Across Continents

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Hungry cyclist

Special today. Two eggs anyhow, hash browns, choice of bacon, ham or sausage. Toast. White or brown. Quickly adding she thought they might of brown. Orange juice. Came with coffee. Saved you one seventy, explained the waitress. I’d go for it. Scrambled eggs. And oatmeal she asked? I hesitated then said "Yes". Short pause. "Let’s call it brunch". She hurried off with the order. "Hungry cyclist" I heard from out back.

I’d stopped at a small diner at Kitwanga’s only gas station. Passed it the previous night as I’d hunted for somewhere to stop before the light went. I’d been hungry then, tantalising aromas hard to resist, but I’d needed to press on. Promising myself I’d return in the morning.

Oatmeal arrived first. Jug of milk and a generous pot of brown sugar. I tipped the sugar into the steaming bowl, quickly stirring the large granular heap into the soft porridge. Thick, dark swirls. Too hot yet to eat, but then the main course arrived. Decided to devour that first whilst the toast was still crisp.

A few old-timers in a couple of the other booths. I’d taken one by the window so I could watch over my trusty steed. If I’d an idea what a diner should look and feel like, then this was it. The details were right. High backed padded benches. The clientele. Waitress popping by occasionally to top up the coffee from a large glass jug. Friendly but no-nonsense. And my favourite question. How’d you like your eggs? I really wasn’t sure what all the options were. I’d seen the films. Sunny side up. But I normally plumped for scrambled. Safe.

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Kitwanga was a First Nation settlement, a few native arts and crafts shops, or at least there used to be. Now closed. Just the gas station and diner. Kept on the map by the Stewart-Hyder Highway that ran back north to Alaska and Route 16 east/west. Intersecting in the village. Little else to do here.

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