The dreadlocked young American in the Quito guesthouse leaned into her chair, cradling a mate de coca. “How many times you been robbed?”
I looked at her.
“Everyone I ask says they have,” she said, “so I stopped asking ‘If’.” She took a sip.
“So, how many times?”
“Three,” I said. “Bolivia twice, Ecuador once. My camera at the bus station in La Paz. My wallet in the market in Potosi. My watch on the bus to Guayaquil. Sitting in my seat, arm in the open window. Thief had to jump three feet.”
She smiled and took another sip. “Everyone.”
Mark is a traveller and writer and a marathon runner. He loves wine with a good mouth-feel, films that make him laugh, and a good rack of BBQ ribs (which begs the question; is there such a thing as a bad rack of BBQ ribs?). His first book, the travel memoir Crescent Moon Over Laos, was published in 2014. His other writing includes smaller travel pieces and of the commonalities and influences that shape and inform our individual and collective lives. A college instructor by training, Mark has lived and taught in both Nagoya and Kyoto, Japan, the Emirate of Sharjah in the UAE, and both Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. At 59, he finally took the plunge and married his long-term partner. He lives, with increasing contentedness, in Richmond, British Columbia, with his new wife and their two cats, and when he isn't running or writing or drinking wine, tends the grape vines in their garden and marvels at what sun and water and time can create.