Saturday, September 19, 2015

St. Helena, the isolated island of Napoleon’s exile, now has an airport.

I've always been a sucker for geography, so when The Guardian reported that St. Helena, one of the most isolated spots on the planet, finally could be reached by plane

Remote St Helena island welcomes first flight

A new era arrives for the south Atlantic island of St Helena, one of the remotest places in the world, as it waves goodbye to the mail ship and welcomes its first flight.

In 2012, a writer in search of Napoleon took the boat, as people have been doing since the island was discovered around 1502.

St. Helena, ‘Cursed Rock’ of Napoleon’s Exile, by Anthony Mancini (New York Times)

... After a five-day sail and one day in the port of Cape Town because of engine trouble, we had reached our destination, St. Helena island. This basalt outcropping of land in the South Atlantic, surrounded by thousands of miles of water and not much else, was where, after years of searching the haunted houses of history and literature for Napoleon’s ghost, I would finally find him. It was on this remote island that the deposed emperor was exiled and died.

Mancini mentions South African beer, so here's a happy ending note:

Where to Eat and Drink

 ... If you have the opportunity, do try local St Helenian cooking. Typical dishes reflect the many historical influences of the Island: Portuguese, British, Southeast Asian, Malagasy, Chinese and African. Many dishes are variants of international favourites, but you’ll find that “Saints” add their own twist. And it is often a fiery twist, as the Islanders like to spice it up! Popular traditional dishes are St Helena fishcakes, battered or grilled tuna, grilled wahoo steak and meat or poultry curries and pilau (called plo locally).

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