Voting for the 2016 Travel Highlights Competition will start later today. In the meantime I hope you enjoy Mark Boyter's entries as much as I have.
The Eagles Club, Oceanshores, Washington. Paint stick lotto Monday. My first visit.
“Gotta get there early,” Jewel says. “Everybody goes.”
I pay Marge my dollar and pull number 23. Jewel pays and pulls 77.
“We got 5 left,” Willie shouts. “Can we sellout?” and Marge lifts the sticks high to show. Hands shoot up, Marge sells the last stick “Ok!” and Willie shouts “Here we go.”
He spins the wheel and it clacks to a stop at “Number 57.”
John waves his stick, makes his way forward, tips his cowboy hat and chooses the Tequila.
“Ok,” Willie shouts. “Round two.”
Sunday. I’ve been hitch-hiking for 4 days. 730 miles. Tenting. Tonight is Lethbridge. Southern Alberta. Bible belt Canada. A red Corolla stops. “I’m Leela,” she says. My age. Pretty. “Hop in.” I can pitch my tent in her parents’ backyard, she says. First, she’s heading to evening service. Pentecostal. “You wanna come? It’s at the Ramada Inn.” At coffee she introduces me to Mel, late 50s and full of vibrating voices. “Come with me,” and he walks to the front desk. He pulls out his credit card. “Get this fellow a room,” he says. “With a shower,” and he winks.
Mark is a traveller who writes, a writer who runs, a runner who drinks, and a drinker who loves movies. On rare occasions, he is all five.
From Vancouver, Canada and a teacher by training, he's lived and taught in his native Canada, Japan and the UAE.
His first book, Crescent Moon Over Laos, was published in 2014. He is working on other ideas that may or may not evolve into a second book, as well as a collection of short stories.
He lives in Vancouver with his long time partner and their three cats.