Author Topic: Contests Week: Thursday Results  (Read 5628 times)

Offline Nick

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Contests Week: Thursday Results
« on: March 19, 2009, 05:56:30 AM »
As promised, this week we are revealing the results of last week's Contests Week challenges.

Thursday's challenge was to write a travel article about your best-ever or worst-ever vacation. We received a wide range of stories - MWC members are clearly a well-travelled lot! There were some pretty horrific-sounding tales (remind us never to go to Angola, for example), although as it happens none of the 'worst-ever' stories made the short-list.

As ever there can only be one winner, and on this occasion it was Sellit with the following entry:

Wet and Wild Dominica, an Island for the Adventurous
   

Dominica is for nature lovers who crave a taste of the wild side. Don’t expect resorts, gourmet cuisine, and upscale shopping. Pack your hiking boots and a swimsuit. Prepare to encounter 365 rivers, lush rain forests, waterfalls, amazing sea life, and narrow mountain roads. Dominica remains a largely undeveloped island where tourism and ecosystem coexist.

When our cruise ship docked, we anticipated a day of adventure. We were not disappointed. Two shore excursions provided memories we’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Skirting the rugged volcanic shoreline aboard the Sting Ray II, dolphins set a tone of expectation as they frolicked beside our vessel. The boat’s hydrophone picked up the clicks of conversing whales. Words cannot capture the thrill of racing to intercept these fascinating creatures. A pod of ten blocked whales surfaced like enormous gray submarines. Giant waterspouts blew from their noses. They posed for pictures and waved perfect flukes as they departed with the precision of a choreographed diving team.

A unique glimpse of motherhood came when a young whale surfaced to swallow and then dove several times to nurse. Both mother and child provided a splendid view of flukes when they departed.

Sun-baked by our morning with the dolphins and whales, we departed for a jeep ride into the mountains. These aptly named Wacky Rollers traversed riverbeds and wound along narrow roads high in the rainforest.

A short hike crossed a river via a footbridge and lead to a dark opening between sheer black cliffs. Brave souls entered the river’s frigid water and swam between the towering cliffs. A magnificent waterfall, plunging into Ti Tou Gorge, was our reward. Sunlight filtered through overhanging foliage at the top of the narrow chasm as we drifted out on the current. Invigorated by our adventure, we stood in the water of a warm spring that drops into the pool outside the pseudo cave.

“The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies used Ti Tou Gorge and other locations around Dominica during filming. It wasn’t hard to imagine pirates sailing the shores or roaming the trails of this wet, wild island.

I will be in touch with Sellit to arrange delivery of his/her prize, a copy of WCCL's Travel Writing Secrets guide.

There were two runners-up in this contest, Paul McDermott and Annmarie, both of whom came within a single vote of the winner. They should consider themselves Highly Commended, therefore. Here is Paul's entry:

The Road Goes On...


The psychedelic Summer of Love which began with the ‘Concept’ LP dedicated to Sergeant Pepper seemed to last forever.

We weren’t the “long-haired friends of Jesus” from  the road film “Convoy”’

Nor were we the kids with a cowardly dog who exposed an endless series of ghostly con-merchants.

We were simply friends who loved traditional music, determined to tour Ireland’s folk scene before our VW Caravelle had to undergo another MOT test, one which we all knew it was doomed to fail … I still believe it was held together by the decals, transfers and stickers which concealed the worst of the rust patches.

Every village had its own pub, and invariably its own music festival.

Wherever we ended the day, people seemed to appear and made us feel welcome before the dust settled. The instruments were inevitably commented upon, and the evening’s craic was always mighty: we were in fact expected to ‘sing for our supper’.

Getting lost on a country road in Ireland is simplicity itself, but the solution to the problem is just as easy.

An elderly man sits outside his house at the side of the road. We ask him for help.

“Michael Ashe? Now would that be Michael Ashe, the publican? Sure, I’m not the best one to ask: but if you continue a mile or so to where the road forks, you’ll find an old man sitting in a rocking chair and with a dog at his feet. He can tell you better than me …”

You should trust him, my friend, because it works (though an Irish ‘mile’ is difficult to define!)

At the end of what is always referred to as “a session”, with your fingers either numb or raw and bleeding (depending on your instrument and your style of playing), you might even be tempted, as I was, to ask Mine Host a cautious question regarding Licencing laws.

"What time do you close?”

Mine Host looks gravely at his monstrosity of a wristwatch, and replies:
“September”

No panic, then ...  this is still the middle of July …


And here is the entry from Annmarie:

Through the Desert

The camel grinned.

He knelt in the powdery sand outside Douz, a town in southern Tunesia of white houses and squat palm trees. Douz was the launching point for my tour of the Sahara Desert. By camel.

Twenty knelt in a row while their handlers, boys in dusty jeans, secured the saddle ropes. The camel in front of me smelled like an old bathroom rug, white shag that no one dared wash. He watched me, his lips slack, teeth bared, but not as a threat. That grin said: We’re going to have some fun.

The boys scattered, allotting tourist to camel.  “Do you have a name?” I asked mine.

No answer. I decided to call him Otto.

His saddle resembled an orange crate wittled down to accommodate human legs and a rump. After a helping heave from a Tunisian boy, I clambered up. Otto didn’t seem to mind.

The white sky over the desert brightened. Not exactly the merciless African sun I expected, but it was a start. The boys did a last inspection of the camels, then raised their whips and began to shout.

Otto lurched. His back legs rose. I pitched forward, my nose sunk in his dusty fur. Then his front legs moved one at a time, and I jolted left and right, grasped at fur and reins and ropes.

At last, Otto stood proudly on all four shaggy hooves. From the back of a camel, the desert seemed vast but conquerable. This camel riding thing was perfect. It was easy. It was--

Otto walked. There’s a rhythm to a camel’s tread, but I didn’t know it; I bowed and swayed and felt like I’d fall several times before I gave up trying to look dignified. Otto plodded patiently in the line of camels and I bounced along, a scarf tied over my hair in case the sun decided to be merciless after all.

On the horizon, a palm tree, a single rider on a horse. Otherwise, only sand and sky. This was the Sahara as it should be.

I grinned.



Congratulations again to our winner and runners-up, and thank you to everyone else who entered. For those who are interested, I have attached a separate Word file including all the entries. The entries are listed anonymously, but feel free to identify yourself if you wish.

The results of Friday's challenge will be published here tomorrow.

Nick 
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline ma100

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 06:43:37 AM »
Great stuff Sellit ;)

Close run thing Annmarie and Paul. Well done. :)

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 06:48:35 AM »
well done everyone

Offline fire-fly

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2009, 08:43:12 AM »
Congratulations Sellit, a fun comp indeed.  ;D
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Offline Eve

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2009, 09:17:53 AM »
I want to go!  :) great job everyone!

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2009, 10:11:33 AM »
This was a fun challenge for me - fun because I was able to read about places I've never visited and was able to get a look through other people's eyes.

Congratulation  Sellit, you allowed me me to 'see' bits and pieces of your adventure. 

Paul McDermott and Annmarie, you made this a tight voting challenge for us.  Both of your pieces were so good, it was hard to make a decision.



 

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Offline sellit

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2009, 10:32:19 AM »
Thanks for the congratulations. My husband and I just toured 9 Caribbean islands via a cruise. We took well over 2000 pictures. I'm thrilled to win this challenge and hope to use the prize to break into travel writing. I wish I could have shown you the awesome pics of whales.

I'm looking forward to reading the other stories people wrote.

Thanks for giving me this chance to try test my skills, Nick.


Offline Spell Chick

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 10:38:49 AM »
Congratulations.

Sellit and all who entered,

You people sure get around.  ;D
I often say, "I don't go anywhere." And now ... I really want to. You did an excellent job and made picking a favorite that much more of a challenge.

Thanks to all who participated. It made for delightful reading. Now, all I need is to get a Passport and funding. I'm ready to go.
Little Bits of History A short essay on something that happened on any day.

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Offline pb

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2009, 06:37:44 PM »
well done sellit that's brilliant stuff (like the name too).

i really liked 'through the desert' by annmarie - it was probably my fave.

competition week has been great.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 08:57:05 AM »
Congrats to sellit! We'll get you next time... (*rubs hands evilly*).  ;D

I'm honored to be a runner up. Maybe that gets me a free beer in the Pub, eh?  :)
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2009, 11:59:22 AM »
Of course Annmarie.  Just tell Bones it's on me. Shoot, I'll even spring for two if you wish.  :)
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline sellit

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2009, 01:33:57 PM »
Annmarie,
 I loved your camel riding story. The judges had hard choices to make. Too bad everyone couldn't win. :'(

We're writing about two different areas of the world. I'll take the Caribbean and you can have the Sahara. Someone else can have another country. There are plenty to share. Besides, I'm not into camel rides.

However, I'll swing into the ocean on the ropes of a 'pirate ship' any day. Think I'll try to write and sell that one today.

Offline Paul McDermott

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Re: Contests Week: Thursday Results
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2009, 11:24:43 AM »
 ;D   Since Annmarie and sellit have both acknowleged their success, I guess I should add my thanks to theirs ..... writing about Real Life, however, is far easier than writing Fiction (which is what I feel I do best....)  8)

Here's to the next time!!! :D :)