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Today's quote:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Cocomo is where to go when you see the curtains start to move"

Robert (70) celebrating the 13th anniversary of taking care of business
(his words, not mine - click here)


Ever since I met real estate salesman extraordinaire Robert Bryce in Tonga in 2006 I have kept an eye on Tongan real estate which is subject to its own laws, or rather, no laws. Read more about it here.

Let me get one thing straight: I have never bought anything from Robert but I like the guy. I mean, anybody who's been around for as long as the Beach Boys and writes prose like this and even invokes the world's greatest maritime disaster to sell his wares must be dedicated.

In his own way, Robert is a dreamer which eminently qualifies him to sell his even less-than-Potemkin Cocomo Village dream to other dreamers such as Charlette and Barry from Manitoba in Canada, and Nicolas and Candice from Wyoming, USA, who want to spend their winters in shorts and T-shirt. Shareholders come from all over the world: USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Holland, Vietnam, Slovenia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden - see here and follow the instructions; to view the number of shares held by each shareholder, click here or here.

(Please note that these company registry extracts are not up-to-date but perhaps as much as one or two years old. As a German-born Australian, I also note with pride that only a handful of dreamers from my country of birth and my adopted country have fallen for this Potemkin Village. The majority 'investors' are USA citizens which proves that an American fool and his money are soon parted ☺)

Anyway, quite a United Nations - IF they ever get together! At the moment, after the project has been in existence for almost six years, there is still nothing, absolutely nothing, and nobody lives there, although it is said that Philippe Sunnen (from Luxembourg) and Betsy Anh Stringham (from the U.K.) and their nine-month-old daughter are building an earthbag house.

I found their photos on this webpage (since removed; all I could find was an archived copy here which must be the same Cocomo Village Management Ltd that looks after the project - or rather, did, because, according to Nico Neubauer's blog of 19th March 2016, Betsy and Philippe and their little baby in January 2016 moved to Uruguay to try their luck there. They didn't even last twelve months!)

Strangely, I didn't find Philippe Sunnen's name among the shareholders, nor the names of the two most ardent promoters, Robert Bryce and John Geering Snook, which reminds me of my mother's warning, 'Never trust a skinny chef' ☺).

(Correction: Both Robert Bryce and John Geering Snook had a thousand shares each issued to them for the nominal total price of US$1 in January 2011 - see here - , presumably for 'services rendered'. However, their names are not shown on the share register. Anyway, Robert Bryce is unlikely to return from his present-day domicile Fiji to take up residence in Cocomo Village, while John Geering Snook is a rapidly approaching octogenarian who'd be tempting fate to try to climb to the top of the island.)

(Ooops! Correction to the correction: Both Robert Bryce and John Geering Snook sold their thousand shares each in March and May 2011 for US$4,950 and US$5,000 respectively - see here. Just goes to show, they, too, have to live and can't eat a view however high off the cliffs ☺)

But coming back to dreams, there's nothing wrong with them (they're better than nightmares ☺). I dreamt my own when I bought a block of land on tropical Magnetic Island off Australia's Queensland coast in 1979. Dreaming of one day building a house and living there kept me going while I kept going through dozens of jobs in fifteen different countries.

I eventually sold the land twenty-five years later, with the house still unbuilt but with a tidy profit (an investment should at least double in value every ten years; if it doesn't, call it anything you like but not an investment), because I was lucky enough to discover, before I had succumbed to relentless mosquito bites, cyclonic winds, heat rashes, intellectual and dietary privations, and sheer bone-breaking hard work, that I no longer needed the dream.

US$5,970 up front and a monthly US$35 (paid in perpetuity or until you go insane and throw yourself off the clifftop or return to your native homeland, whichever comes sooner) is small money to keep your dreams alive in order to keep yourself alive during the cold Northern winters, so go ahead and dream your dreams. Just don't expect them to come true!


P.S. No tour-guide exists yet of Cocomo Village because Cocomo Village doesn't exist (not yet; and perhaps it never will) or of Hunga Island which is so remote it may as well not exist. The nearest to a "tour-guide" would be the story of "Charles I, Emperor of Oceania" in James Michener's book "Rascals in Paradise". Ignore it at your peril! ☺

P.P.S. For the latest update on Cocomo Village, click here.

P.P.P.S. Looks like good ol' Robert Bryce is running out of steam on Cocomo and has started up another dream scheme, this time nearer to his new hide-out in Fiji: see www.landbuddy.com and www.gonativefiji.com.