Today marks British Summertime and Easter Sunday, but the weather and its unpredictability has forced me indoors. I thought I’d use the time productively to update my Falkland Island journal from 1988. I urge any new readers to read An Ill Wind, the first ‘chapter’ of this personal voyage in order to understand the context.
Thursday 26 May 1988, Koei Maru 30
Yesterday I got $900 which was about £500. I hope I don’t spend this in Montevideo. I will be right pissed off if I can’t get subsistence.
It is a miserable day, but fairly calm. I will miss Port Stanley. I do miss Deb. I can’t wait to go home.
Meeting with Sam, John, Abe ‘Radar’ – Total farce – John is a fool, he has no command of the situation, he didn’t take control. I am sitting with Jim, some hours after our departure from Port Stanley. A poignant moment. Sad.
Leaving Port Stanley can be painful.
Friday 27 May 1988, Koei Maru 30
Mellow music, mellow mood – I am surprisingly happy. Martin Stephenson can see me through.
Not so happy now. I have just watched ‘Platoon’ on video. It is a clichéd but nonetheless depressing film. I am now ready to sleep. I am scared of montevideo, it could be quite a dangerous place and I am always a coward. I pray I don’t get any trouble. Wrote to Deb and Gavin.
Japanese wine – bloody horrible.
Saturday 28 May 1988 Koei Maru 30
Pulled off the first of my calendar tags that I made.
Had a ‘conference’ with Mr Chiba (the Captain) and ‘Radar’ (the radio operator). It seems that the KM30 intends to leave here by August 30 at the latest, after only 80 days fishing in the zone. I have the task of being the man on the spot and telling John and John that 120 days looks out of the question.
Sunday 29 May 1988, Koei Maru 30
Pay day tomorrow, actually the day after tomorrow.
‘Down and out in Beverly Hills’ – good film. Little Richard remains extremely cool.
The moon is almost full and very bright. It is much warmer here, but still no sight of South America.
Monday 30 May 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel
Arrived at last – we’re here and I can’t believe it.
A long wait in a shyte hut.
It was cold – Jim had problems with customs.
It is cheap here – only $27 for a reasonable hotel. Meals out here are pretty cheap too. Jim and I ate out and I paid on Visa.
I can’t understand it.
Tuesday 31 May 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel
Now, let me write with a straight head. We waited in a derelict dock customs gate for some three hours in the cold rain, before the Japanese agent finally sorted something out. Jim in the end will have to pay $25 for his camera. Rip-off.
We saw the customs man accept bribes from an African crew. Two tins of sardines. It was shameless and very funny. It is kind of expected here.
I slept very badly, because I was so very hot and dehydrated, but at least I am here, and have survived the ordeals of the first day.
I must keep a tab on my spending. See p.94.
The cars and trucks here have to be seen to be believed – out of the ’30s ’40s and ’50s. We were given a lift by the agent in a huge Mercedes.
There is no highway code, or so it seems. The whole place is a ‘Tintin’ adventure.
I went to the boat – not much seems to have happened there yet, except a few of the machines have been uncovered. I will return there tomorrow.
We wandered fairly aimlessly about, something I love doing in foreign cities, but Jim seemed to tire of it. He derives his pleasures in different ways to me. We inquired about trips to Iguazu falls.