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Dave Alton

Dave Alton has written to Bob Hall and Bob has sent along Dave's biographical notes. Dave says that he's going to keep an eye open for photographs so we can look forward to some additions here.

Biographies the email says, let's have biographies, and photos.

The photos are tough. A few from the past 5 years or so maybe, but that would be about it.

The biography, given the OBH63 theme, has to start in 1958, arriving on the boat from the mainland after an overland journey from the north east corner of Edmonton. OB was foreign beyond anything I could have possibly imagined at the time. Honestly, the kids went home after school to change their clothes before going out to play...I mean, can you really imagine such a thing?

The first year was really odd. The second was closer to normal for me as I had the fortune to end up in Div 6 OBJH where a lot of hell raising went on. Somehow, from there I ended up again in very foreign territory - OBH Div 17. When I entered the classroom the first time one very pretty girl asked in surprise, "What are you doing here?" I had to admit to her that I had not a clue.

Going along as best possible I went out for a few sports where I was average at best.

I always had good grades on the first report card of each year, and then as my interest dwindled, marks went downhill until June liberation. The cycle started again each September.

I was friends with an assortment of nice people but never quite felt as though I belonged. OB was a funny place to me. Everything seemed organized and the future for most seemed predetermined.

At some point in Grade 12 I was reading James Michener's book, Caravans, and decided that the road was the place for me. But part of the predetermined life involved filling out a UVIC application form. My Div 1 home room teacher was unable to comprehend that my not wishing to fill the thing out was anything but showboating. Div 1 people from OB went to university, no questions asked.

Yes, I did know a lot of nice people, I did have a nice girlfriend, but graduation day for me was the day I shut the OB door behind me started to move on. I worked a bit in Victoria that summer, managed to do some harvesting in Alberta after that, and finally made it up to the North West Territories for another stint of work prior to abandoning the zone as Hay River winter blew in.

Being ill organized, I went back, physically at least, to the OB region and the OB girlfriend but generally a non-OB set of friends that I met up with at the SUB where I played cards for a few months.

Then, on the road again - mostly just Europe but serving an apprenticeship for moving about on my own.

I again ended up back in Victoria and did do one year at UVIC, possibly setting a record as the student attending the least number of classes while still scraping through all 5 subjects.

After that unfortunate stint I was gone again. Lausanne, Switzerland quite prominent, London, Montreal, India, the Middle East (a friendly time in the world so it was easy to go about almost anywhere if you had a few bucks in your pocket) And without having ever defined it, I had already started on my lifetime vocation/hobby which seems to have turned out to be going here and there and working at this and that.

Along the way I finished off a BA, tried a couple of domestic arrangements that proved to be quite a strain on all participants and actually spent some time living again in Victoria and on Salt Spring Island - though far from OB.

As well as spending more winters than I care to count in the North West Territories, I have managed to work in a bit over20 countries. The shortest stint was about 3 days in French Guiana; the longest about 3 years in Argentina.

Favorite place to work was southern Mali and least favorite was Russia, in the Kolyma Mountains some 500 km north east of Magadan. The prize for the best place to go out on the town for a night is split between Ulan Bator and Jakarta. La Paz, Bolivia is my favorite city in S. America.

Thus far in the 21st Century I have lived in a happy domestic situation at the southern end of Sumatra in Indonesia and have continued to commute here and there to work - currently NE Nicaraguaa.

In conjunction with my Indonesian wife and family, I have a hotel/surf camp in a marginally touristic surfing area on the West Coast of Sumatra.

Life is good. OBHS was an interesting stop along the highway. It taught me a lot. Nothing I have encountered since even rates as culture shock after that move from Edmonton to OB.

Thus go 50 years.

If I can dummy up a few photos, I may even send this along.

D. Alton

Hotel Camino Real, Managua, April 25/ 2012

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