Ahhh… sweet reality is starting to kick in. We — and by we, I mean me and the girls — are at each other’s throats like a pack of hyenas turning on each other. Piper is experiencing the discomfort of having her “stuff” become dirty, smelly and otherwise worn in. We’ve also had a casualty so far — her Flip Fest night-time t-shirt has gone completely AWOL. But oh well! No big deal, right? Possibly a VERY big deal when your 13 year-old brain says it is. She worries deeply we won’t ever go and launder our clothes, and meanwhile still has a full 4 days worth of stuff she could put on! I admit I was a total crank-pot to my little gong show today, lacking patience and even more so, tolerance. My stomach has been bothering me and that possibly put a damper on my mood! Just wanted y’all to know we aren’t merely singing kumbaya over here lol.

Despite all that, today was — quite possibly — the most incredible day ever. Alvi and I were up at the crack of down to the  distant sounds of dogs barking and roosters crowing… we all seemed to sleep pretty well at Hotel La Ruta Sol. This place at $60/night includes a massive breakfast: freshly squeezed passionfruit juice, baked croissants with jam, scrambled eggs, cut up bananas and pineapple with coffee. Joaquin had found us another option to consider, too, a bit more “known” for families and tourists but at $90/night but we opted for the cheaper place, and, our room overlooks the beach. It’s a basic room but what more do we need?

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Sleeping beauties.

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Highly recommend this place.

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Not sure if they were heading to school or here on a field trip?

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Waiting for the boat tour to begin.

Especially when all you can think about is WHALE WATCHING! Puerto Lopez is quite well known for the migration of humpback whales in the area and this was at the top of our list to do today. For $35/person, we would experience the absolute best bang for a buck I could ever even imagine. The pictures will do the experience far more justice than I can writing about it…

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A gorgeous humpback whale breeched!

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You can see he/she has some fishing net attached. 🙁

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Pre-whale siting and enjoying the boat ride.

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My little Saffy. All covered up to protect herself from the 35+ degree weather.

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A blue-footed Boobie on Isla de la Plata.

Following the great whale expedition, we were on the hunt for some food and headed to the main beach just steps from our hotel. We’ve been eating a LOT of fresh seafood here, especially shrimp. Oh and rice… lots of this. And plantains, fried — which are surprisingly good! The girls chilled on the beach while we planned our next adventure.

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Finding all these neato little sea snails.

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A moment of shared enthusiasm over the sea snails or whatever they are!

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Kids being kids, melts my heart.

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I swear she’s going to be a scientist one day.

Turns out we didn’t have to think too hard about “what’s next”. As luck would have it, this sleepy fishing village was about to explode with colour, people, parties, tents, kids, and a random parade of Policia Ecuador officers showing some mad skills on motorcycles. I guess Puerto Lopez is hosting a sort of Festival to kick-off whale-watching season and bring together all the nearby villages and towns in solidarity since the earthquake. It’s pretty fantastic, if you ask me! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this below — not a great capture but you get the gist. Oh, and Alvi wants everyone to know he was finally able to see his favourite band again, The Police (GROAN!!!).

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So random. They are all on one bike!

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The Police (band) lol.

Following this super random run-in with the parade, we were invited to join the police officers as they posed for a photo. It went on their twitter feed which has 675K followers lol!!!

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This is the image they tweeted. You may not be able to tell who we are. We kind of blend right in.

And so the day came to a close, but not before both girls decided they wanted to adopt all the stray dogs we have encountered. One sweetheart in particular took a liking to Piper and honestly, if we could take her home, we would (Miss you, Leica!!!).