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Falklands? What Falklands?


Platte Clove Road is the name of a dangerous, steep, twisting, narrow, precipitous, unrailinged route up the mountain to Tannersville, Haines Falls and Hunter, its approach well hidden between the back roads behind Woodstock and Saugerties. This mountain road is closed during winter, and only fools and natives risk it during the summer. (I qualify on both accounts.) Then during the flood rains a few weeks back, the hillside collapsed on to the main road up to Hunter, the even-more-twisted but generally wider and safer Route 23A. The result is that, although casual Catskills traffic is currently being diverted to different exits off the Thruway and different routes into the mountain area, every SUV owner with a weekend home in the Hills is attempting to navigate the treacherous Platte Clove Road. I’ve seen police cars patrolling the hill for the first time ever, and given my couple of close shaves with oncoming traffic, I’m counting the days until someone drops their Lexus over the edge and into the abyss below.

All this is a preamble to the fact that the traffic bodes well for an Argentinean family who’ve taken over a defunct business at the foot of the mountain and converted it into a deli-diner crossover called, appropriately enough, Tango. I had reason to pause in there the other day while trying to find someone who spoke English, and used that time to study the vast modern map of Argentina that lined one wall. I was quite taken by its precision, the way it showed the vast nation’s many States in different colours, and I took the opportunity to see if I could learn some Argentinean geography beyond Buenos Aires and Mendoza. I did. I caught sight of the islands off the country’s east coast. You might have thought that the Falklands belonged to the UK, especially if you remember the vicious little war fought over them between the Tin Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman back in 1982. Not so, according to this modern map. There the Islands were, clearly marked out by their Argentinian name of the Malvinas and, in case anyone should question their rightful ownership, with an equally clear ‘(Arg.)’ in brackets underneath. And they wonder why England-Argentina World Cup matches occasionally get testy.

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