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I took this picture (and three thousand nearly identical others) sitting on the edge of a warm concrete sidewalk at the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Every evening, a few people from the hostel gathered and walked the couple blocks to watch the sunset. On the walk down, we stopped at the Oxxo convenience store, lingering a few minutes in the rare air conditioning. I bought a caguama (which is basically a forty) of Pacifico, my favorite Mexican beer, brewed a few hours north in Mazatlan. Stepping out of the cool dry air of the store into the evening heat, I felt the salty humidity of the ocean and smelled steaming spices from a little food cart on the corner mixed with ripe garbage bins waiting to be picked up the next morning.

I knew Alaska summer salmon work was just around the river bend and that life would be hectic as soon as I flew home. On the curb at the beach, condensation from my ice-cold bottle of beer crusted with sand every time I set it back down. I watched the waves roll in and felt content.

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