Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Real World

It's now been a month since I left the Falkland Islands and my time there still feels like a dream. It was shockingly easy to fall back into my normal life - so different from my daily experiences in the South Atlantic. Here it feels like the sun never stops bearing down on you, the heat is oppressive, and there are people everywhere. The final account for my work at the museum came to 14.8 hours of new interviews collected, 22.4 hours of interviews transcribed, and a manual for continuing work on the collection. Once things here have settled down a bit I'll do some more of that work myself, but I hope the museum can find enough interested parties to continue the project.

Things I miss about the Falklands: my friends, the museum, dancing all night, walking everywhere, penguins, the beauty of the land, the lifestyle.

Things I don't miss about the Falklands: living alone, being cold all the time, wearing a ridiculous amount of clothes, constantly slipping and falling on ice, the limited variety of food.

A couple of people have mentioned to me the rather large amount of drinking I've mentioned on this blog. I'm generally the sort of person who will tell you something straight up and I did drink a lot in the Falklands. Back in my normal life, I don't have more than one or two drinks a week. However, in Stanley, most socializing took part in the pubs and drinking was part of the culture. It even came up a few times in the oral histories I collected and transcribed. I heard it said several times from those of us on short contracts, that being in the Falklands is kind of like being in university again. So true. 

My main occupation since returning to the USA has been moving to New Mexico, where I have one more year left in my program. Fortunately, I won't be living alone as I'm taking the spare room at my friend Jeanna's apartment. Oh, and we'll be joined by her cat, Mao, and her dog, Buffy.
This is Mao. He's beautiful and he knows it.
And apparently silly if he thinks I can't see him under there.
...and this is Buffy. She's a bit skittish, but very sweet and quiet.
I've finally got most of my stuff into the new place after several trips, but I still have another week until I move in full time.
New room in New Mexico.
If you've ever sent me a postcard, it is probably on that wall.
Eric and I also spent a lot of time this month watching the Olympics. Inspired by this, Eric decided he wanted to take up archery again. As a kid back in Arkansas, he used to have a target set up in his backyard and for a few years he spent hours and hours shooting. I did archery for a few years at summer camp in elementary school, too, but Eric's experience is much more recent than mine. In any case, for his birthday I tracked down a couple of archery shops where we were able to try out some bows. We both got competition-style recurves (mine is left-handed and lighter) and spent a couple days at the range. While fun, the experience left me a bit marked up as it seems every place in town is sold out of arm guards.
This is what happens when you shoot archery with a hyper-rotated elbow and without an arm guard.
This is wrong. See how much my arm is sticking out to
the left? That's why the bowstring hit it so much.
This is right. My arm is safely out of the bowstring's way. However,  I have 
to consciously think about holding my arm in this position.
Classes started last Thursday and I've now had at least one meeting of all mine. I'm going to be doing a lot of writing this semester. It'll be good for me. To finish my program, I have four classes left (research seminar, reading seminar, two traditional history) and my master's thesis. I'm knocking out three of the classes this semester, so I'll be focusing on this thesis this spring. The Research Seminar this semester focuses on biography and I hope to continue my work on Josephine Foster, possibly even producing a publishable paper. I'm taking World War I as my traditional history course, which seemed timely to me as the centenary is coming up soon. Also, this class is spending a lot of time on the social and cultural aspects of the war as well as its legacy. Fun stuff. My third class is the reading seminar, on the theme of Myth, Memory, and History. This class is actually one of the things that attracted me to this program in the first place. Back at William & Mary, ProfCor definitely converted me to memory studies. I find the interaction of these three concepts absolutely fascinating - it doesn't hurt that it fits in well with my background in Russian/Soviet history. My only disappointment is that I've already read two of the books on the syllabus and we're not using ProfCor's book (it's been used in the past for this class). I'm also a Teaching Assistant again this semester - this time for two professors, one of which has an intro US History survey class. I'm doing a lot of work for that one, but I'm finally getting some good US History! My first lecture is less than a month away. It also looks like I'll be giving a talk sometime this fall on my time in the Falklands.
My office in the History Department. I share it with 3 other Teaching Assistants, but I think the flag has appropriately marked my territory. Oh, and the Department of Languages and Linguistics is on the
same hallway. I wonder how long it will take the Spanish professors to identify the flag of the Falkland Islands.
Oh, and I dyed my hair blue yesterday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sad to Leave, Happy to Go Home: July 27 - 30

I spent Friday morning at the museum finishing up my work, before hitching a ride across town to the Narrows Bar. The guys were heading up to Elephant Beach for a hunting weekend so we got together for lunch before they left (Vanessa and Paula came, too). The fish and chips was awesome - really good batter and Joss let us have salad instead of mushy peas. We also played a few rounds of pool, including my first victory. I actually beat Steve! Steve and Joss also surprised me with...FACE CAKE!!!
Face Cake...so delicious!
I was sad to say goodbye, but I had to get back to the museum. The ladies were excited to share my face cake and gave me a book of beautiful Falklands photographs. I did a last bit of shopping too, stocking up on books and another batch of small gifts/souvenirs. There was just enough time for me to catch Sam at the radio station to pick up a copy of my interview and say goodbye to her. Debs had already claimed me for friday night, so a few hours later I called a cab to her current abode on the other side of town, bearing the last of the face cake and a couple bottles of wine. The Olympic Opening Ceremony was on in the background, but the main event was an Asian potluck dinner. I'd only met a few of the other guests before (most were from the Fisheries), but it was a good bunch and they brought some delicious food. I even got to try some raw toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass). Unplanned by Debs was the extremely difficult quiz conducted by a mad Russian scientist. Paul wisely fled to the pubs. I stuck it out, so I missed seeing some of the Chilean girls, but I got to spend more time with Debs. I got a cab home and called it an early night.

As an experienced traveler I put off packing until Saturday morning. I still finished very quickly, leaving nothing to do but sit, wait, and discuss the Falklands with my hosts. Alex was headed to Chile for a week on the same flight so I got a ride to MPA with him and Vanessa. The road was in pretty rough shape and Alex's truck was completely covered in mud by the time we got there. And so was my suitcase that had been in the back. The first flight was uneventful. I said goodbye to Alex in Pumta Arenas and got a cab to my hotel in the center of town. Thus began my adventures in Spanglish. The guy working the front desk did not speak English, but we muddled through and he got me checked into my room. It was awesome, had a balcony, and made me feel like a princess! Back at the front desk I asked "donde cena?" and got directions to a restaurant. Out on the street, I found it, but it wasn't open yet so I moved onto a coffee shop for a chicken sandwich with tomato and avacado. Yummy!

My Punta Arenas hotel. My room is the one with the
balcony and the lights on.
My hotel room!
View of the Plaza from my balcony.
More view from my balcony.
Me, on my balcony in Punta Arenas.
My flight to Santiago the next day allowed me to sleep in and the hotel's breakfast made a good start to the day. Sunday went without incident until I reached the American Airlines counter in Santiago. I had to clear the domestic area, collect my luggage, and then check in again on the international side of the airport. The very helpful lady at the AA counter informed me that my flight to Dallas had been delayed for six hours and offered me several options. I decided to wait it out, but she rebooked my connecting flight and gave me $20 voucher to get some dinner. The international terminal was much better equipped than the domestic terminal and I had a decent sit-down dinner. The beat part? I got their wifi password so as long as I stayed in  range I had internet. I wandered, snacked, surfed, and napped the hours away. Apparently I didn't nap too much as I managed to sleep all the way to Dallas. Finally back in the States I was a bit overwhelmed by the heat, sun, and the large number of people surrounding me. However, customs was kind enough to clean my shoes. Since the Falklands is basically one giant farm and NMSU is an agriculture school I figured better safe than sorry. My final flight I the journey came with a nice surprise - the only  seat the AA agent in Santiago had been able to book me was in first class. I was so exhausted that I didn't really get to enjoy it, but the extra space was appreciated. Eric met me at the airport with roses and he didn't even have to go back to work. I was so out of it that I wasn't entirely sure what day it was. Oh, and my first meal at home? A veggie burrito from Chipotle.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Loose Ends: July 20 - 26

My last weekend in the Falklands was seriously epic. Friday night presented the dilemma of poker night vs. pub quiz. Debs was putting together a pub quiz team, but there was an unfortunate bit of confusion. When I texted her on Friday morning to confirm I learned that Mike had taken the last spot on the team 30 minutes earlier. This confused me a bit as Mike was supposed to be playing poker. As it turns out, poker night was cancelled before I decided to do the pub quiz instead. In any case I walked all the way to the Narrows Bar to cheer on my friends. As it turned out, Debs played with her surrogate Falklands parents opening up a spot on the team with Mike, Paul, Andy P, Roddy, and Paula. The quiz felt like it would never end, but it was pretty fun. Besides the standard trivia rounds, we also had to make a potato into a recognizable famous person. We were not alone in our decision to create Mr. Potato Hitler. After the quiz finally concluded we were rather surprised to learn that we had won. Huh. That was unexpected and we owe it to Paul's origami frog which defeated all the other teams' frogs. Our tangible prizes were a couple of bottles of wine and a box of chocolates, but I think the bragging rights were the best part. We went off to celebrate our victory at Deano's.
Our Hitler is the one with the Argentine flag.
I walked into town on Saturday to do some souvenir shopping and loaded up with Falklands swag, including a giant flag for my office, small gifts for professors/family/friends, and a "Keep Calm and Keep the Falklands British" t-shirt. I am currently hatching a plot to wear the last item to a Morrissey concert in November. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going as I am torn between my love for the Smiths and my love for the Falklands.* In any case, if I go to the concert I will proudly don said shirt. As usual, the evening's festivities started at the Vic, where I found myself faced with multiple options. First, a birthday party for someone I kind of knew at Andy P's house (I was invited by Andy P, but not the birthday girl). Or another night at the Trough. I delayed making my decision by dancing at Deano's, but ended up at Andy P's, where there was a great spread of food, good music courtesy of two Pauls, and more dancing. I distinctly remember getting to samba to Lily Allen's "Not Fair." All in all, it was a great night.

The weekend's fun continued on Sunday with an asado at Alex and Vanessa's house. Basically a Chilean barbecue with a giant slab of meat. Everyone brought something to share and we spent the afternoon cooking, eating, and drinking. As I don't exactly cook particularly well I was tasked with squeezing lemons and limes for Pisco Sours. I must have done my job well as the resulting drinks were delicious. I still need to check to see if I can get Pisco in this area. I also learned how to make the ridiculously obvious snack called "choripan" (chorizo + bread). I felt almost as stupid as that time I asked when Cinco de Mayo was when I asked what went into a choripan. Eventually the slab of meat was deemed ready to eat and we were allowed to go inside. It was definitely worth the wait. Oh, and we were joined that afternoon by an American PhD candidate in anthropology considering writing his dissertation on the economics of the Falkland Islands. It seems I'm not the only one who noticed a serious gap in scholarship. 
The delicious slab of meat on the grill.
Everyone bundled up to brave the cold and watch the meat cook.
On Monday morning I returned to transcription at the museum and found that Leona was also back after she had been out the previous week with a punctured eardrum. Ouch. My transcription was interrupted by a visit from Jay, the American anthropologist, who had mentioned that he might stop by the museum. As he hasn't yet made the final decision whether or not to write about the Falklands, I introduced him to Leona and Tansy over at the Archives. With introductions made and research discussed, I took Jay into town for some lunch and to check out the Falklands 30 exhibit. Tuesday and Wednesday meant even more transcription as I worked to complete my deliverable by the end of the week. I finished early on Wednesday in order to do a short interview for the Falkland Islands Radio Service.
My FIRS interview with the lovely Samantha Addison. Just in case you're wondering, 
not all Falkland Islanders sound like her. Sam is from Yorkshire.

Wednesday was also my last steak night and as such became my first pseudo-going-away party. When I showed up to the Vic pretty much everyone I cared about was already there - it was pretty awesome. However, I noticed that no one had ordered any steaks. Apparently the steak portion of the evening had been cancelled due to a migraine. Steve and Mike solved this problem by fetching everyone fish and chips from down the street. With or without steak, it was a great night and we closed the pub. I got up early Thursday morning as the museum had arranged for me to go on a FIGAS round robin. The Falkland Islands Government Air Service offers flights within the Islands on the very small Britten Norman Islander aircraft. 
A FIGAS plane (from the Falkland Islands Tourist Board).
The round robin option allowed me to ride shotgun for the morning itinerary of one of the five planes. We flew from Stanley to Port Howard, Pebble Island, Carcass Island, and then back to Stanley. The first landing was rough as snow was falling in Port Howard, but the flight was pretty smooth after that. I got an incredible view of several islands and was only airsick twice. Unfortunately, I didn't get very many pictures as I was concentrating on the scenery around me and trying not to be sick again.
Carcass Island. The last stop on my round-robin flight around the Islands.
*Read this story to find out why my love of the Smiths conflicts with my love of the Falklands.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Get to the Chopper: July 13 - 19

This next week continued the transcription holding pattern I'd established during the previous week. I worked from home on Friday to do laundry and then headed to the Vic after dinner. The after party that night ended up at Paul's, where dancing ensued. Apparently, I wore myself out as I slept for most of Saturday. That was a Trough night, so I'm glad I was well-rested as I had plenty of energy for more dancing, though no one had much energy after the Trough closed. A few of us went to Paul's, but we just sat around for a little while. The rest of the week really was just endless transcription - at the museum during the day and at home in the evenings. I did finally get back to the Falklands 30 exhibit to take pictures, though. I also checked in with the library and discovered that they don't actually collect fines - they just want the books back. That was a stroke of good luck as I had been late returning several items.
The first part of the exhibition. It continued to follow the invasion chronologically.
This area contained one of my favorite parts. That old radio concealed an iPod dock which played snippets of Patrick Watts' broadcast of the Invasion, when he stayed on air all night.

The British soldier caused all kinds of trouble as we simply could not get him fat enough. Also, his boots were too small.
I realize now that I got confused in my last post. I confused and combined two different Steak Nights. The after-party at Steve's was definitely on July 11, but it followed a perfectly normal and timely Steak Night with him, Mike, and Miguel. July 18 was the Steak Night when everyone showed up late. How do I know this? Because I went for a helicopter ride the next day. I had asked Gary a couple of weeks before about the possibility of tagging along on a CHC flight. He said it didn't look good and there wasn't anything scheduled before I left, but at this Steak Night he said there was a flight the next day that I could go on if the weather held. The next morning the skies were clear and the flight was a go. My hosts drove me to the Stanley Airport and I hung out on the tarmac before it was time to go. This was just a short test flight over Stanley and back, but it was pretty awesome. I'd never been in a helicopter before and as soon as we landed I wanted to go again.
The Super Puma and I.

East Stanley - I actually did an interview at one of those houses.
The Lady Liz

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Historian on the Move: July 6 - 12

After a long week of transcription I headed to the Vic on Friday with no definite plans, but it turned out to be one of my best nights in the Falklands. My friends were at the pub planning to go to the dance at the Town Hall marking the end of Farmers' Week. It was so much more fun than the Liberation Ball! There was no dress code to speak of and the bar was set up in the same room as the music and dancing. Under 18s were not allowed, so the adults got to take over the dancing. Between Andy P, Paul, and Alex I got to do a lot of dancing! Paul had taught me the "Falklands Two-Step" on Liberation Day so I could handle that one, but there were so many other dances that I didn't know. Some of them reminded me of contra dancing at William & Mary and Anna's wedding in 2010, but there was no one calling the steps - the dancers either already knew them or just picked it up as they went. My inner academic popped up during the evening to observe that someone could write an entire dissertation on vernacular dance in the Falkland Islands. I'm not a dance historian, but it's completely uncharted territory. One of my interview subjects was the man who teaches the weekly dance lessons on Wednesday nights in the Town Hall and he told me that a woman had come down to study Falklands folk music, but no one had taken a similar interest in dancing. According to Andy P there are even distinctions between the ways people dance on East and West Falkland. We all cooled off after the dance with a bit of a sing-song and some delicious leftovers from a dinner Alex had prepared for a large group of farmers at the Waterfront.

On Saturday my hosts actually returned from their months of travel, accompanied by a truckload of luggage. First introductions were only a little awkward, but fortunately I had plans and somewhere to be - the Vic for Pride Night. I hadn't realized the GLBT community in the Falklands was large enough to host a Pride Night, but they surprised me. Still, the majority of those who turned out were allies and supporters. It was still a pretty normal night for Stanley; we assembled at the Vic, danced at the Globe and Deano's, then finished the evening at Paula's. However, a bunch of Paras up from Mount Pleasant for exercises at Hillside was also out on the town and making a ruckus on the dance floor. I later found out that the only trouble they caused was among themselves, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Now that I was no longer alone in my house, I  wanted to get out of the way on Sunday to allow my hosts to settle back in. I walked around town for a while and had a late lunch at the West Store, where I managed to run into a couple of CHC crewmen and one of the Commandos from Hillside. They satisfied my need for human interaction before they headed off to watch The Pacific (they also love Band of Brothers and bemoaned the lack of a British equivalent at the previous Steak Night).

Over the past two months I did most of my transcription spread out at the dining room table in my house, but I now needed to find a new work space. Alex offered a solution on Monday by kindly allowing me to work from the Waterfront. I set up my computer and pile of references on a table in the dining room and sat down to a full day of transcription. It was a little chilly for the first few hours as the heating wasn't working in that area of the hotel, but Alex got that fixed before long. Several benefits came from working at the Waterfront: an unlimited supply of tea and biscuits just steps from my table, an easy walk to Jac's for lunch, and the added bonus of getting to see friends on a Monday. I even got a lot of transcription done!

Fortunately, on Tuesday, last week's bad luck did not continue and the weather cleared up enough for my excursion to Goose Green. This would turn out to be my only trip to the Camp and it was an experience I won't soon forget. My guide for the day was Eric Goss, who managed Goose Green during the 1982 Invasion and kindly let me tag along as he took a group of veterans out to the battlefield. We picked them up at Liberty Lodge, an accommodation established exclusively for the use of 1982 veterans and their family. Our group included a member of 2 Para (and his son) as well as a sailor from the HMS Exeter (whose father joined him on this trip to the Falklands, but didn't feel well enough to join us that day). The drive out to Goose Green took about an hour, allowing me plenty of time to stare out the window at the barren yet beautiful scenery. 
You can see the route from Stanley to Goose Green (2) on this map from the Falkland Islands Tourist Board.
Upon arrival, we stopped our 4x4s near a shack that had definitely seen batter days to survey the area where British forces started the battle. Eric Goss relied on his own memory, heavily annotated maps, and the account in Razor's Edge to take our group through the entire length of the battle, ending at the Goose Green settlement. We saw the remains of Argentine gun emplacements, positioned with an almost complete control of the landscape; markers and monuments for both fallen Brits and Argentines; ground still scarred from a crashed Harrier. I've visited many battlefields over the years with my dad, but nothing really compares to walking ground drenched with blood only 30 years ago accompanied by people who saw it with their own eyes. Sorry, Dad, but I don't think I'm going to be able to write a Staff Ride. The consistently warm reception from the Islanders and the ability to revisit these places has helped many 1982 veterans deal with the lingering effects of the conflict. I can't even imagine how so many Islanders cope on a daily basis, constantly surrounded by reminders of the war and unable to lay memories to rest.
The shack and the British approach towards Darwin and Goose Green.
An Argentine gun emplacement, with a blanket still stuck in the ground.
The Argentine view of the British approach. The dark speck on the right is the shack from the first photo.
Eric Goss standing with the cross that marks where he
buried the Argentine dead in 1982. Their bodies were
later moved to the nearby Argentine Cemetery.
What the British would have seen while climbing Darwin Hill. The gorse
on the ridge concealed Argentine snipers.
The town hall in Goose Green, where Argentine forces imprisoned the
settlement's residents.
Wednesday meant business as usual, though my excursion to Goose Green remained at the front of my mind. Miserable weather killed any intention to walk the mile to the Waterfront, but I found another work space at the museum, only a block away from home. With the 1982 exhibition now open in St. Mary's Hall, the collections usual home lies mostly empty and roped off from visitors. I managed to create a fairly comfortable nest surrounded by the remaining artifacts and the museum offered equally unlimited access to tea as well as the biscuit tin. 
My makeshift office in the 1982 room, complete with
Sidewinder missile.
I received word of two interviews scheduled for that afternoon, but long before it was time to go both interviewees had cancelled due to illness - the same bug that knocked me down the previous month. In any case, I got a lot of transcription done before braving the weather as I walked to the Vic for Steak Night. The pub was surprisingly empty, but I was not deterred. The nice thing about being a regular at the Local is that you always know someone to talk to. I texted the regular crowd to see where they'd gotten to and ordered my steak. I was wondering why I hadn't gotten any responses and decided to check the balance on my phone - I had no money left! I was almost done eating my steak at the bar and planning to head home soon when Steve, Mike, Gary, Miguel, and Paula strolled in. They sweet-talked their way into a few late steaks and explained that they'd been at the Stanley Arms. The pub across the street from my house all the way on the other side of town that no one but the regulars ever go to. In any case, I stuck around while they ate and even until closing, by which time Joss, Kathy, and Vanessa had shown up. We all headed to Steve's for a bit more merriment before the end of the night. On my way out the door Joss invited me to her birthday dinner the next night at the Malvina - I guess I had plans for Thursday now!

I continued working from the museum on Thursday, but that afternoon's interview appointment actually held. I got to talk to a man who used to work in the whaling industry on South Georgia. He had some great stories, but I'm afraid that days without an interview had left my skills a little rusty and didn't produce the best recording. Not a great way to go out as this would be my final interview in the Falklands. My packed evening made up for my lackluster performance during the day. I visited my friend Sam before heading to dinner, but I had an unfortunate encounter with a mud puddle on the way from her house to the Malvina. I didn't wipe out completely, but mud splattered the bottom foot of my jeans and completely covered my black Chucks. Obeying signage and not wanting to make a mess, I left my shoes at the door and walked to the dining room in stocking feet. My bright red wool socks raised a few questions about where my shoes had gotten to, but at least one person figured it out on their own. Upon his arrival, Alex asked if those were my mud-covered Converse by the back door. Dinner was delicious - I had the squid rings again followed by a delicious piece of lamb. I'm glad I got to try the Malvina for both lunch and dinner. As this was a celebration, there was birthday cake, and we closed the place down. Festivities continued back at Alex and Vanessa's house, where an uninvited neighbor called the police with a noise complaint. We turned the music down and closed the windows, but the policewoman answering the call didn't know quite what to do when two of her fellow officers answered the door and invited her in for a drink. I love the Falklands.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Emergency History: June 29 - July 5

I think I really found my interviewing groove. I woke up on Friday to find I had two interviews that afternoon at my house. There was a slight mix-up regarding who I was supposed to speak with at which time, but (big surprise) my subjects knew each other and it worked out. Both of them came from really old Falklands families and had a wealth of stories about managing sheep farms on the Islands and about horse culture. In the old days, horses were the only form of transport on the farms and so most Islanders had to be excellent horsemen. This translated into leisure activities twice a year during sports weeks, which centered around horse races (in between dancing, drinking, and mutton). Today, 4x4s provide transport between the farms while motorbikes have replaced horses for managing the sheep. Most farms have only a handful lot horses, if any, and there are many more horses kept for sport or as pets than there are working horses anymore. In order to get a taste of the way things used to be I really wanted to go for a ride outside Stanley, but unfortunately everyone had sent their horses out of town for the winter. However, doing all these interviews on short notice made me feel a bit like an emergency historian, on-call to record people's memories.

On Saturday, I expected to start sharing my house as this was the date my hosts had given me for their return, which would signal my transition from house sitter to houseguest. The LAN Chile flight arrives at Mount Pleasant, about 45 minutes outside of Stanley, every Saturday afternoon, so I expected them home around supper time. However, time came to go to the pub and I was still on my own. Oh, well - I had more important things to do as it was a Trough night. Vanessa was awesome, as usual, but we all called it a relatively early night and caught a cab after the band finished up. Sunday brought a rather unfortunate  revelation as I tried to cook my dinner and found there was no gas to be had. Oops. I emailed my hosts to ask them what to do (and where they were), then settled in to watch the EuroCup final. That was an awesome match and I really enjoyed watching Spain play. A reply came from my hosts explaining that they decided to spend a week in Chile before coming back the next Saturday and that I should have more gas delivered.

Getting more gas proved incredibly easy on Monday. I called Stanley Services, they delivered more that afternoon, and charged my hosts' account. Simple, hassle-free, and I could cook again! I also managed to set up a trip to Goose Green on Thursday, tagging along with a couple of veterans and the former farm manager. I had another great interview at my house. The more good interviews I had, the more confident I got as an interviewer, but I do have to be careful not to get cocky. Tuesday's did not go quite as well. There was confusion over where the interview was taking place and I think that seriously affected how relaxed/comfortable my interviewee felt. I walked to his house clear on the other side of town, while he drove to my house and knocked on all the doors. His wife invited me in, but unfortunately he doesn't carry a cellphone, so there was no way of getting in touch. I had a chat and a cup of tea while we waited for him to give up on me and come home. Eventually, he did make it back, but we were both clearly discomfited by the confusion and behind schedule. Rough as the interview may have been, I took advantage of my presence on the far east end of Stanley to take some pictures and visit the Memorial Wood.

Some of the trees in the Memorial Wood. Originally a tree was planted for every British soldier killed in the 1982 war, but it has since been expanded to include all those killed while serving in the Falklands.
A view of the Memorial Wood and the Narrows.
I had a couple of hours to kill in town as I was planning on attending the FIODA (Falkland Islands Operatic and Dramatic Association) Variety Show at the Town Hall. A sandwich at the West Store Cafe and a cider at the Vic easily passed the time before I could take my seat for the show. With my long history in the theatre, I'm always fascinated to see local amateur dramatics and this show provided the expected variety. I think the highlights included an original song composed by students from the Falkland Islands Community School and a comedy bit of Queen Elizabeth II giving a "State of the Union" speech to the Falklands. My real reason for going was the final act as Christine was in the group performing "The Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. They did a pretty good job, but as the only American in the audience (as far as I know) the accents did sound a bit odd. Mike and I had an ongoing argument about whether or not Shakespeare could or should be performed with American accents. Having done it several times myself, I naturally said that it could be, but hearing Chicago in a variety of British accents may have helped me see where he was coming from.

The Fourth of July dawned with snow. Incredibly breathtakingly beautiful snow. I spent most of the day at home working on transcription, but I headed to the Vic for Steak Night to celebrate a little bit. Is it ironic to celebrate Independence Day in one of Great Britain's last remaining colonies? 

The beautiful view from my house on July 4th.
My usual Steak Night crowd were nowhere to be seen, but I didn't have to eat alone. Christine and Ruth were there with a couple of CHC crewmen and some squadies from Hillside. I ended up staying until closing enjoying some excellent conversation - I even managed to get into an argument about military history! The guys were rather impressed when I demonstrated that I did actually know what I was talking about and could name various tanks and weapons. Snow was falling as I headed home to Skype with my mom, promising poor conditions for the planned excursion to Goose Green.

Unsurprisingly, when Thursday morning came my guide called to say the outing was postponed until next Tuesday since the roads were so dangerous. I also had no interviews scheduled as Farmers' Week had kept most potential interviewees very busy. Another day of transcription.