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Sabbath day observance has become more and more important to me as I’ve gotten older. I’ve noticed that if I have a “hectic” Sunday, it changes the feel of the following week. I really like taking the time to slow down and go to church and worship. We’ve done a great job at maintaining our Sabbaths while in Ecuador, with the exception of the one weekend we were in Salinas with our friends. The most recent Sunday we spent in Salinas, Maeve got to take a solid afternoon nap (a rarity these days! Maeve is so patient with us!) and then we went to La Loberia and walked on the beach. Holly and Greta and Maeve all love the water and let me tell you, Maeve was angry that we were not taking her right in. While we enjoyed being at the beach, we left with a screaming mad and sandy baby! 

Our last couple of days in Salinas were great! They were Conor’s last work days too and we are all so happy to now have Conor on vacation time. Salinas has great beaches, in my opinion. We could’ve snacked there all day! The town itself is a real hodge podge. Some really nice buildings, some incredibly run down buildings. I think maybe I should’ve taken some photos of the town itself, but I think I’m just used to seeing the half built buildings now and I don’t think much of it. All that being said, we really enjoyed our time at the beach. Conor would take a long lunch and then work at night after we put the girls to bed and it actually worked really well. I’m proud of us for being flexible (even if I resist it like crazy!) and making the best of it. I can’t really complain because I am spending a chunk of time on the coastline of Ecuador. It’s pretty fantastic! One of our beach days, Holly and Greta made some friends and had the best time playing with them. It’s so cute to see the girls use their limited Spanish. 

April is kind of the end of the warm season here, so it feels as though Salinas and Puerto Lopez are a little sleepy. Salinas was definitely much busier when we were there in March. The water was cooler our last couple of days in Puerto Lopez too. I think this has been a great time to visit the coast. It’s not as hot (but still really hot!) and less busy. One thing about Salinas (and Puerto Lopez too), lots of restaurants are closed 2:30-6:30pm. It’s the coast life. 

We feel a little iffy about bringing electronics to the beach. Guayaquil and the coast get a bad rep from the rest of Ecuador. According to many, all the bad people live on the coast. Which I just don't believe is entirely true. A new big prison was built in Cuenca and someone told us that it houses all the criminals from Guayaquil. That being said, when in Guayaquil stopped at a light, a boy offered to wash our windshield. We said, no thank you and he continued to linger at my open window peering into the car. I really got the feeling that if there was something valuable within his reach, he would've stolen it. I can't know for sure because there wasn't anything of value within reach, but that's the vibe I got. Also gotta add, we never drove a car in Cuenca or Quito so... the experiences aren't equal. When we were in Quito, we were told that the Mountain people in Cuenca whisper behind each other's backs. There's a lot of regional prejudice here, very similar to the way it is between the east and west in Canada and places in the USA. So Ecuador is just a normal country. 

We brought our camera to the beach and I felt no risk of it being stolen. We did clip the backpack to the chairs and umbrella. 

I love the beach! There are so many vendors selling all sorts of things! We bought empanadas, green mangos with lime juice and salt and sweet plantain chips topped with a drizzle of mayo and cheese. Sounds totally weird and gross but it was out of this world delicious! Would eat again! 

All three of my girls love the ocean. They could swim all day. Things I wish I brought (in our carry-on luggage!) include sun shirts and a wrist to ankle swimsuit for Maeve. Greta got a little too much sun yesterday. I myself spend a lot of time under the umbrella because the sunshine here is strong! 

It's a little tricky to balance out Conor still working a few more days while we are here, but I just have to hang in there until Wednesday and then he's on vacation. And let's be honest, I'm on the coast in Ecuador. There's challenges, but it's also amazing! 

Maeve is learning to smile for the camera! And she discovered that the only thing better than swimming in the ocean is swimming in the ocean naked! I rinsed the sand off of her and she screamed and wailed when I took her out to a towel and a diaper. Baby girl is definitely my daughter! 

We are in Salinas now. I felt a lot of sadness leaving Cuenca, and a lot of gratitude that we could spend 7 and a half weeks in such an amazing place and make some really great friends! Salinas is a small beach town. This year is a very dry year - it's only rained 3 times so says a local. Which is great because that means there aren't so many mosquitoes. The town is a little sleepy. April and May are the tail-end of the hot season and it's definitely a little cooler than when we were here in March which is totally fine with me! The temperature is still great for hanging out at the beach! We went to a little french restaurant one night for dinner and it was really good, really fresh. We were the only ones eating there and, with kids that's rather freeing. Maeve wants to hold both my hands and walk around all the time and what else can I do other than indulge her? We all know she's the boss. She also really needs to learn how to walk soon! So I gotta support her in that. Bonus, Maeve sat in her high chair for a little bit! Anyways, it was a fun night. 

Another day at the beach! Everyone rents big umbrellas at the beach, which was a relief because the sun is strong and hot! Another thing about the beach is there are constantly people walking along the beach selling all sorts of goods - plantain chips, ice cream, beer, hair braiding, water, a hot meal, empanadas... the list goes on! When we go back, I totally want to fulfill my childhood dream of getting my hair braided on the beach in Mexico like so many of my friends, but through Holly and Greta. They may hate it. We didn't buy much from the walking vendors, but I did buy sliced green mango with salt and lime juice and that was so good, so refreshing! The only thing that would've made it better was if it was cold. Definitely buying that again when I get the chance!

Holly and Greta loved playing in the water, in the sand, and looking for shells (lots and lots of shells!). Maeve was very, very happy in the water and playing on the beach. On this day, she fell asleep almost immediately once I put her in the ergo to go! 

I'm excited to return to the beach and a little nervous too about logistics. Conor will still be working for a week and a half at the beach (didn't take that sabbatical after all, saving it for later). I'm not sure how I'll protect our belongings from being stolen, and swim in the water with my children, and have money to buy green mangoes, and have keys to return to our apartment. Never mind taking photos. It may be time to buy a fanny pack that can come in the ocean with me! Or we may have Conor do an alternate work schedule where he comes with us to the beach for a little while during the day. Our white skin can handle only so much of the Ecuadorian sun anyways. We will figure it out, I hope!

And just to tug at the heart strings, here's Greta in the same swimming suit Maeve is wearing at a pool in California and at Bonavista Lake in Calgary! 

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