St. Helena – Island Life

Island Life is nothing like Mainland life. At first it didn’t seem that different. People driving cars, shops lining the streets….it could in fact have been any little harbour on a coastline. And then….
1. We drove up to a point on the Island where we could see the Atlantic Ocean on all sides. As far as the eye can see, there is only water. There is not even the hint of a little vessel anywhere on that outstretched expanse. (This is much further than we can see from Shang Du while sailing). The horizon is kilometres and kilometres away. It made us feel very small.
2. We realised that every single one of the 4000+ cars on the island were brought in by boat. We had a fun time reading number plates. All the plates had only numbers on them, no alphabet letters. The search was on to find the lowest one. Each time we found a lower number than last time, we took a photo. We thought that it was really cool when we found number 9, but just before the end we managed to take a photo of number 1! This was, of course, not the original number 1, as the saints were quick to tell us . It really is surprising to find not only very old models, but also some of the latest cars on St. Helena. I can just imagine one saint waiting for another to import a newer model so that one day he could buy it off him. Apparently cars just keep on and on and never leave the island.
3. We read in the little local paper (bought at a video-rent store), that there were 5 traffic incidents reported over the Festive Season (of which only two were collisions).Crime is practically non-existent, with the exception of sexual misconducts. The types of crimes people land in jail for are substance abuse, under-aged sex and paedophilia. They haven’t had a murder for years – there is just nowhere to run to. We were never fearful that anything of ours would be stolen. We always left our dinghy and outboard motor unguarded on town trips. The Island of St. Helena is like a very small community in which everybody knows everybody else. You will always be caught out in the end.
4. We learnt that the address for any parcels sent to St. Helena, is:
St. Helena Island
South Atlantic Ocean
5. We received a very generous gift from our local tour guide – Robert Peters – on the day following the tour: a piece of honeycomb made by his very own bees. Surely it is normally the other way round? “Robert, we loved everything about your tour. It was easy to see that you love your Island and you bring a unique character to the stories you tell. Thank you very much.”
Oh yes, when asked if many people play golf on the Island, he said: “Oh Yes, more than a hundred.”
6. We found that we could buy out-of-date merchandise right off the shelf. They were all marked down considerably and well worth buying. We bought some Sprite Zero tins at R2 a piece. The normal price was R13.60. (No side effects yet). 
7. We could use our VHF radio to contact the Tourism Buro. No cellphones at all.

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