted to say thanks for your guidance in planning our trip. I also wanted to let you know what a terrific job Ray did despite the fact that he was a sick as a dog. His upbeat positive attitude and willingness to help was second to none. He is a real asset to your organization.  We enjoyed our stay at El Meson and found Cotacachi and the surrounding area to be both beautiful and peaceful.  We are already planning our next trip to Ecuador and are dreaming about its warmer days. Best wishes for the holiday season.

Ray and the staff make everyone feel like part of our family…and you are…when you stay with us at Mesons, as this guest noted.

I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know how much myself and all of our “extended family” enjoyed the course that you, Gary, and all of your competent staff put on earlier this month.  I am really just getting my feet back on the ground and I think that we are finally there.  Gary was awesome as we expected and gave me as really a beginning investor many insights and new ideas to think about.  I am speaking for myself and several others.  You showed me that you are an expert planner and really went  out of your way to accommodate  us especially when we had people coming in at different times.   Last and not least was Ray who also handled so much on the fly and did it well.    Ray really helped with the leaving process.  We really enjoyed your hotel and the hospitality.  It was  memorable. Thanks so much and we hope to keep in touch and continue with Gary’s newsletters! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Ray helps in Cotacachi and elsewhere as this guest noted:

Merri, We have arrived at Palmazul and it is very nice.  I would like to tell you that Tina and I had a wonderful time at Cotacachi.  The staff and service at El Meson could not have been better.  I must tell you that Ray was an excellent host and was attentive to every detail of our stay.  All of the other guests love Ray. I will report back to you after our trip in Palmazul. Best wishes.

Guest also report feeling healthier and often lose weight..even though they eat more as this guest reported:

Hi Merri:  Back home after that long flight and am already ready to return to Cotacachi.  Gary’s e mail this morning about the essential oils and other things to reduce stress.  He left out the most important thing…..Going to Cotacachi, El Meson, meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and seeing all the wonderful smiles of your staff, and  the people of Ecuador.

When I go to Ecuador, after the first day, I take no medicine, eat healthy food, get lots of exercise, and just feel wonderful.  Since I have been home..ort on my travels home, I have had a who knows what hamburger, bag of fritos, diet cokes, processed cheese and other just total crap, and I bet I have gained back those four pounds I lost in Cotacachi…in just two days.

Guest really feel healthier and enjoy our philosophy of health at the hotel.

Dear Merri and Gary, How wonderful an experience we had with you…and how much respect we have for you both.   Thank you for the extraordinary services you are offering in these times to so many.   It is rare that we feel as aligned with people as we do with you on so many fronts at once – investments, political opinions, commitment to the indigenous, ‘being healthy,’ commitment to organics/biodynamics and a religion of being kind.   Wow.  With Appreciation.

A stay at Meson seems to be food for the body and the soul as this reader reports:

My Dearest Merri and Gary,  I cannot thank you both enough for your wonderful hospitality.  I just want you to know that everything I read about Ecuador from your news letters and emails was exactly the way you described it and better…………..

The day we were all returning to Quito to go our different ways at the end of the tour, I was overwhelmed with tears because you both had been so wonderful and I didn’t want it to end.  I was already missing you and the wonderful experience I had had during your Ecuador Tour Adventure……..You both are very special and I am honored to be a part of your Group.

I also want you to know that………

I fell in Love while I was there……………..I  fell  in  Love.

I fell in love with the Country, the People, the Mountains, the Sky’s, the Thousands of stars at night, the Flowers,the Rivers, the Ocean, the Villages, the Towns, The Taxi drivers who were so helpful and wanted to speak English and practiced on me……….The Ecuadorian people who seemed to have this overall feeling of Happiness and well being that was contagious where ever we went.  From the Bus driver who stood at the door of our bus and helped each and every member of our group, everyday, get in and out of the bus. He was always smiling and happy to help.  To the Indian women, who were washing the Family’s clothes on flat stones in the River.  They looked up from their work, as our bus passed by, waving to some of us staring in disbelief………….I waved back, with tears in my eyes. They smiled at me as if to say… all is well and you are welcome……

Everywhere we went I felt as though I was surrounded by smiling faces.  Just walking out of the Hotel in Cotacache, the Native Indians of the area were dressed in their Native costume, except it wasn’t a costume, it was their way of life……….Immaculate, clean clothes, beautifully embroidered blouses with wonderful long wool skirts, colorful sashes around their waists, carrying small children wrapped in beautiful fabric on their backs.  I was in awe………. I was feeling as though I was in a time machine that was set for the mid 1850’s.  I had indeed traveled back in time and landed in Ecuador…………….The air was clean, the water was fresh, the food was healthy and delicious…………..I kept thinking, Where am I?  Is it possible?  Am I dreaming?  Is it real?

After being there for a couple of days, and easing into the relaxed, tranquil, lifestyle.  I began to notice the little nuisances of the Indigenous people I was surrounded by.

Every morning, wherever I went, I was always greeted with Buenos Dias ( good morning).  It was so peasant and  so comfortable so nice.  I  forgot about where I had come from, and my only concern was finding out everything I could about this beautiful Gentle Country of Beautiful gentle people.

Everyday was a unique Visual Experience for me.
I remember waking up to the Church bell ringing at 6am and looking out the window and seeing the mothers walking their children to the school.  All cleaned up with fresh clothes, their native costumes, and smiles.  Walking along the  hand made stone sidewalks, skirts swaying as they walked, lightly brushing the sidewalk as they made their way to the school.  Just watching them gave me a feeling of well being, and a knowing sense that all is well.   No plastic, no tensil, no cartoon characters acting like humans.  It was real,
real people, real feelings, real emotions experiencing their version of life on Planet Earth…

There were many times I was overwhelmed with emotions of humility and feelings of being honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this unique Gift in those present moments.   A Gift that you, Gary and Marri, have made available to a select few. You and Ecuador have changed my life and my thinking.  Thank you, I am so grateful.

See more about Ecuador charity in an excerpt from Ecuador Living

We invite you to join us in Ecuador this year.

Gary

Our January courses are almost full but we have plenty space in February and beyond.

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.

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

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

Here is our Ecuador tour schedule for the balance of 2009.

Date                    Course                      Couples Fee

May 21-26  Ecuador Spanish Course         ($999)
May 27-28  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)

June 12-15  Shamanic Mingo Tour             ($999)
June 16-17  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)
June 18-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour         ($749)

July 2-7       Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
July 8-9       Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
July 10-13   Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Sept. 17-22  Ecuador Spanish Course        ($999)
Sept. 23-24  Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
Sept. 25-28  Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Oct. 21-26   Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)

Nov. 6-8       International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador ($999)
Nov. 9-10     Imbabura Real Estate Tour          ($749)
Nov. 11-14   Coastal Real Estate Tour            ($749)

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 them 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.

Cotacachi Crime Concerns


Numerous readers have sent Cotacachi crime concerns which we share here.

You are a salesman.  A salesman will tell you anything.  You know it is dangerous to live down there. Gayle

I often get notes like this …usually from people who have never been to Ecuador.  Galyle has one point correct for sure.  I have been a salesmen going on 41 years and always considered it a privilege to sell things I truly love and live myself…like Cotacachi Ecuador.

Really the village does not need selling. Cotacachi sells itself. All I have to do is tell the truth…so I sometimes get comments like this.

I visited Cotacachi and your hotel Meson de las Flores. It was exactly as you described it. I felt safe the entire time I was there. Thank you!  Monica

We’ll review more comments on Cotacachi crime in a moment…but one thing that is not a crime in Cotacachi or Ecuador is the great quality and cost of food. I just returned from Oregon and spent some time on the coast. Dungeness crab was $28 a pound…smoked salmon $19 a pound.  That seems like a crime to me!

The wonderful lakes around Cotacachi means we have great fish.  This is Lake San Pablo.

Cotacachi-fish

Here is a high Andean lake above Cotacachi.

Cotacachi-fish

and the trout they catch there.

Cotacachi-fish

Back to crime…let’s read what some people who live in Ecuador say about crime.

Hello Gary, Here’s a New York Times article you may have seen about an Ecuadorian man who was beaten and stabbed to death in New York. He was basically killed for sport…a hate crime.

Personally, I’ve been a crime victim a few times in Ecuador. During my six years there, I lived and traveled among the general population in a large city. I used the public transit system, the local markets, the bus stations… In this situation, you’re bound to be unlucky sooner or later.

But even in the worst of areas, I never worried for my safety. All I lost was money–or replaceable items–and I never carried any more than was necessary. I didn’t (and still don’t) worry that I’ll be killed or beaten for fun, or because I’m the wrong color or nationality.

My personal experience has been that Ecuadorians are basically non-violent people. They steal out of need. What little I lost likely went to feed a family… Best regards,  Lee

I agree with Lee. When you talk to people who have lived in Cotacachi or most parts of Ecuador…they’ll agree…petty theft is a problem from which you must protect…but hate crimes basically do not exist and violent crimes are rare.  Another reader who was a visitor to Ecuador wrote this note.

Hey Gary, first time in Ecuador, flew down from Quito to Guayaquil, heard how dangerous it was everywhere, been walking the streets day and night.  I wear a $15,000 gold watch. Today, I rented car, drove to Montanita.  Tomorrow, I am driving north, along the beach coast, then back to Guayaquil for a few days then over to Peru.   I´m from Mobile.   We have several shootings, stabbings, hit and runs a week, along with other crime. The bottom line is that most crime comes from just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. One of my next trips is Caracas, murder capital of the world…and yes, I am alone and over 60.  I will be in the Dominican Republic for Christmas and New Years, surfing with my kids. Bobby.   The only thing I suggest is it is better to burn out, than rust out.

I urge more caution than Bobby takes but could not agree more with his philosophy of enjoying life and embracing the incredible riches we have in today’s society instead of wasting away worrying about what bad could happen. Life is too short!

Back to fish. Merri and I love to accompany our chef, Santiago, to the Thursday fish market in Ibarra. I can buy about 20 pounds of crab for the same price as one pound in Oregon and it is really fresh!  One of our favorite jobs is helping the chef!

Cotacachi-fish

We also love watching the fishermen at work when we are on Ecuador’s sea.  Here is our last Coastal real estate tour watching the fishing on the Chone Estuary at Bahia.

Bahia-fishermen

There is a big modern town behind these Ecuador fishermen…

Bahia-fishermen

but they are pretty low tech!

Bahia-fishermen

Just canoes and poles…no gas surcharge here.

Bahia-fishermen

The fishermen who fish outside our hotel in San Clemente are even more low tech…no boat!

San Clemente-fishermen

We took our last group for a sea food meal in Manta.

Manta-fish-meal

Where this most expensive dish on the menu…a full lobster meal was $12.

Manta-fish-meal

My grilled fish was $6. That was no crime!

Which brings us back to Cotacachi crime. 

This reader who lives regularly in Cotacachi wrote:

Gary,  As you now I have traveled to Ecuador and the Cotacachi area many times over the last several years; nine times I think. I have always felt safe even during the evening walking about Cotacachi and have never felt threatened there or in Quito or the coastal areas. I always try to be aware of my surroundings and the level of cautions I may consider appropriate as I would anywhere in the world I am traveling, for example, in Quito I usually put my wallet in my front pocket. However, reading the accounts of crime in the area lately, and I appreciate your alert, I felt a little concerned as a North American. In the interest of thoroughness on this topic my alarm is that the message is we are being targeted. This may be obvious. As anywhere the perceived affluent are vulnerable. In this culture we stand out and In this sense we present opportunity and perhaps in the perpetrators mind fair game. I would only say that a common sense realistic awareness of taking precautions in unfamiliar areas in an unfamiliar culture is important. I think that you and Merri provide a real service with up to date information for safe travel and areas to live and lodge in Ecuador. Your tours also provide an excellent environment for safe guided travel.

Since I have had so little trouble with any sort of crime in Ecuador what I tend to recall are the simple unexpected kindnesses which I have encountered.  One time while  shopping at the Otavalo indigenous market unknowingly I dropped a small package only to turn around to see a little indigenous child running up to me tugging at my sleeve with a smile and handing it to me. Another time at the bank in Cotacachi I was  trying to cash a $100 bill – can be difficult as many know due to the fear of counterfeiting from Columbia. There at the bank after waiting in line for an hour only to be refused change due to that I did not have an account or permanent address they said; I left in exasperation. Unknown to me a young woman was observing  and having empathy for my plight had withdrawn an extra 5 twenty dollar bills from her account and rushing down the street to find me offered them to me in exchange for the 100 dollar bill. “De Nada” she said.

These are a few of the experiences of innocent kindness in Ecuador and of the Ecuadorian people that I choose to remember over my fears of crime. Thanks for keeping us aware and informed in our travels and adjustment to new and unfamiliar areas and culture.  Jim

Here is another note from a gringo who is resident in Ecuador.

Gary, I would like to add the following on crime in general in Ecuador. I have spent the past 9 years living in the Mariscal neighborhood of Quito, 6 months each year.  Many consider this a likely neighborhood to encounter crime in Ecuador since there is much tourism, thus many opportunities to rob people who actually have money or valuables on them.  I walk the streets until about 10 PM.

Ecuadorians are gentle peoples: They are not Cali, Caracas or Miami.  The indigenous peoples who inhabit the provinces north of Quito are among the most stable, economically affluent, and culturally integral of any class of people in Ecuador.  Crime is minimal as it is in most small towns in the USA.

Crime in Ecuador tends to be petty thievery, taking a backpack or purse from a cafe, stealing “things” which are left in the open unguarded.  Ecuadorians are not  a “gun culture” as exists in the United States.  It is beyond their imagination that a person would rob and kill another for a pair of tennis shoes.  It is further beyond their imagination that a young person would mass kill his classmates at school, and that the state would continue to allow unlimited access to hand guns and semi automatic weapons.The crime of Ecuador is based more on poverty, although there exists a cultural flaw in many people committing petty theft even when they do not need an item. These events are rarely associated with violence to people.

I’m a street smart kid (63) who grew up in Chicago’s south side and I know that Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, New Orleans, and just about every major and “medium size ” US city is far more dangerous that most any city or neighborhood of the largest cities of Ecuador.  Only 2 cities of Ecuador have any significant crime, Guayaquil and Quito, and then only selective neighborhoods.   Almost all the people I know who have been robbed (6 or 7) in Quito have been men walking home drunk late at night oblivious to using their normal street senses.

Gary, if you do a follow up, feel free to include my comments.

I agree that the Mariscal neighborhood of Quito is one of the riskier areas due to tourism…and that it is not the nature of Ecuadorians to be violent.  We love the people here…the great scenery…the wonderful food…the low prices…the colors like these ice cream vendors in Bahia serving our last coastal real estate tour.

Bahia-Ecuador-workers

Plus we love the warm weather.

This is the final point. I was in a West Jefferson barber shop today and read the local paper.  This is as small town USA as you can get. Nine people were on the front page…all arrested for dealing drugs…cocaine…heroine…meths.  Then Merri saw a real live mountain lion run across our field. Then we visited our neighbor who showed us photos of five bears roaming the neighborhood.  I feel totally safe here and would not hesitate for a moment to invite people to come up (just watch the ice on the road).

So I can live in complete safety here…even though there is crime…in this.

snow

Or go to Cotacachi and San Clemente where the crime may be about the same…more or less…but in this.

Ecuador beach

and this

cotacachi-sun

at about a fourth or fifth the price.

So here is the salesman speaking. “Visit us in Ecuador. You will be glad you did!”

Here is a comment from a delegate at our last course:

Hi Merri:  I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know how much myself and all of our “extended family” enjoyed the course that you, Gary, and all of your competent staff put on earlier this month.  I am really just getting my feet back on the ground and I think that we are finally there.

Gary was awesome as we expected and gave me as really a beginning investor many insights and new ideas to think about.  I am speaking for myself, Charles, Jose as well as Rebecca and Betty who joined us after the Galapagos Islands.  You showed me that you are an expert planner and really went  out of your way to accommodate  us especially when we had people coming in at different times.

Francisco stood out as well.  Of course, “our man” Steve the excellent tour guide and all around helpful person.  Last and not least was Ray who also handled so much on the fly and did it well.
Ray really helped with the leaving process.  Also I will keep in touch with him about the possible medical conference I may put on at La Mirage 2010 in August if it comes together…..lots of work and much to work on to make it happen.  We really enjoyed your hotel and the hospitality.  It was  memorable. Thanks so much and we hope to keep in touch and continue with Gary’s newsletters!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Sincerely, Jim

Merri and I hope to serve you in Ecuador this sunny winter.

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.

Cotacachi Tours


We have over two dozen Cotacachi & Ecuador tours and courses scheduled in 2009. Many have asked what they are like…so let’s take a tour of the tour…then I’ll share an investing tip.

Our November International Business & Investing course began yesterday…so we’ll follow this group. This is a typical schedule…beginning with a course, then followed with an Adean real estate tour and concluding with a real estate tour on the Ecuador coast.

We try to schedule three courses together like this so delegates can choose one two or all three tours…whatever works best for them and this allows us to provide substantial discounts on the second and third tour.

Most delegates arrive in Quito the night before. Alberto, Steve and a few of our staff drive up to meet everyone and deliver them to a hotel (usually Hotel Quito or Radisson – we negotiate a discount for everyone so the hotel that offers the best deal gets the business) where they spend the night.

Next morning they all meet and have a ride around Quito before heading north to Cotacachi.

Before the main group is arrives, the staff at our Inn goes into hyerdrive bringing in fresh food. Here is our manager Franklin with makings for fresh vegetable soup.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

Consuelo and her helper follow.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

They fill up the bodega. Here is our chef Santiago checking the inventory.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

while his assistant Alberto starts the soup.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

A few early arrivals are already in the courtyard waiting and talking. Here a couple are discussing economics with Peter Laub of Jyske Bank.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

Eduardo and his assistant, prepares juice and quinoa cake for everyone to enjoy.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

This time Eduardo has created a mango alfalfa drink..delicious.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

Finally the bus arrives.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

Delegates disembark and the courtyard comes alive.

Cotacachi Ecuador Tour

Many friendships are made. Guests dine, sit round the fireplace and discuss what they expect…what they want…what they think we’ll learn.

Tomorrow we begin next door in the Museum’s meeting room at nine.

Cotacachi tours

Our hotel, of course, is fully booked so we place delagtes at La Mirage, several hostels as well as condos near the hotel.

Subject matter in the course begins with global economics and were to invest now. We have several speakers who join me. In this case Peer Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM).

We look at the long term economic fundamentals at work and how investors can react now.

This week JGAM pointed out:

The main attention this week was the US presidential election. Up to the election we saw markets in Asia acting with euphoria due to positive signs of improved conditions in the credit markets as well as the prospect of Obama winning office. Europe and Wall Street continued with the positive sentiment and Tuesday became the strongest presidential election day rally in history. After the election celebrations, markets woke up to the outlook of a severe economic contraction and the euphoria turned into panic selling, with declines up to -10% over two days. Bank of England (BoE) chocked the market Thursday with an aggressive cut of 150 basis points on the key interest rate. This move sparked a mid day rally for 45 minutes until the European Central Bank (ECB) disappointed the market with only a 50 basis point reduction. The EUR/USD has been very volatile over the week ranging from 1,2520 to 1,3120 now trading at 1,2797. We anticipate other central banks to follow the US and EU with reductions over the next few weeks. “

Then we looked at how this volatility and lowering interest rates would create opportunity in bond markets…my message was “a golden bond opportunity is coming.”

Today we will be lookng at this as the course continues.

Until next message good global investing.

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
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

We’ll visit the Otavalo markets.

Ecuador-Project

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

Cotacachi-meeting

Courses are centered around this open air courtyard in our colonial inn El Meson de las Flores.

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

You are also invited to tag along to the beach where we visit all types of Ecuador beach property for sale. Here is one f our previous tours enjoying a visit to Vistazul condos.

Ecuador-Project

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

Feast Now Famine – Multi Currency Investments


Shots like this of an Ecuador food market and multi currency investments grow in importance…beause the world’s cupboards are getting bare!

Ecuador-Food
Multi currency investments help investors adapt to change.  Multi currency investments are especially valuable now because change is here…big time.

Change brings distortions. Distortions create problems and problems create opportunity.

Messages about multi currency investments over the last two days have looked at a problem that had been forgotten for many years…having enough food.

US debt creates a falling US dollar.  This is why multi currency investments are important.  A falling dollar creates inflation. Yesterday’s message showed us how soon twenty dollar bill will not be enough to buy a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs and a small loaf of bread.

This is the tip of the iceberg.  Beyond the greenback’s demise there is a more serious underlying supply and demand fundamental…there simply is not enough food right now.

Investors need more than just multi currency investments.

This was not the global position in past decades. In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was saddled with mountains of surplus cheese, corn and other foods that it socked away in warehouses and even caves.

As recently as 2003, the USDA had to buy so much powdered milk to support dairy prices that beleaguered officials shipped some to U.S. ranchers for cattle feed.
The European Union farm program had lakes of excess wine and mountains of cheese and butter stored.

Yet a recent USA Today article says: “While the previous surpluses were costly and sharply criticized, much of the food found its way to the poor, here and abroad. Today, says USDA Undersecretary Mark Keenum, “Our cupboard is bare.

“U.S. government food surpluses have evaporated because, with record high prices, farmers are selling their crops on the open market, not handing them over to the government through traditional price-support programs that make up for deficiencies in market price.

“Worldwide, food prices have risen 45% in the past nine months, posing a crisis for millions, says the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Because of the current economics of food, and changes in federal farm subsidy programs designed to make farmers rely more on the markets, large U.S. reserves may be gone for a long time.

“The upshot: USDA has almost no extra food to supplement the billions in cash payments it spends to combat hunger at home and in developing nations.”

This is a huge problem and hence grand opportunity.  The solution is not simply making more money with multi currency investments…to buy enough food either.   You cannot be rich, happy, successful and full when those around you are hungry.  Not only is this inhumane…hunger and thirst are motivations that will destroy law and order faster than any other!

Investors have to put their multi currency investments in businesses that will bring fundamental changes in the way the world produces food.

I noticed this recently when at the Parsons Feed Store buying laying mash for our hens.  The phone rang and the clerk seemed exasperated. “No we do not have any,” she almost shouted in the phone.  “Seed potatoes.” she said. “Everyone is calling for them and we have been out for weeks”.   I asked, “Was the supply short this year?”   “No,” she said. “We had two shipments. Everyone is just buying more.”

There is an opportunity somewhere here.  I haven’t figured out what it is, but know it is there.

Take, as another example, shares of Vestas Wind Systems. We follow these shares in our multi currency course and they have been a huge winner.  One reason behind the food shortage is that many governments incorrectly promoted food (such as corn) as a source of alternate energy.  This helped skew the food supply down faster than demographics would have done.

Those who change, adapt and invest in solutions to problems are those who will profit.  This is why we are examining seven multi currency shares including Vestas in our multi currency course.

Until next message, may food always be abundant for you.

Gary

Learn more about multi currency investing at our multi currency portfolio course.

This is also why we are adding sessions on nutrition at our upcoming intuition course.

Here are delegates at a previous course enjoying a nutrition lesson in our teaching kitchen at the farm.

Ecuador Shamans

I love gardening.  This may become a hobby that goes beyond handy.  Folks round here still know how to feed themselves without the big city.  So do Merri and me!

Here is a previous year’s sunflower crop.  This was always for the beauty of the flowers. Now I am thinking about nutritional value instead.

Sunflowers

This course will be conducted here in Ashe county where we live on a farm in part to be sure we have enough food by growing our own.  Hopefully part of our squash crop will be ready to serve. We aways have great pumpkins and squash.  Here is a previous crop.

Squash

Learn more about the food benefits of  Ecuador travel and living.

This is one reason we love Ecuador as our second home. There is such an abundance of good food.  The rich volcanic soil, full sun and lage rural economy means that almost everyone knows how to feed themselves. Here is a shot at Cotacachi market

Ecuador-food-stall

There is an article about this at Cotacachi Market – Quality living at cheap cost

See dates for our Ecuador tours and courses below:

Coastal Real Estate Tour

Ecuador’s fishing fleet  make eating fresh seafood easy, inexpensive and good!
Cotacachi food tas;

We bring fresh seafood to our hotel as well. Here I am with Merri and our chef Santiago at El Meson de las Flores after visiting Ibarra seafood market.

Gary Scott

Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Shaman Tour

Ecuador Import Export Course

See discounts for attending more than one course.

Cotacachi Food


Cotacachi Ecuador food always surprises those who visit Cotacachi for the first time.

Ecuadorians are noted as among the longest lived people on earth. This is, in part, from Andean foods and nutritional habits that began long ago. Since ancient times Andean Yatchaks, Shamans and Curanderos have taught healthy living supported by good nutrition. They based these healthy lifestyles on three ideals; clean food, good food combinations and a correct fat, carbohydrate and protein balance.

One reason Cotacachi food is so good is that it is so fresh!

Cotacachi-food-market

Cotacachi food is really inexpensive too.

Our seafood in Cotacachi is fresh brought right from the coast.

Cotacachi-fresh-seafood

Here we are with our chef Santiago after buying seafood from the Ibarra market.

Our restaurant in Cotacachi the Quinoa Cafe celebrates the wisdom of the past and combines it with the unity of mankind. We continually serve fresh fruit…at coffee breaks.

Cotacachi-fresh-food-flowers

Fresh Cotacachi fruit starts breakfast as well.

Cotacachi-fresh-food-breakfast

Quinoa Cafe’s core bill of fare is Quinoa, often referred to as the Andean grain, a wonderful food, native to the Andes. Quinoa sustained the ancient Incas and has been grown continuously for over 5,000 years. The plant thrives in poor soil, and the high mountain terrain of South America’s Andes.

Qunioa has been described as the super grain. Actually it is the SEED of a leafy plant that’s related to spinach. What makes quinoa special is that it has a very high protein content, more than any single grain. Plus unlike grain, Quinoa has the amino acid lysine, so the protein is complete. The World Health Organization ranks quinoa protein equivalent to milk. Quinoa offers more iron than grains and contains magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, B vitamins: B6, niacin, magnesium, zinc, copper. It is also a good source of folate (folic acid).

Quinoa is delicious and can be substituted for almost any other grain.

Here is our chef Santiago serving a quinoa cake…sweet and delicious but protein filled.

Cotacachi-fresh-food-qunioa cake

Even our coffee breaks are healthy…fresh strawberries…gooseberries…and fresh ground coconut covered in organic chocolate.

Cotacachi-fresh-food-fruit

We will feature Quinoa and Andean nutrition at the August weekend course at our Blue Ridge farm conducted by our business intuitive, Susan Stanton Rotman. Seven Andean nutritional secrets are shared below.

First let me say more about the course.

The course is entitled, “Escaping the Tryanny of Reason: Intuitive Development for Practical and Business Decision Making” This seminar will introduce you to working with your own intuition to develop greater insight, creativity, and more informed decision-making and problem solving skills, all important elements for greater success.

The course will examine intuition in the business context, the use of intuitive process as a complement to rational decision-making, and the integration of intuitive knowing with analytical thought. Susan will present the basic concepts of intuitive knowing and its development, including how to access your own intuition, and skill building to evaluate, process, trust and apply your information.

She will help you explore the experience of intuition and its forms, including exercises to develop sensitivity and to practice using intuition as a navigational tool.

Merri and I have found that escaping the tyranny of reason helps us greatly when faced with questions that cannot be humanly answered. We have several weapons in our information processing armory. One of the great assets is Susan, a professional business intuitive. She consults with businesses and individuals using both her clairvoyance and other psychic abilities combined with her rational skills to help people and businesses with decision making and navigation. She consults with clients from around the world. Susan does not really like the word psychic (nor do Merri or I) as a lot of the information she comes up with does not just pop out of the air.

She has a strong educational, legal and business background. Susan originally trained as a corporate attorney and mediator.

Susan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University, having received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in 1977, cum laude, and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981.

She practiced corporate law for many years and has extensive experience representing both individual and corporate clients.

She also understands business from the entrepreneurial side—she owned her own retail art-jewelry business and is an expert in pearls

Susan has a broad background in esoteric and metaphysical studies, spirituality, and personal, business, and family development practices.

This course will be conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 15, 16 and 17, 2008 at our Blue Ridge Farm.

All meals and accommodations ARE included and the food will be special.

A lot of stress comes from poor nutrition. Quinoa offers an optional, delicious purifying and the diet you will enjoy at the farm can enhance your rest and boost your energy and heath as well as reduce your weight without any feelings of giving up or not enjoying your food.

The nutritional goals at the course are to provide a delicious menu that improves digestion, reduces weight, increases energy, reduces toxicity in the system and balances the hormonal system so cravings and excessive hunger disappear. This system is based on shamanic nutritional ideals taught to Merri and me, when we with Andean Yatchaks and indigenous communities.

The cornerstones of the Andean nutritional program are:

#1: Eating a balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

#2: Eating combinations of food for ideal digestion.

#3: Eating clean organic food prepared and served by happy, joyful people.

#4: Eating in good spirits at the right times.

#5: Chewing in the correct way.

#6: Eating purifying and satisfying meals.

#7: Balancing nutritional with correct sleep and exercise.

Here is what we will review about nutrition during the intuition course.

#1: Eating a balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Our diet keeps protein balance without excessive amounts of meat using quinoa, eggs, cheese and yoghurt instead. A great deal of poor health and stress is tied in to the underlying hormonal disturbance caused by the excess production of insulin. This imbalance normally comes from too much food and incorrect protein, carbohydrate, fat balances in the diet. Every time we eat, hormones in our body will change, either good or bad. Delicious food with a balance of 3 parts carbohydrates, two parts protein and one part fat has the power to orchestrate beneficial hormonal changes in our body.

#2: Eating the correct combinations of food for ideal digestion.

Andean nutritional ideals also focus on combining foods in a way that avoid fermentation in the stomach. Foods and spices are divided into three types neutral, savory and sweet. Neutral can be mixed with savory or sweet, but no savory and sweet foods are mixed. The main neutral foods are grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. Meat and most vegetables are savory. Fruits are sweet. Cereals are ground and soaked to improve their digestibility. Sweet spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, mint. Savory spices include sale, pepper, chiles, oregano, corriander, bay leaf, cumin, saffron, fennel. No two fats are mixed nor are fruit types.

#3 & 4: Eating clean organic food prepared and served by happy, joyful people and eat in good spirits at the right times. Food should be beautiful as well…like this feta salad served at our last course.

feta-cheese-salad

We even make breakfast look good!

Cotacachi-fresh-food-breakfast

Candace Pert, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist who was awarded a Nobel prize for her groundbreaking work that shows the mind is not just in the brain but in the entire body. The mind and body communicate using the chemistry of emotion. Short chains of amino acids called peptides and receptors are found in the brain, stomach, muscles, glands and all major organs. They send messages back and forth linking mind and body. When we are happy our entire body is happy and reverse and this chemistry has a dramatic impact on our food and digestion.

Andean beliefs view the body composed of three elements earth (Pacha mama), fire (Taita Inti) and air Pacha Kuti.

There are times of the day when each of these elements are most active. The digestive fires are highest at 12 noon, so a savory meal is normally eaten at this time.

A sweet breakfast accommodates a more sluggish digestive time and the evening is set aside for a purifying fruit meal so the body can use the midnight fire energy to cleanse rather than digest.

Three herbal teas are served. In the morning cinnamon tea is served. Before lunch ginger tea lights the digestive fires and before sleep chamomile tea enhances a good night’s rest.

Part of good nutrition comes from eating, sleeping and exercising at the correct times.

The yatchaks also suggest we eat only when hungry and the stomach is empty so we recommend eating only every four hours. For cravings between herbal tea is best and juices can be added if it is uncomfortable to wait for the next meal.

#5: Chewing in the correct way.

Correct chewing releases nutrient molecules so energy from food is more quickly released and assimilated. This allows the brain to recognize flavors and release the correct digestive juices for that food. Proper chewing does even more because it stimulates the bodies sphincter (or ring) muscles that surround the various orifices of the body.

Ring muscles include the muscles around the eyes, the nostrils, anus, urethra, genitals and the mouth. In a healthy body, all sphincters work together, contracting and relaxing simultaneously. They also activate the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the musculoskeletal system and the urogenital system. Ring muscles are ultimately responsible for putting all the other muscles and all the organs of the body to work.

Chewing correctly stimulates the ring muscles and consequently helps exercise all our muscles.

#6: Eating Purifying and satisfying meals.

Fruit types also exist and are never mixed. Citrus stands together, but is not mixed with other foods. Watery fruits (apples pears, plums and grapes) can be mixed. Bananas are eaten alone only or with dairy only. Pineapple and melons are also eaten alone.

There are three purifying meals we will learn about during the course. The first most gentle purifier is a water combination of apples and grapes. The second meal is an entire pineapple and the third, an entire watermelon.

Organic coffee, tea and cocoa are great purifiers rich in antioxidants. Coffee and some tea is avoided by those who do not want caffeine. We recommend moderation and serve only organic, fair trade coffee and tea Coffee and tea (without milk) are neutral and can be consumed before or with any meal. I will be bring organic coffee with me from Ecuador for the course.

Finally we provide an Andean cleansing tea made from cinnamon, sweet pepper and chamomile.

#7: Balancing nutritional with exercise and sleep.

Each day you can learn a gentle but profound exercise that will enhance your stress release. We do not have television at the farm and recommend going to bed before the evening fore cycle begins at 10 PM. The farm is totally quiet and dark for more restful sleep.

We are pleased that Susan will be with us. She will present two days of group instruction and workshop plus will provide individual consultations after the seminar concludes (a consultation is included as part of the course). Individual consultations may be in person on August 17 or by telephone at a later date.

To enroll, enjoy the farm and learn more about nutrition

To enroll for two

Learn more about the farm and accommodations

Learn more about Cotacachi food at Cotacachi Stores – Supermarket