August 23, 2008
I looked out the plane window. Land! Finally! This must be it. Sure, it was brown and arid and incredibly boring to look at – but this was our destination. The Falkland Islands. From above it looked like a big patch of mud with a few pools of muddy water scattered in it. Soon some bird droppings (snow) appeared on the mud patch, and the scene was complete.
Things got off to a shaky start between me and the local enforcement (British Army). Walking across the tarmac to the Airport I stopped and opened my camera case. I wanted to take a photo of the plane and the airport. I had no sooner lifted the camera to hip level when I felt a tap on my shoulder and an officer was letting me know in no uncertain terms that this was not acceptable. We were told later that the British Army were still very on edge about Argentine spies and the chance of Argentina trying to take over the land again. This also explained the 2 armed soldiers at the road leading out of the airport. I managed to get a photo of them on the sly though.
Ben – 1, British Army – 1
Sue Wilks picked us up from the airport. She is the Ausralian speech pathologist that Rose will be working with. The 50 minute drive from the airport to the only town of the Falklands – Stanley, was quite unique. The road was incredibly bumpy, sheep wandered on and off it as if they were wild, the brown rocky landscape was devoid of any trees and filled with coloured geese and other birdlife. The occasional mountain had snow covering it, and every few minutes we would see a sign letting us know that we were driving through a Land Mine zone. I asked if there was a chance that the Argentine’s would ever start another war to try and get control of the Falklands. I was expecting a laughing response – but instead got a ‘Well, I don’t think so, but they talk about it a lot’. Reassuring…
We arrived in Stanley and got a brief tour of the town by Sue. It’s a narrow and long town that follows a bay along the coast. Some of the features include a rusty old shipwreck a few metres out from shore, houses with all sorts of colour roofs, and the cloud covered hills across the other side of the harbour. Stanley reminded me of a small fishing village like you might find along an isolated area of the Australian coast. Small, quaint, and full of character.
Our apartment is a second story one, and has an amazing view. We hadn’t been there more than an hour when we looked out our window and got to witness an amazing sunset over the harbour.
Sue had made lasagne for us, so we had that, put some of our stuff away and headed to bed at about 7 to get a nice long sleep.