|Stanley from the FIGAS plane|
Everywhere other than Stanley is regarded as Camp. There are a number of other small settlements in Camp, with just under 200 people living elsewhere on East Falkland, about 125 on West Falkland, and just over 40 on the smaller islands.
The 1982 Conflict section was good as it had a number of pieces of Argentine propaganda and some journals that the locals kept, which gave an fascinating insight into what it was really like during that time. The locals talked about how the Argentine soldiers would come and ask them to buy food because they were hungry, about how one of their friends had gone back to the bottle, and about the distress felt when a civilian house was accidentally hit killing three locals.
|William and Kate 'on tour'|
But that wouldn't mean that you have got to know Stanley. We chose to spend a bit long here, not just so that we could do a couple of day trips and take advantage of the comforts of home, but also so that we could get an idea of what it is to be a Falkland Islander.
|The Penguin News office|
Stanley is a proper little village. Everyone knows everyone, and everything about everyone. The opening hours of some of the shops are short and erratic, revolving around the arrival of the cruise ships. In season, they have about five cruise ships a week, and the schedule is printed in the local newspaper, The Penguin News, so that the pubs, cafes, tour guides and gift shops know when to expect a 'rush' on. We read an article in the Penguin News about the annual raft race and it referred to one of the competing families arriving late 'as usual' for the start. This kind of comment can only work in a place where everyone knows that this family is notorious for being late.
|4x4 with F6G numberplate|
Of course with such a small population, the number plates are pretty tiny. They all start with an F and end with the appropriate letter for the year, but in the middle, the most they have is three numbers. Nic was very pleased to get a picture of one of the three character plates, F6G.
Talking of the driving, it did seem rather strange that in such a small town, we should find one of the junctions marked up as an accident blackspot. We never saw more that two cars there at any one time, so no idea how they manage to have enough accidents to merit it being a blackspot. And it rather amuses me that there is a Stanley bypass road.
|One of hundreds of wrecks in the islands|
Aside from Alex, we managed to get into quite a few conversations with people, especially once they realised that we weren't just here on a landing from one of the cruises. One of our best evenings was when we went to the pub recommended to us by Jackie, our host on Pebble Island. She sent us to The Rose, and whilst it wasn't very busy, and did have the Sun journalists from our hotel there, people were friendly and we were soon chatting about life on the islands. And when time was called, we were invited back to the owners' place next door to continue the conversation - and drinking - for a bit longer.
To a person from the UK, the Falkland Islands are like a home from home. Small, definitely. A little lacking in facilities and choice, yes. Windy, absolutely. But for all its limitations, it was a great place to visit.