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Cotacachi Cultural Events

Ecuador culture  is one thing we love about Cotacachi Ecuador also has things happen that North American minds can never imagine. Take this musical dance treat that our Ecuador import courses delegates just enjoyed.

Cotacachi has two cultural centers… one is here upstairs over the local super market (take that word lightly). Mt. Cotacachi is in the background.


Crowds gather here and head upstairs on the metal staircase.


Here we are heading in.


This is a great theater… good acoustics…  nice…


background… nice…


features and …


This day’s event featured three four groups… the first singers from Mexico.   They …


had a great sound… guitar, cherango… pan pipe… flute… drums and it moved.

Then came another…


Mexican feature… a dancer in Aztec fare.  Next…


Venezuelans… six of them in traditional dance.  Finally… the …


Peruvians who stole the show.  An old man with a fiddle wow… sounding like a Chinese opera as he worked a harmony with this very large stringed instrument, the Arpa (harp)

The singer dancer was a hoot. That is all I can say… a sing song high pitched sound that puts Kate Bush to shame called the Harawi.  This is a musical style  filled with sadness and longing, perhaps the oldest musical style in Peru that dates back to a form of poetry recited in the Inca era. The tinny music is interrupted by frequent periods of silence that bring a dramatic feel without much rhythm not generally danced.


This music is weird in quite a wonderful way. Certainly its an insight to a different culture and then…


two more dancers join her… for…


The Scissors Dance.  This is an exhibition of physical prowess, a complex ritual  shrouded in mystery and put their dexterity to the test with a series of leaps accompanied by a harp and violin. The ritual stunts they perform are accompanied by the scissors, made up of two sheets of metal which together form the shape of round edged scissors.  This is usually performed in Lima, Ayacucho, Apurimac, Arequipa, the Ica highlands and Huancavelica… but we enjoyed it here in Cotacachi.

The scissors dance seems direct from the Cossacks… but like the Chinese opera sound above they were all from Peru… but were with us in Cotacachi.


This performance left little doubt about an ancient Asia Peruvian connection. Then they brought the audience on stage and had them running round the theater, an odd, fun filled conga line.


This was just one of the great cultural events we have enjoyed in Cotacachi. See more pictures of this performance here.

Another exclamation point in our Cotacachi cultural lives took place when Dr. Ramiro Ruiz, former Mayor of Cotacachi and director of the Cotacachi Cultural Museum that sits next door to our hotel had sent an invitation to a little concert at the San Francisco Temple, the second, smaller Cathedral in the village.

Wow, we thought. What’s going on? This was the second invitation we had received for the upcoming Saturday. We are not socialites and we normally do not attend events (too much work here and these pesky messages I love to send every day).   We had to make this concert.

So we accepted and wondered how the evening concert would be.

Seminar delegates were , so we asked if they could come along and 18 gringos in hand, we headed across the village early to enjoy the evening Mass at the temple.

Here is a picture of the temple.

Merri and I are not officially Catholic, but we take any opportunity to worship God we can get. To us Worship is Worship and we suspect that God does not pay too much attention to whether prayers in Spanish, Latin, English, Italian, Chinese, Quichua or whatever. Nor, I suspect, is the Infinite very caught up in minutia of Worship. So we enjoyed the celebration, ritual, singing and chants in this small temple which is about 100 feet wide and 300 feet long.

All the time I was wondering what type of concert this would be; a local group perhaps, a children’s affair…maybe a good string quartet. I was hoping for this last option. Merri and I love good classical music and have heard some of the best in the world.

Our offices at one time, when we lived in London, were on Wigmore Street right next door to Wigmore Hall which was the national concert hall for chamber music and song. There were regular performances of song recitals, chamber, piano, early music and jazz concerts. Then it had been easy to pop in and hear a grand pianist, flutist or other famous artist. The London Philharmonic was also within easy reach easy.

We also had years in Vienna and frequented the Vienna Konzerthaus where there were regular concerts of Mozart, Strauss and performances by the Vienna State Opera. We also often stopped at the Vienna Kursalon which was built in 1865 and served as the Ballroom of Vienna. The Strauss family celebrated their greatest triumphs there and any night one could sip coffee and listen to wonderful live performances.

Then in Naples we enjoyed the Naples Philharmonic which the wealthy Neapolitans used to spend their money, by filling it with only top performers and stars.

These musical opportunities all offered us only the best. Even in my Hong Kong days, my flute instructor was a flutist for the Hong Kong Philharmonic. They were not the best orchestra in the late 60s, but I was allowed to practice in the musician’s practice rooms at the HK philharmonic Hall.

When they performed, I was often there.

Plus we visit Copenhagen every couple years to speak at Jyske Bank’s courses which include performances by the Royal Danish Opera. They perform at all of Jyske’s seminars and Merri and I have spent evenings enjoying dinner with some of their stars before being entertaining grandly.

Music has always been an important part of my life. I began playing the trumpet at 11, switched to the double bass Sousaphone at 13 (metro league honor band performer at 16) and then took up the flute when I began to travel. (Double BB Flat Sousaphones are cumbersome instruments to lug around the world!)

I am certainly no aficionado nor expert but I do enjoy music and from these experiences understand it a bit.

So I was not getting my hopes up here, in Cotacachi, a tiny village of 6,000 people, deep in the Andes in a very small, but acoustically sound, as it turned out, temple.

What could they put on here, really?

At the end of the Mass Service the children outside the temple started with the sky rockets and fireworks. There are no regulations about fire crackers and such in Ecuador so almost anything up to a stick of dynamite (to the distress of our hound dog, Ma) goes. When one hot shot let off an M80 on the temple’s front porch we all jumped and I knew that the marble in the temple helped sound carry!

“Whoever performs tonight,” I thought, “will be heard”.

With Mass over, attendants arrived and began removing pews. I wondered. “What?” Then they began flowing in…the entire Orquesta Sonfonica Nacional del Ecuador…THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY OF ECUADOR, 72 performers, two bassoons, a double bassoon, timpani and all, celebrating their 50th year. They gathered, went through those comforting warm-up rituals and then, just seven pews in front of us, the conductor, Medardo Caisabanda, arrived, turned to face the orchestra, raised his baton and nearly brought the ceiling down!

They began with Obertura Caballeria Ligera and moved into Brahms’ Hungarian Dance #5. Crisp, perfectly timed and when they put their musical peddle to the metal in Forte the effect is hard to describe.

My spine shivered, heart fluttered and tears to the eyes, even now just remembering.

Words can’t say it.

The music grabbed our bodies….and our souls.

Ecuadorian performers are much more physically enthusiastic than their Northern brethren. Unlike the no move, stone faced performances often given by great stars in the US, Canada or Europe, these musicians move, smile, sway. You see, as well as hear. When the orchestra erupted in this tiny hall, you literally felt their enthusiasm.

Later, as our group strolled down the lamp lined streets toward El Meson, the cool, star studded evening was dessert after this exquisitely performed musical meal.

This will be a time always remembered, I suspect for the entire 150 people or so in attendance. The National Symphony of Ecuador was in our lap. And for everyone it was free! This was one of those rare, unexpected peak moments that grabbed us, carried us and it will stick, a wonderful memory.

This was a thrill beyond explanation that I hope sharing will express the joys that can come from visiting our tiny village in Land of the Sun!

Cotacachi cultrual events are tops. There is a circuit.  Quito, Guayaquil, Manta, Loja, Ibarra, Otavalo and Cotacachi… so if you are worried about culture, Cotacachi is a great place to be.


Learn Spanish in Three Days ONLINE

The “Learn Spanish in Three Day Course” is now available online.

Read below to see why we are offering our Super Spanish course online for the first time.

Speaking Spanish is a huge benefit on its own.  You can become one of the rare North Americans who can get along in Spanish speaking countries.  You can be one of the special people who can communicate with 10 million non-English speakers in the USA.  Spanish is the second most used language in the USA.  There are more Spanish speakers than speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined.  According to the Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language of nearly 50 million people in the US.  This is the largest Spanish-speaking community outside of Mexico. Only half of these speakers also speak English “very well,” and 19% do not speak Spanish at all.

You can tap into all this potential when you speak Spanish.  Yet there are more benefits.

An article in England’s leading newspaper, the Telegraph, entitled “Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism” (1) sum up the biggest benefit of learning a second language and increased intelligence.  The article says: “Learning a foreign language is more than just a boost to your CV or handy for traveling.  It will make you smarter, more decisive and even better at English.  Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process.  The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits.”

The article then explains studies that show seven cognitive advantages gained from learning a foreign language.

#1:  You become smarter
#2:  You build multitasking skills
#3:  You stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia
#4:  Your memory improves
#5:  You become more perceptive
#6:  Your decision-making skills improve
#7:  You improve your English

Does it sound impossible to learn Spanish in three days?  Yes, it is impossible when you try to learn Spanish in the old, traditional way.

Though you may choose to take more time using this course to learn Spanish, thousands of our readers have learned at our Spanish courses.

There is a scientific method of learning… proven and described in numerous best selling books that create educational jumps by making education natural, easy and fun.   This course works because it is education without stress!

This method was created and refined by the Bulgarian educational master, Georgi Lozanov, who transformed the entire Soviet educational system to such a degree that this third world country beat the USA into space.

Merri was lucky to be one of a handful of students outside of Bulgaria who were allowed to be taught this system in the early 70s.  She practiced this unique and remarkable form of education for  four decades. It was a delight!

Merri and I began integrating these techniques with other shamanic and educational tactics we had gained in our global travels and then applied them to teach Spanish in three days.

The course has been proven again and again by the thousands who have used this system.  You can read a few of the many raves we have received from delegates who have learned from the Super Thinking Spanish course we created.

Here are a few quotes from delegates of the course.

One delegate from St. Louis wrote:  Hi Gary,  Just ended forty-five years in dentistry last week, and I’m on to a new career.  What is my new career?  Still formulating, but the eye -opening,mind expanding Super-Spanish course last weekend in St. Louis surely shows me the opportunity exists to expand my horizons.

Besides having a lot of nice people to learn our new language; the methods Merri and you developed proved to be just what you said they would be.  We all and I in particular relaxed our way to new learning.  I feel so very comfortable with the basis of my new language skills that I know I will be spitting out great Spanish sentences by the time I reach Ecuador in October.  Last year I spent six weeks in Ecuador and now I plan on conversing with the people.

Today’s excerpt of your newsletter really hit home. You do what you say you will. There are no surprises or hidden sales tricks. The only tricks are beneficial to our learning.  Thank you for a wonderful experience that I was quite unable to grasp how you would pull it off.  You did, however, and I look forward to other courses that you offer, and I have absolutely no doubt they also will work beneficially.  Best regards, Denis Molloy.

Another wrote about the Super Spanish course:   Buenos Dias, here is a testimonial for Super Thinking-Super Spanish.  Please feel free to use all or part in promotions for the course.  In addition, you may give my email address to any prospect “on the fence” about enrolling.  Yesterday, in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I finished Super Spanish.  I had high expectations for the course and they were exceeded.

After three days, I can speak Spanish in complete sentences. In simple conversations, such as buying groceries or ordering a meal, I can make myself understood. I think that’s incredible!

Although I am far from the competence level of a native speaker, I feel I’ve taken a giant step forward in learning Spanish so that I can experience the people and culture of Ecuador.  The foregoing benefits would have more than justified the time and money I invested in Super Spanish.  And learning some Spanish was not the most important benefit I got from the course.

Prior to leaving the USA, I had felt for some time that the pace of life there was unhealthy for me (and for most people) and I did nothing about it.

I’ve thought about the pace issue during the course.  One of the key elements Merri Scott designed into Super Spanish is placing the student in the optimal state for learning.  In class, the past three days, I’ve been re-introduced to guided journeys and introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music (www.sundaybaroque.org).  What a blessing! I’m inclined to make one or both a daily part of my life.   Rob Christi.  Cotacachi, Ecuador

Another attendee from a course wrote:   “I took this incredible class a few weeks ago, and I would like to tell anyone that is interested, that it is an amazing three days of learning with lots of laughs included. You leave everyday wanting to learn more and are so excited to do so.

“Other Spanish classes and tutoring made us feel like it would take forever to get to the point where we could put it into practice, but this method gave us a more fluent use for everyday life almost immediately AND the confidence to use it.  It is a fantastic way to show people how much they know and give confidence to learn and use Spanish creating a momentum.

“They made learning Spanish easy and fun in a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.  I would definitely recommend this course.  Even if you know some Spanish, this helps make it easier because of the less stress that no verb conjugations gives you.  This gives you more confidence in yourself to try and speak it more.

 “The stress free atmosphere and tons of interaction and participation were very conducive to learning.  The relaxation techniques alone are worth the price.  The fact that I can now feel more comfortable conversing in Spanish with my new friends and neighbors is priceless.  Muchas, muchas gracias.”

“I loved the relaxed environment.  I picked up quite a lot of new vocabulary.  I found this course very informative about how the language works, how I can make sentences and understand others better!  Muchas Gracias!  I had a call from Telcel (the local phone company) after our second class and I was able to speak and understand them for the first time. Despacio (meaning slowly) … a great word!  Everyone should take this course before they pick up bad habits.”

“I liked how simply the course was organized and the positive attitude about learning.  Thank you so much for helping me to learn Spanish!”

“I liked the laid back yet professional approach.  I highly recommend this new, relaxing method of learning Spanish,  I feel a lot more confident in the delivery of my words and sentences. It was taught in an excellent and very professional way.

“It was a very enjoyable class.”

How The Course Works

The first tactic is to use Baroque music in the learning process.  At least three best selling books, “Superlearning”, the “Mozart Effect” and “Superlearning 2000” have revealed insights about how to learn and think more powerfully based on systems drawn from the Bulgarian educational master, Dr. Georgi Lozanov.  Merri Scott was among just a few who learned directly from Lozanov.

The second tactic uses 17 unique lessons to provide Spanish fluency in a short time.   Let me prove to you how this tactic works by teaching you hundreds of Spanish words in less than 30 seconds.

Here is the proof.

“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently.  For example action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”

There you have it.  How long did it take you to read the sentence?  You now know hundreds of Spanish words that you will never forget.

See examples of the words you already know below.

How long would have taken you to memorize all those words?  How soon would you have forgotten them?

This is just one of seventeen Spanish lessons in the course.

The next lesson teaches how to pronounce each of the nouns.

Then, the third lesson teaches almost as many verbs, almost as quickly.

The fourth lesson shows how to avoid conjugating verbs by sticking with the infinitive (far easier than it sounds).  This simple lesson leaves a person sounding like a Spanish professor without ever conjugating a verb.

Lesson five shows how to sound infinitely polite and yet get almost anything desired in Spanish.

Lesson six gives valuable connectors and the seventh lesson triples the Spanish capacity with three words for “yesterday,” “now” and “tomorrow”.

By the end of three days you feel comfortable speaking Spanish.

Plus the system is Impro-Dynamic.  This means your Spanish keeps getting better even though you do not seem to be studying… practicing… or speaking Spanish.

I was amazed by this as I traveled back and forth from the USA to Ecuador.  The longer I was away from Ecuador… the better my Spanish became.  My second language was automatically improving The self improving feature comes because you learn to create Spanish sentences rather than remember them.  The portion of the brain that creates is more powerful than the portion that recalls.  When your mind creates something… it owns it!  You do not have to remember .

During the course you learn 4005 Spanish words that you already know .  

You then learn how to create Spanish sentences from these words.

Throughout the course you learn how to pronounce the sentences you create.

When the course ends… the mind keeps working… and creating… so next time you begin to speak Spanish you’ll be surprised .  You improve even though you have not actively worked on your lingual skill.

Due to the difficulty of getting groups together to learn this valuable technique, we created an online program for subscribers to use the Super Spanish course at home.   This is available at the highly reduced price of $79.

I’ll be in touch personally via email with each person who signs up for this course to see how it works or what is required to make it better.  Once this test is complete, we plan to offer the program on a larger scale and at a much higher price.

The ONLINE course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee.  Try Super Spanish for 60 days.  If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund.

Learn Spanish online $79

Here are more testimonials from previous Super Spanish Courses.

Maggie wrote: It didn’t really seem possible that we would be speaking and understanding Spanish in only 3 days but the course made it happen in a very supportive learning environment.  I would highly recommend this course for anyone wishing to learn “practical Spanish”.  The teaching methods, use of relaxation, the use of native Spanish speakers for pronunciation and the teachers themselves who were approachable and helpful and always positive made this a very valuable class.

This course improved my self confidence in my ability to learn and retain a language.  It was presented with genuine enthusiasm, great energy and the style of learning is very effective. Gracias!  It was a great experience.

Nadine wrote: “Just spent the last 3 days in the most wonderful learning environment learning Spanish.  What an amazing learning experience!!  First day out of class and I could not stop thinking in Spanish WOW!!  I am amazed by how much I learned, retained and how much more is showing up now that I am out of class.  And the best part is THERE WAS NO STUDYING!! Indeed this is Super Thinking!!!  I would highly recommend this to anyone that has ever had a desire to learn another language or learn anything in record time.

And a few days after that ….  As I went through my day, just hanging out with my son, I could see myself starting to think in Spanish.  At first I thought it was amusing but as it continued and increased I thought “My goodness this is really remarkable amazing” It was really an effortless unfolding.  I wasn’t at any point “trying” to think in Spanish, just words I knew would fly across the screen in my mind.  And then this afternoon, my son cuddled up on the couch to watch some cartoons on his ipad and was watching Peppa Pig in Spanish…hmm coincidence?  I think not, I’m radiating Spanish so much that my son is being influenced!  Thanks a million again.  This weekend the best learning experience of my life!!

If you have ever had a desire to learn Spanish this is the way to do it!  By the end of the first day I had more confidence and more practical ability than I had from any previous courses I had taken.  It was fun and relaxed and full of laughter.  You will leave this class excited to use what you have learned.  Rather than leaving overwhelmed with how much you have yet to learn and master, you are equipped with the knowledge and know how to go out and communicate as well as the excitement to do it!”

Gary noted:  “The whole approach is positive and conducive to learning at a level that benefits ALL participants.  It is not intimidating and does not set up a pass/fail atmosphere.  The presenters are terrific and the results unbelievable.  It was relaxed, informal, friendly and effective.”

Twila said:  “This class provided a very refreshing and relaxed way of learning.  The atmosphere felt very safe to say the words you were practicing.  I learned a lot in a way that will make it easy to apply.  Starting with conversation is way more fun.  How quickly you can learn!  It was a great group, great instructors and great stories.

The atmosphere in the classroom was so relaxed that learning Spanish felt like a breeze and not like a painful task.  The relaxation exercises are really conducive to language learning.  We learned A LOT in a short time and it was fun and the environment was non-threatening.”

Brigitte sent this:  “Buenos Dias, Suzanne. su clase de espanol es excelente! Muchas Gracias!  
I have already done what you suggested and went into the program listening to the music and going over the lessons.  I know: Repetition……reinforcement…..thinking in the new language….it’s all part of it.  I loved your course and will certainly recommend it to friends.  Who knows….I might feel the urge and have the opportunity to repeat it at your beautiful place in Puerto Aventuras…..Quien sabe? Hasta otro dia y saludos a su familia.”

Marie wrote:  “I would highly recommend this course.  The amount covered in 3 days is amazing!  All with no stress.  The correlation lessons and pronunciation practice has greatly reduced my anxiety to go out and use my Spanish.  I really enjoyed the whole process and thank you for the take away tools.”

Learn Spanish online $79


Here is the English translation of a few of the many Spanish words you now know and will never forget.  How long would it have taken you to memorize them?  How soon would you forget?

“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently.  For example, action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”

Some more of these words:  Combination, Attrition, Education, Vacation, Petition, Lotion, Motion, Construction, Abduction, Pronunciation, Concentration and a ton of others!

Learn Spanish online $79

(1) www.telegraph.co.uk Benefits-of-bilingualism.html