What a strange but captivating place this proved to be. First up, Mr and Ms X gave thanks for being able to stop there, as only every second ship is able to due to the wild weather. Despite being rugged up for the unpredictable conditions that could befall them at any moment, these two weren’t prepared for the unusual yet gorgeous welcoming party on their arrival.
These two were just soaking up some Falkland sun at the edge of the pier, completely oblivious to their amused visitors.
So The Falklands is an overseas British territory which comprises some 800 small islands. It’s also full of all things British: red telephone boxes, an English pub, British accents and architecture and even ££s! From the beginning, the Falklands has been in the middle of a giant tug-of-war, with several countries over the years trying to lay claim to it. The Spanish and the Dutch both showed interest but moved on. Then the Brits and Argentines both thought they had finders-keepers rights. However the British finally planted their roots as well as a 1000 soldier strong military base. The Falklands is extremely isolated and the weather can be severely challenging, however 3500 people (not including the military) choose to live here and the local school even has a SunSmart sign on their front door! Mr and Ms X met a Kiwi who came here to marry yet divorced and then remarried another local and stayed. So the majority have been born and educated here till they turn 16 and then supported financially by the Falkland’s community to complete their tertiary studies in the south of England. Although under no obligation, most return.
Prior to 1982 how many knew of these Falkland Islands? Our retirees recall waking one morning to hear that Maggie Thatcher had announced that the UK were at war with Argentina over the Falklands. “Huh??? The Falklands? Argentina?#&%@!” Even Prince Andrew was supposedly over there fighting.
Over 72 days the conflict continued with 250 British and 750 Argentinians losing their lives. Mr and Ms X toured the stark battlegrounds and stopped at Thatcher Drive where old Maggie is honoured along with the fallen. The local guide who showed these 2 around was a young farmer living on a remote side of the main island, and even he lost an eye from schrapnel from a misdirected friendly-fired bomb. It may have been a short conflict but the locals all remember that time vividly. They are, and want to remain British, not Argentinian.
This place may seem isolated however you sometimes see signs or recognise moments that show how small the world can seem at times. Here at the Post Office in the Falklands was a fundraising notice for the Australian bushfires. Now the custom is, if you are leaving the Falklands with no intention of returning, you leave your boots on Boot Hill on the way to the airport. If by chance you change your mind and return, you pick them up again as you drive back from the airport. Luckily, our retirees skipped that tradition however before boarding their boat, they did farewell the goodbye party. One had woken up and was putting on a show, almost to entice these two to stay. Hmm; even though the one supermarket in town was fully stocked with toilet paper, and idyllic as this place was for a visit, Mr and Ms X had to get back to civilisation.
The added bonus is however that they will never sweat again after visiting. Thanks for the tip Prince Andrew!!