On the eleventh floor, the wind moans.  It is a deep, full sound that waxes and wanes.  You can imagine yourself high in the rigging of a sailing ship that rocks with the waves.  I watch the glowing ember of a cigarette float from a nearby balcony, sailing over the beach and fading away when it reaches open water.   It is quiet, and past midnight as the transit police truck passes the Barcelo Casino flashing red and blue lights.  It slowly proceeds down the one way street and turns back on a never-ending circuit.  Besides the occasional taxi, there is no other traffic on the fresh asphalt that crisscrosses town.  My wife and children sleep soundly inside the apartment.  Besides the man in the lobby, and a few other night owls, the city of Salinas is dreaming.  I can see down the boardwalk to the West, all the way to the white sands of Chipipe, and further still, the hilltop lit with cell towers.  Beyond the hill, there is the Pacific, the lights of ships in the distance, and the ghosts of their companions, lost to the sea.  Salinas is not the best beach town in Ecuador, and it verges on madness during holidays, but if you can catch it when the crowds thin and the streets are empty, it seems like heaven...(excerpt)