Antarctica Adventure - 2002

Several other advantages that the Falklanders have enjoyed since the war also became clear as we toured the little town.

They have new primary and secondary school buildings, a new and enclosed sports center, a new hospital staffed with four physicians and visiting specialists on a monthly basis, a permanent military base where about 1500 men and their families are stationed with a bowling alley and movie theater which the locals are encouraged to use. In addition, students can go to England for free college education and are afforded two free trips back and forth during the school year. Graduate students are entitled to one free roundtrip. Anyone who needs medical care is flown to England or to Montevideo, Uruguay for free. Folks with chronic conditions can fly to England for consultation and care. It’s obvious that the UK has decided to keep its interests in these parts by maintaining these citizens in grand style down here. In some ways, Stanley resembled Reykjavik with older buildings faced with corrugated tin and others of stone. Many were painted in pastel colors to relieve that drab look that really cold places can have. The kit houses are of darker wood construction but even they have gaily colored shutters and eaves. The restaurants, gift stores, bars, etc., also demonstrate the determination to have color in the lives of the citizens. There are many war memorials to the conflicts of 1914 and 1939 to which the Falklanders sent soldiers as well as the more recent war with Argentina. After purchasing a couple of souvenir items and getting a snack at one of the two hotels in the Island, the Upland Goose, we were put back on the buses for the 25 mile ride out to Mount Pleasant Airport on the military base. We were toured around the town before heading out into “camp” as the Falklanders call anywhere in the islands other than Stanley. We were able to appreciate their wonderful snug natural 6 mile long harbor surrounded on three sides by the EastIsland. The ride out to the base took about an hour over a very dusty unpaved road. But it gave us the opportunity to see quite a bit of “camp” on the way. Again, we saw the minefield cordoned-off areas where the tussock grasses are thriving. Our tour guide told us that a horse had wandered into one of these areas and refused to come out for 18 months. Even though the site was thought to contain only one landmine, the horse was not disturbed by humans coming in to get it. So the horse enjoyed his leisure time and then one day

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