A Bit of Jolly Old England – The Falklands

If you look near the tip of Argentina, there’s a dot or two in the ocean—that dot represents the nicest people this side of England itself.  The Falkland Islands—you may have heard of them a few years ago when there was the Falkland War.  And one of the British royals even took part in it.  Why!  Who cares about a couple of rocks?  Well, England and Argentina do.  And years ago, this bit of land in a huge ocean was the lifeline for ships—both passenger and cargo—that, prior to the Panama Canal, needed a place to refuel, resupply, and set a passenger or two off—usually young lads returning from school in England.  And, to prepare for the often hazardous trip around the end of South America.

If you take a cruise and your ship docks in the Falklands, be sure to go ashore.  For a moment, you’ll think you’re in “jolly old England”—but it’s even more fun than that.  You’ll get to hear the British side of the war (which is heating up again as you read this) which had its humorous moments, its brave moments, and its slightly ridiculous moments.  (Then if you, like I did, get to go to Argentina, you’ll hear a totally different slant.  Thanks to my experiences as destination lecturer on a cruise ship, I got to visit the Falklands at least three times … and I’m on the side of the English.)

Pride must be the only reason Argentina is heating up the war again.  Ships don’t absolutely need to stop there these days.  If you are there, take the tour that goes into the countryside, where they have still kept some old tanks and other war symbols … but the British humor is what made us laugh; the tricks they played on the Argentine army were priceless.  These Falklanders are a sturdy lot.  They are independent, but there’s the threat of Argentina just miles away. The sending of their youth to England to advanced education (high school and college) and the need to make sure they have enough supplies grown on the two islands to keep them alive in a bad harvest are both vitally important to the Falklanders. There’s absolutely no reason (except pride) which makes Argentina crave the islands.  Besides, a war there would keep their own locals from noticing that things aren’t going too well in Argentina itself.

Map of Falkland Islands