Tag Archive | "Steve"

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 Crime


Cotacachi crime appears to be rising.

Let’s put some perspective on this and see why a friendly village like Cotacachi might have increased crime.

I love the dawn….the perspective it brings in its glowing magnificence. The sun always shines. We get another day. So I always try to live in places where I can see the sun rise. There is no better time to reflect…be grateful for the abundance we get from just living…and to prepare for whatever adventure the day may bring. Here is the sunrise from my North Carolina office.

cotacachi-crime-dawn

Of course our apartment on the beach doesn’t have an eastern view. The sunsets compensate for this. Here is a shot we see almost daily when at Vistazul.

cotacachi-crime

Whatever…sunrise…sunset. These are the universal daily statements about reality, abundance and the cycles of life.

So after watching this daybreak from my North Carolina office this morning, I was ready to grab life and the day at its fullest.

Reality check! Our hound and I discovered as we headed to the mail box…

cotacachi-crime

that it was cold! 11 degrees F.

I was getting a sunburn last week in Ecuador last week and now am fighting frost bite!

When the leaves of the rhododendron along the creek curl…one knows that it is just plan freezing cold.

cotacachi-crime

We are heading back as soon as we can where we can enjoy warm, sunny Cotacachi sunrises instead.

These are the sunrise views we see from our apartment in Cotacachi Ecuador. There is no crime in this!

Looking south past the Cathedral.

cotacachi-crime

Looking east over Mt. Imbaura.

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Every morning Merri and I take a sunrise stroll though the village beginning here.

cotacachi-crime

We love it. The people are so friendly….

cotacachi-crime

and happy.

cotacachi-crime

We stop on our morning strolls and chat with everyone from the street cleaners who clean up after the frequent festivals….to the Mayor the Priests and the Nuns if they happen to pass by.

Cotacachians are earnest,..

cotacachi-crime

bubbly…

cotacachi-crime

traditional…

cotacachi-crime

and colorful.

cotacachi-crime

All of these scenes were taken in the streets of Cotacachi and we feel safe here. Even the children walk freely early morning and in the dark of night.

cotacachi-crime

Now this confidence has been blemished by Cotacachi crime.

I am keeping this in perspective….but Steve just sent me this note.

Gary, There was a robbery at a farm in an outlying area that is owned by one of our readers. This was a pretty chastening experience for another reader who is renting there. About 10.45pm yesterday he was in his bedroom. His window crashed and four men smashed climbed in. Three more came through the kitchen. One of those three had a pistol and one had a knife. Seeing resistance was futile Shawn let go his club. The dogs outside didn’t bark and were probably drugged.

The renter was tied by wrists and legs and had a curtain thrown over him. The robbers, all masked except one, ransacked the house. They seemed to think he would have a large amount of money there and kept asking for that. He had a knife point put to his throat on various occasions. They took the fridge, freezer, cooker, clothes, shoes, laptop, two cameras, two cell phones, other electrical items, and found $500 cash he had hidden away.

Finally they left except three. Those three conversed with the renter asking him about his family. Told him not to go to police or they would kill him. Told him he should have company on the farm (that’s rich coming from robbers). Finally they untied him. He came to El Meson, shook up by the death threats. We asked some village elders for advice and were told to go to the Fiscalia and police.

We went together and were there for most of the morning. While there the fiscal agent commented that foreigners were being targeted and it could well be the same bandits. I asked about a robbery at a resort in adjoining area where apparently the owner lost $40,000.

I looked at the lists of reported crimes in a lined page book – many crimes since last April – 180 to be precise and many robberies. 2 or 3 cadavers, one murder yesterday (inside an indigenous community).

I am told that quite a few foreigners in town are afraid of what’s happening in the USA and are coming to Cotacachi with large amounts of cash (life savings) and gold ingots. This can create crime in Cotacachi.

I agree with the village elders that it is really the mayor’s duty to obtain more police etc. Two builders nearby at San Miguel are considering putting in private roads with guard(s) in a kiosk(s) to patrol against possible intruders.

We have put in a call to the vice mayor as well.

Mayor Auki has decided to run again and according to close sources he proposes running on a ‘control crime ‘ ticket and will implement many anti crime measures in his 4th term should he be re-elected. Steve”

I hate to see crime like this near Cotacachi….but let’s look at the overall picture.

Crime will grow everywhere in these tougher economic times.

Here in North Carolina we used to always leave all seven of our doors unlocked…even when we left for months at a time.

About this time last year, three of our neighbors, who ran a thriving Christmas tree farm and were known to keep large amounts of cash in their safe at home, were murdered.

In January 2008 a man was indicted on three counts of capital murder for the shooting deaths of our neighbors. Police say the three were shot at their residence when the indicted man was attempting to steal the safe from their garage.

We now lock our doors here in North Carolina, even during the day.

Now we will also take added precautions in Cotacachi to protect against crime there.

Our hotel is pretty safe at night…huge wooden doors are closed and we have a night watchman. We are adding a night time armed guard for a while to make this statement…”its dangerous to be a criminal at our hotel”.

Plus we will stick, on our walks, to the village. These Cotacachi crimes mentioned above took place outside the village of Cotacachi. This current robbery and the other mentioned, occurred in outlying areas that we know to be more dangerous. We warn our readers about going or buying there.

Ecuadorians are by nature not violent people.  Even so a recent Overseas Security Advisory Organization report says:

“Police reports show that in more and more cases, criminals are using some sort of weapon in the commission of their crime.”

Yet like in the US where victims can lose their lives, the report adds:

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

This reader who was robbed acted correctly…did not resist and ended up with a talking…not being shot like here in North Carolina.

One huge benefit in using our Ecuador Living service is that we are not brokers or travel agents. We are not trying to earn commissions by selling real estate or locations. For our modest subscription you get our honest opinion based on 40 years of international business and 13 years residence in Ecuador. We have an active Ecuador business and have personally purchased a 962 acre hacienda, condos in the mountains, a house, a hotel plus condos and apartments on the beach. Our Ecuador Living service shares our continual research and experiences in global business, living and investing in Ecuador. You gain access to our extensive contacts plus you get to share the input from over 15,000 subscribers who continually let us know what they see hear and experience good and bad.

Learn more at Ecuador Living.

We warn our readers about areas that we consider less safe, but if you do not subscribe, be sure to check if the area is friendly or not before you buy real estate there.

I hate to see crime in sweet Cotacachi. I hate to see it up here in friendly Ashe County North Carolina…especially when the rich are targeted.

Merri and I stick out in Cotacachi but we stick out here in the Blue Ridge as well. Yet we are used to being in the minority. We have learned how to blend in.

See more on this at The Benefits of Trading a Rolls Royce for a Beat Up 87 Ford.

For example when we built our modern seminar hall out here in the North Carolina wild…anyone passing by…who did not know…would see a familiar scene…an old Blue Ridge barn. We even used a special aging substance on the exterior to make it look old. Here is our Blue Ridge seminar hall…new but purposely looking old.

cotacachi-crime

We have learned to look, as much as we can, like the locals…wherever we are.

For example our seminar delegate accommodations at our farm entrance are made to look like an old barn as well. Here is that apartment.

Cotacachi-crime

The rest of our delegate accommodations look old (and cold right now) from the outside…though some are brand new. Here are some more of our cabins.

cotacachi-crime

I suspect that when those who are not our neighbors drive by and see dozens of cars parked in our meadow they think “rooster fight”…not …”a seminar on international investing”.

When I lived in Hong Kong…I was never going to be mistaken for an oriental. Yet I learn what areas and districts to avoid and how to avoid looking like a tourist. Instead I dressed and acted like a British businessman. Hong Kong was a colony then. That worked. Ditto for my decade in London.

Even though Americans of European decent look more English than Chinese, the robbers can spot tourists anywhere! London is the only place I was ever robbed…and just down the street from my home! See The Gift is in the Giving. A Gift from a Thief.

Economic downturns create crime in Cotacachi and everywhere. Disparity between the rich and the poor create crime. Be prepared.

Cotacachi is still a great place as far as I am concerned but Cotacachi crime may be growing with the larger Western population. I would be remiss not to say so.

Wherever you go, Cotacachi or anywhere take the following advice.

Remain alert! Be aware of your surroundings.

Vary your routines. Predictability makes you a more likely target.

Lock up your home, car and office.

Make your home a tough target. Use security systems.

Stay informed. Learn about crime trends in your area and stay away from dangerous areas. The crimes in Cotacachi just mentioned took place in outlying, isolated country areas.

Get Involved. Crime can be reduced with action.

Until next message may your partners never be crime.

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

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 Olympics


The Cotacachi Olympics is helping the kids of Cotacachi.

Steve just conducted the latest Cotacachi real estate tour one project viewed was Primavera II.

Primavera Two a

Primavera One and Two are owned almost entirely by Ecuador Living subscribers and real estate tour delegates. These condos are built by Jorge Quilumbaqui, a local indigenous builder made good after years of struggle.

Jorge began as a laborer but is now one of the indigenous elders in Cotacachi, an example to younger generations of how to prosper in what, years ago, was a difficult environment.

DSC08199

Here’s Jorge, second from left standing with some of the medal winners

Jorge hasn’t forgotten his roots though and employs dozens and dozens of builders in his various projects as well as local girls in his Cotacachi Hotel, Sumak Huasi.

Earlier this year Jorge came to Meson de Las Flores to tell me about his plan to stage an athletics competition for indigenous children. He would call it the Indigenous Cotacachi Olympics and it would primarily be a way to financially help all the different indigenous communities around Cotacachi.

Using his own money and also sponsorship the prizes for the winning children athletes would be a computer or school utensils for the entire school year.

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Some of the children, in good humor and ready to compete!

Knowing us at Meson de Las Flores very well and also aware that we have the Land of the Sun foundation to primarily help the indigenous in Ecuador, Jorge had no hesitation to ask us to be one of the sponsors of his event. We had no hesitation agreeing to do so!

I find Jorge to be a humble man without any airs or graces, unassuming with conservative style and tastes and with a social conscience – he wants to give back to his own indigenous community.

It was no easy task to arrange the Olympics because sometimes there’s a rivalry between the different indigenous communities and also the children are, for the most part, not used to taking part in athletics events such as relay and long jump. They can all run but don’t know how to start a sprint or pace themselves in the longer distance events.

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Here’s some supporters from the Morales Chupa community

Jorge hired a physical education trainer to visit all the 14 communities that were to participate; the trainer spent one day in one community and then moved on to the next community. All in all he spent 2 months training the 180 children who were due to compete.

DSC08171

See what happened at Ecuador-indigenous-self-help.

Gary

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.

Ecuador Crime Stat


A recent article Ecuador Crime Surprise showed some very interesting Ecuador crime stats.

ecuador-dancers

Here are three Ecuadorian dancers who entertained us on a recent Cotacachi Ecuador real estate tour. The people are so friendly we always feel safe, but many people who write to us ask us about crime. So we have been researching this.

One article about Ecuador crime we found was entitled “Crime and Society, a Comparative Criminology Tour of the World” page published at ROHAN, the Academic Computing Web Server at San Diego State University.

San Diego State University has a highly diverse student population of 33,000 students, including approximately 6,000 graduate students. With 75 masters, 3 masters of fine arts and 16 joint doctoral programs, San Diego State University is currently designated as a “research/high research” institution by the Carnegie Foundation and soon expects to be Doctoral/Research-Extensive.

This report on Ecuador’s crime said: the overall crime rate in Ecuador is low compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Ecuador.

For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI’s index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Ecuador will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate).

According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 1999 was 25.92 per 100,000 population for Ecuador, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA.

For rape, the rate in 1999 was 6.2 for Ecuador, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA.

For robbery, the rate in 1999 was 95.85 for Ecuador, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA.

For aggravated assault, the rate in 1999 was 35.59 for Ecuador, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA.

For burglary, the rate in 1999 was 164.52 for Ecuador, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA.

The rate of larceny for 1999 was 138.32 for Ecuador, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA.

The rate for motor vehicle theft in 1999 was 52.87 for Ecuador, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA.

The rate for all index offenses combined was 519.27 for Ecuador, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.

Only in the rate of murder does Ecuador exceed industrialized countries.

This article stimulated some great reader response.

One subscriber wrote: Thanks for the great article Gary. We live in the burbs of Cleveland OH and there are parts of Cleveland we don’t go especially at night. As you said there is crime everywhere, but thanks to your articles we’ll know the places to stay clear of. We plan on joining you in June of 2009 and will be in touch to get all of the particulars. Until then, keep up the great work, it is much appreciated.

Another said:

Great job with this topic, Gary — Ecuador is a much improved expat option since I was there in the 1960’s — I’m considering becoming a homeowner there now. The State Department should try doing a “violence alert” for New York City — it ranks right up there with Moscow and Bogotá for downright inhuman violence!

Yet another wrote:

Gary, Good job of explaining your position on Ecuador violence. I suspect that if my wife and I walked the beaches near the New York City or New Jersey Coast late at night alone, we could encounter such violence or more. The sad news is that there is violence every where and although Ecuador is not a “magic pill” against violence we firmly believe that Ecuadorians are peace loving, kind and non-violent by nature. We have a similar problem as you in attempting to explain to our US friends and acquaintances that Ecuador is safe.. only time will help erase this very unfortunate event and it has been an eye opener for us to be more careful everywhere.”

Yet Ecuador is not soft on crime. Steve added this thought:

I am in San Clemente on the coast right now. All is quiet and peaceful. the same was true in Manta, the approach road and on the journey here. Tell your readers that the locals in San Clemente are playing street bingo this Saturday. As I explained what´s in a name?

For us Europeans or American a State of Emergency conjures up all knd of draconian measures such as martial law, riots, food shortages, withdrawal of democratic rights – in fact the whole darn country falling to pieces.

In fact on Friday I caught glimpse of 2 papers – this “state of emergency” made page 17 in ‘El Telegrafo’ and was far inside of ‘La Hora’.

The State is taking corrective measures to curb a wave of gang related violence in Manta, Esmeralda and Guayaquil. So far only Manta has a new police chief but the other two cities are about to follow this week.

So what´s actually happening on the ground regardless of what names are applied to the situation? Basically there have been protests in all three cities because of increased violence this year. The police have responded with emergency operations including joint patrols with the under utilized army. How terrible that the army here has to resort to this instead of fighting foreign wars where they are neither needed, wanted or appreciated. Here the army is appreciated and respected.

Also a SWAT team is about to descend on Manta and break loose all hell on the delinquents here. Lets see where we go from here but State of Emergency – from what I can see – is just a confusing name.

The low crime statistics suggests that Ecuador crime should not be much of a factor when you consider visiting though every place has risk, if you do not take care.

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.

To assist those interested in 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.

You can learn more about our Ecuador Living service here.

Gary

Join us at a course in Cotacachi 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.

Cotacachi-beads

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

Ecuador-El Meson-Courtyard

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

Ecuador-Beach-Work

You can even work online (as my friend Steve is doing above) while on the coast.

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

Multi Currency Ideas


Multi currency solutions to inflation are needed.

Inflation will certainly come from the current global economic bailout.

Every multi currency investor needs to mold a personal multi currency solution to meet their specific needs. Whatever individual tactic is used, it will normally work better if it includes multi currency diversification based on a search for multi currency value.

Yesterday’s message Multi Currency Warning looked at seven economic fundamentals that we can relay on during this downwards correction and stated:

The current rush to the US dollar and yen create a monumental opportunity! There will be a time to invest in the very currencies that are tumbling now.

Why am I sure of inflation?

One of the seven multi currency fundamentals (#2) is that: Government involvement in global economics and business may dampen the sharper acceleration of the natural financial rhythm but eventually makes the corrections worse.

A recent article in USA Today covering Alan Greenspan’s testimony to the US Congress said: that the “Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told angry lawmakers” about his shock.

I wonder? We these angry OR frightened lawmakers? I suspect that a few weeks from election day the better word would have been SCARED.

Fear destroys reason if one is not trained to deal with it. Most of Western society is not trained to deal with fear. William James aptly put it this way.

“In civilized life it has at last become possible for large numbers of people to pass from the cradle to the grave without ever having had a pang of genuine fear. Many of us need an attack of mental disease to teach us the meaning of the word.”

Since politicians are also human beings they too lose reason when they give way to fear. They seem to definitely get a mental disease!

For example what is the cause of today’s economic crisis? Too much debt.

Yet yesterday’s BBC article entitled “Brown defending higher borrowing” says:

“Gordon Brown is defending his plans to increase government borrowing in order to tackle the economic downturn in a speech in London.

The prime minister is telling business leaders it is the right time to boost demand with government spending.

Opposition parties have attacked the current levels of debt, saying Britain is inadequately prepared for recession.

Leading economists have also criticised the government over its spending plans and called for tax cuts instead.

In a letter to a Sunday newspaper, a number of economists warned against an expansion of government spending as a way of stimulating the economy.

They described a focus on public works projects and higher spending as “misguided and discredited”.

The latest quarterly public debt figures hit a record £37.6 billion – higher than the whole of the previous year. Yet Brown said: The responsible course is to borrow now to maintain growth and output.”

I have little doubt that England’s debt will grow…as will America’s, and Europe’s and Japan’s because of…fear.

The borrowed money will be spent by government’s to, as Brown says, “kick start the economy”. The economy will recover but if the fundamental about government inefficiency remans true, it will not recover as it could and should.

The price of this borrowing will be inflation…the loss of purchasing power.

Now here is where frightened politics and politicians get involved.

The same BBC article also said:

“Over the weekend, Mr Brown paid a brief visit to Glenrothes in Scotland as part of a by-election campaign and made predictions food and fuel bills would begin to come down next year.

He also hinted falling oil prices could lead to further co-ordinated interest rate cuts.

“Now inflation is actually coming down over the next few months and that will mean that it gives scope to all the monetary authorities, including the Bank of England, round the world to make a decision about interest rates,” he told the BBC.”

Brown is probably wrong. Inflation will not come down…which is okay for those who know what to do.

Do not be misled. Chances are that Western governments will borrow more than they should. Inflation will follow.

If this belief is correct then the best investments will be shares, commodities and real estate in a diversified basket of strong currencies.

What will make a currency strong?

Fundamentals of currency value (purchasing power potential) include:

A: Interest rate.
B: Inflation rate a three levels – labor – wholesale and consumer prices.
C: Trade balance.
D: Current account.
E: Debt as % of GDP.
F: Debt as % of government income and spending.
G: Amount and velocity of direction in government deficit.

Ideally we want to invest in currencies of countries that offer an interest rate above the local inflation rate, that have a positive trade balance, current account, falling government debt and deficit versus government income.

This combination of qualities in a currency are as rare as hen’s teeth and will become even harder to find during and after this downturn.

As the Western economies stall, their imports will slow. This will slow growth in emerging economies. Governments everywhere will be pressed. Fear will grow. Reason will diminish and government borrowing will increase everywhere.

Inflation will grow. Multi currency investing will become increasingly a relative process….looking for the currencies that are least bad.

I hope to help you fight this inflation with multi currency investing!

Gary

We are studying three multi currency solutions to inflation in our multi currency course. You can subscribe to gain access to these ideas here.

Join us at one of our next to International investing courses in Cotacachi Ecuador this winter.

Learn more about economic safety this November. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan or Thor Anderson of Vistazul 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
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

See the wonderful balconies in the Primavera condos at for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-interior

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

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy the Vistazul swimming pool on Ecuador’s Pacific.

Picture 9

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

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Enjoy Ecuador’s music.

Ecuador-music

Enjoy flowers and beauty.

Ecuador-flowers

Enjoy the friendly staff at our hotel.

international-club

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

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.

Multi Currency Investing Ahead


Multi currency investments fight inflation and can enhance wealth but require a long view .

There is a screech owl that lives in our barn and the way I watch him is sort of how I invest.

Can you see the owl?

To begin, an investing idea starts with a speck of thought…seeing the whole picture, but without many details.

Then it’s time to connect dots to see a closer picture.

Then we begin gathering information so the focus is closer…

until we can finally zoom in.

At this stage when we have zeroed in, we can act.

One big idea I have been tracking and investing in, is water. Now I am zeroing in on a new sub interest…water desalination.

An article sent by a reader entitled “Australia Turns to Desalination Amid Water Shortage” by Michael Sullivan first piqued my interest.

The article told how the Kwinana Desalination Plant, near Perth, produces 40 million gallons of drinking water per day from the Indian Ocean.

The article says:

Perth, with a population of about 1.7 million, is growing 3 percent a year — about 750 families a week move to the city, says Gary Crisp of the Western Australia Water Corp.

The Kwinana Desalination Plant south of the city opened two months ago. The facility, the first of its kind in Australia, covers just a few acres in an industrial park next to the ocean.

The water is sucked in through a pipe about 650 feet offshore in Cockburn Sound, at a rate of about 0.1 meters per second, says project manager Simon McKay.

That is slow enough to let the fish escape, but fast enough to provide nearly 40 million gallons of drinking water each day — roughly 20 percent of Perth’s daily consumption. That makes the plant the single largest source of water for the city.

McKay says it doesn’t take very long for the seawater to be ready for the tap — about a half-hour from the time it comes out of the ocean until it’s processed and distributed.

Desalination plants have been around in places like the Middle East for decades. But they’ve always been expensive to build and expensive to run. New technology has made them cheaper and more efficient, but they still consume a large amount of energy.

Environmentalists in Perth balked at the idea of using coal-fired plants to provide power for the one here, forcing the Water Corp. to find a non-polluting, renewable alternative. It found that alternative — wind energy — near the town of Cervantes, a three-hour drive north of Perth.

The Emu Downs Wind Farm houses 48 wind turbines, each as high as a 15-story building.

Kerry Roberts, the facility’s general manager, says Emu Downs is among the top 10 or 20 sites for this type of energy alternative in Australia.

“If you look at the combined output of the wind farm at maximum wind speeds — 24 to 28 miles per hour — you’re looking at an output of close to 80 megawatts,” Roberts explains. That’s enough power to run Perth’s desalination plant, 160 miles to the south.

This successful marriage of renewable technology and necessity has Crisp, of the Western Australia Water Corp., thinking big: “I predict that desalination will account for at least half of Perth’s water in the next 30 years.”

Other water-stressed seaside cities in Australia are taking a serious look at desalination, as traditional water sources dry up because of lack of rain. Sydney, on Australia’s southeast coast, is expected to commission a plant even larger than Perth’s in the next few months.

Nonetheless, the desalination boom extends far beyond Australia’s shores. McKay — the man in charge of getting Perth’s plant running — will soon be off to Muscat, Oman, to build another. His company’s order book is filling up quickly, he says, and he doesn’t expect that to change in his lifetime. Neither does Crisp.

“The world is going reverse osmosis,” he says, naming projects proposed from California to Spain.

Looking around, I found that one of the largest desalination plants is not far from where I lived (Naples) for years, Tampa Florida. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination facility is an integral part of the Tampa Bay region’s drinking water supply. This is claimed to be a drought-proof, alternative water supply that provides up to 25 million gallons per day of drinking water to the region.

There are large desalination projects underway in California as well. However a look at the top 50 desalination projects show that the majority of them are in the Middle East.

Desalination is a sector that is bound to grow. It is estimated that 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress and this number is expected to increase by 50% over the next 20 years.

Areas of greatest concern include India, China and the Middle East.

There are two forms of desalination, evaporation and reverse osmosis (salt water forced through a filter under high pressure). There are already over 10,000 desalination plants going, mostly in the Middle East.

There are huge expenditures underway for desalination and wastewater purification and a number of companies are cashing in on this fact.

General Electric may be in the lead. It purchased Ionics, which builds desalination plants and makes filter membranes.

The French company Veolia Environnement (VE) is a major desalination plant and membrane supplier. This company earns over a third of its revenue from water businesses. The Japanese chemical company Nitto Denko (6988.T) is a large membrane supplier as is Dow Chemical (DOW), DuPont (DD), and GE.

Desalination plant builders include Italian Impreglio (IPGOF), South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (DOHIF), French Suez (SZEZY), German Siemens (SI), and Spanish construction companies Acciona (ACXIF) and Abengoa (ABGOF).

We have written often about Singapore-listed Hyflux (HYFL) which makes filter membranes used to purify water and builds desalination plants. Hyflux is building a 500,000-cubic-meter per day desalination plant in Algeria, which, when completed in 2011, will be the world’s largest. Hyflux is also building 40 water treatment plants in China, where it gets 81% of its revenue. This share is in our Green portfolio as is Japan’s Kurita Water Industries (6370.T) which builds desalination plants and sells other water purification equipment, getting all of its 205 billion yen [$2 billion] in revenue from water-related businesses.

Canadian H2O Innovation (HEO) makes filtration membranes for wastewater treatment. Austria’s Christ Water Technology (CRSWF) sells desalination and other water purification equipment. American Water (AWK), is in New Jersey and ran the desalination plant in Tampa, which is the largest in the U.S. Energy Recovery in San Leandro, Calif. has also sold shares to investors.

Desalination plants are expensive and create local opposition for several reasons.

First, they produce a waste of highly concentrated salt water that can destroy the surrounding ocean habitat. Second they require a lot of energy which if created by coal, creates air pollution.

The third concern, perhaps the biggest is concern for the organisms that are killed by the process of withdrawing seawater. Tiny fish larvae and plankton are killed in process.

Te nature of our existence is such that we cannot eliminate our foot print entirely. very solution to environmental problems seems to create others. Let’s hope that technology will help make desalination one of humanity’s solutions…not problems. Since desalination can produce fresh water where there is none, and water is one of the few items in daily life that has no substitute, I be looking to invest in companies that provide fresh water with minimal impact on the environment.

Once I find such a  company,  will have identified one of many filters we should use when we review value.  We look for shares of companies that have a product or service in a wave of the future…such as desalination.

Then there are still many questions to answer to determine if the share offers a good value or not.  The questions include:

#1: Are the shares traded in a good value market?
#2: Does the share trade at fair Price to Earnings and Price to Cash Flow ratios?
#3: Does the share pay a good value dividend?
#4: Do the shares have a good value relative to their previous price?
#5: Does the company have rising earnings?
#6: Has the share price been rising?
#7: Is the company’s management good.

My feeling is that desalination will grow especially, that which is provided by wind energy, which is often available at the ocean and in semiarid parts of the world.  Shares in companies that answer yes to the questions above  will be interesting places to invest.

Until next message, good global investing to you.

Gary

Learn more about economic safety this November. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan or Thor Anderson of Vistazul 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
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

See the wonderful balconies in the Primavera condos at for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-interior

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

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy the Vistazul swimming pool on Ecuador’s Pacific.

Picture 9

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

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Economic Safety in Troubled Times


Learn about economic safety in Ecuador, the Blue Ridge and North Dakota.

These troubled economic times create wonderful, investment opportunity. The corrections in the stock market and depressed real estate prices combined with global inflationary pressures are developing a lush field of investing values.

Yet investors looking for economic safety need to exercise care in how they harvest this financial crop.

Troubled times create distortions. Distortions create problems. Problems create opportunity. Opportunity creates economic safety and financial profit, if you look carefully for value and make sure your liquidity remains safe during the search.

This is one reason why Merri and I love Ecuador. The people are peace loving. The people are independant. Ecuador’s population have a history of caring for themselves. They know how to farm. The food supply is abundant. Ecuador is oil rich. Ecuadorians do not have the expectation that the government should supply their every want, need and desire. There is less likely to be violent civil unrest in troubled times.

Here in the Blue Ridge there is also a history and connection to independence. Heating and food is plentiful. People know how to survive tough times.

One great pleasure in our International Investment and Business Courses are the people we meet and friends made. People always enjoy each other. Merri and I do as well. Some delegates have been coming to our courses for decades, so we were delighted at our course last weekend when one delegate and good friend from North Dakota who has attended many times over the past 20 years was with us.

He told me a some things about North Dakota that started me quickly searching.

First, the Bank of North Dakota, located in Bismarck, ND, is the only state-owned bank in the nation. The bank has over $160 million in capital and is in partnership with over 100 other North Dakota financial institutions. More important because the bank is owned by the state, it has a credit rating of AA.

The main deposit base of the bank is the state itself. Sate law requires all state funds and funds of state institutions to be deposited there. However deposits are accepted from any source, including private citizens.

The bank is not a member of the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation. The State of North Dakota guarantees all deposits regardless of amount (over $100,0000) in the bank. So this is quite a safe place to hold liquid funds.

Do not expect free irons, dinner plates or special incentives to open accounts. Though individuals can open accounts at the bank, this is not the main business so it offers fewer retail services than most commercial banks. The bank only has one office and does not try to compete in consumer banking.

So, how good is the guarantee of the State of North Dakota?

According to an October 7 2008 article at KXMCTV in Minot, North Dakota, the
state has a pile of money. North Dakota is one of the few states with a budget surplus, estimated at a billion dollars.

The state also has some good economic fundamentals. First it is rich in agriculture, beef cattle, milk, hogs and honey producers rank North Dakota among the leading producers.

Wheat is the leading farm product in North Dakota, ranking second in production only behind Kansas. North Dakota grows more durum wheat (used for pasta) than any other state.

North Dakota also leads all other states in the production of barley and sunflower seeds and is a leader in the production of flaxseed (linseed oil).

North Dakota is among the leading states in the production of canola seed, honey, navy beans, oats, pinto beans, rye, soybeans and sugar beets.

Hay is important, grown for livestock feed.

That bodes well for the state in inflationary times…but there is more…energy.

Just beneath its surface North Dakota has a 1,000-year supply of coal. The third largest gasification plant in the world is here. This is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States. North Dakota power plants have 4.5 gigawatts of electric generating capacity and are some of the most efficient and reliable in the nation. Energy, real estate costs and taxes are some of the lowest in the country.

Then there is oil. North Dakota has a lot of it. Brigham Exploration Company alone says discoveries suggest 42 million to 71 million barrels of oil.

Brigham shares sell on Nasdaq under the code BEXP.

North Dakota could become one of America’s leaders in energy production. The state has near limitless supply of coal, incredible potential for wind, ethanol and biodiesel production, and increasingly productive oil fields.

Congress has extended several renewable energy tax credits for wind and biodiesel projects, small ethanol and biodiesel producers that will help North Dakota’s economy.

North Dakota is the sixth-largest energy producing and exporting state and has more potential for renewable energy growth.

According to North Dakota’s Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Program, “North Dakota has the potential to supply 36% of the electricity of the lower 48 states through its wind supply alone.” Wind development in North Dakota is taking off, over the past year throughout the state.

North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad recently met with T. Boone Pickens as he has developed a New Energy Reform Act, which includes some of Picken’s ideas. The Pickens plan aims to reduce dependence on oil by increasing the amount of clean energy like wind power and solar power.

An ABC news article entitled, “The Backyard Economy: North Dakota
A Look at the Peace Garden State’s Economic Issues” by Christine Byun says:

“Surging commodity prices and a weaker dollar have enhanced North Dakota’s economic strength, leading to stronger growth and continued investment throughout the state.

‘The chances of a state recession are incredibly low,’ said David Flynn, an economist at the University of North Dakota. ‘The most likely scenario would be for North Dakota to continue to grow.’ State Fiscal Management Director Sheila Peterson said state revenues are 13 percent ahead of forecasts, which she partially attributes to ‘solid growth’ in the tourism, energy and agriculture sectors. The state’s bountiful crops play a big part of its exports; agricultural products pulled about $170 million into North Dakota in 2006. Last year, the state’s fertile farmlands produced the most wheat and barley in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota is not solely dependent on agriculture. It also exports machinery and crude oil products. The energy industry — both oil and alternative sources — is expanding, according to state labor market analyst Kevin Iverson. The natural resources and mining sector added 4,000 jobs to their payrolls since last March.

“Oil is an absolutely booming industry in the state,” Iverson said, noting that the western portion of the state has benefited as companies direct their attention to the Bakken rock formation as a potential oil reservoir.

“The dollar’s declining value to foreign currencies has is also spurring economic activity in North Dakota. While the state sells almost half its exports to Canada, savvy shoppers from north of the border are crossing in to Grand Forks and Minot to take advantage of what are essentially reduced prices for them and in the process, driving up retail trade.

“A potential weak spot for North Dakota is the state’s lower than average unemployment rate. Economists worry with fewer people looking for work, companies interested in doing business in North Dakota could potentially bypass the state because of the tight labor market and lack of available workers.”

Bank of North Dakota’s website is www.banknd.com

There you have it…places that may be safer than most…places that may offer more opportunity and economic safety in troubled times.

Gary

Learn more about economic safety this November.  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
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

See the wonderful balconies in the Primavera condos at for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-interior

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

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy the Vistazul swimming pool on Ecuador’s Pacific.

Picture 9

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

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Vilcabamba Ecuador Real Estate


Merri and I first visited Vilcabamba, Ecuador while looking for business and investing opportunities in Ecuador.

This tiny South American country contains such diversity that its Pacific coast to Andean peaks terrain has the same bio-diversity as all the territory ranging from the equator to the Arctic Circle. This and its equatorial location also means it is the closest source to North America of maximum daily direct sunlight.

Vilcabamba has been attracting many residents since we visited. They are moving to communities like CLUB HACIENDA EL ATILLO, RESORT & SPA.

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Vilcabamba has great beauty. This is a view from the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba.

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This photo was taken from the LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge which has three apartments that can be rented (two to four people) on a daily or monthly basis.

Here is a house in the community.

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and plaza.

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Merri and I visited Vilcabamba over a decade ago because during our initial research the Ecuadorian consul told of Vilcabamba’s great beauty and he explained that the residents had great longevity.

After our first two journeys to Ecuador, I became increasingly fascinated with the fact that some of the valleys including Vilcabamba have special qualities, which enhance longevity. Residents in these valleys had a history of reaching extreme ages.

Imagine sitting round this pool in your back yard as you view the mountains of Vilcabamba Ecuador.

vilcabamba-ecuador-pool

Further research brought me to an article written in the January 1973 National Geographic entitled, “Every Day Over 100 is a Gift” written by Dr. Alexander Leaf. This article was written about the three valleys-one in Georgia (then USSR), one in Pakistan (Hunza) and the valley of Vilcabamba, where 1,080 people per 100,000 lived on average to be 100. The article compared this to three per 100,000 in the United States. More important those who reached a ripe age (even over 100) remained vital, sexually active, still work and participate regularly in the community.

This National Geographic article shows pictures of some of the world’s oldest people. For example, a picture featured one of Vilcabamba’s patriarchs, Miguel Carpio, getting a haircut. Carpio was aged 123 and Said, “I would not like to be young again, but if I could take 15 years from my age (be 108 again)- wonderful!” Another picture showed Hermelinda Leon, aged 94, who labors at the Vilcabamba bakery. The cover picture was a trim Jose Roa who at 87 years slogs daily through Ecuadorian ooze to make adobe.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy healthy exercise at the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba.

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Tennis courts at LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge.

These valleys offered not only ideal living conditions, but also special waters acclaimed in many global scientific journals.

This greatly peaked our curiosity and we started looking for ways to visit this valley. We found one reason these people lived so long was because they were isolated from the rest of society. Everyone in Ecuador knew of Vilcabamba but few knew how to get there.

Finally we drove the spine of the Andes and visited this special place and enjoyed its exquisite beauty. Due to its remoteness we never returned, but times have changed and I know that many readers now visit their and love it. You can see why in the pictures below…the wonderful views…the amazing landscapes like this at LA MOLIENDA DE EL ATILLO lodge.

vilcabamba-ecuador-landscaping

Because of this, when Manuel Vivanco Riofrio asked me to place an advertisement for the Club Hacienda El Atillo gated community in Vilcabamba, after just a little checking, I agreed to do so.

Here is what Manuel originally wrote about Vilcabamba.

“I am the developer of a project in Vilcabamba Loja Ecuador Which we feel is an excellent place for those who wish to enjoy the magic of this valley but also wish convenience. Our project is only two blocks from the center of the village.

We have great experience in this area as our family has owned the farm “EL ATILLO” for 200 years. We now wish to share this experience with those who wish to live in our longevity valley. We offer land parcels, houses and suites. we have developed 36 lots and 25 have been sold, ten to Americans, four Europeans and eleven to Ecuadorians.

Club Hacienda El Atillo is in an advanced state of construction, Our condominiums are almost finished, our club area is 65% complete and we feel that the project is very special.”

Here are some more photos taken at Club Hacienda El Atillo in Vilcabamba Ecuador.

Wonderful flowers.

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Great landscaping.

vilcabamba-ecuador-views

Scenic views.

vilcabamba-ecuador-back-yard

CLUB HACIENDA EL ATILLO, RESORT & SPA has 24/7 Security, Swimming Pool, Tennis Court, Library, Restaurant, Bar, Chapel, Spa., Gym, Equestrian Club, Gallery, Gardens, Cascades, Walking paths, sidewalks and Roadways,club house, Plaza, 360 degree panoramic and breath taking view of the Valley and more.

You can get more information, prices, a full brochure and site plan of Club Hacienda El Atillo Resort & Spa in Vilcabamba Ecuador from Manuel Coriofrio by email  at elatilloclubhacienda@hotmail.com or manuelvivancoriofrio@hotmail.com

Or call his mobile phones at: 092.772546 or 099.444495

Until next message, may every nook and valley of yours have such beauty as well.

Gary

Learn more about Vilcabamba and Ecuador this November. 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 kitchens like this.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo kitchen

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-beach-condo-sunset 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

We can also arrange Ecuador real estate guided tours to Vilcabamba.

vilcabamba-ecuador-mountains

Enjoy Vilcabamba Ecuador.

vilcabamba-ecuador-rainbow

Here is the brochure for Club Hacienda El Atillo Resrot & Spa

vilcabamba-Brochure

and site plan

vilcabamba-blueprints

You can get full size brochures and site plans emailed by emailing Manuel Coriofrio at elatilloclubhacienda@hotmail.com or manuelvivancoriofrio@hotmail.com

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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