Life on Mars – A claim to fame?

If you are back in Two Boats, you can get access to the other scenic road, the NASA road by continuing out up the hill towards Green Mountain and turning right.  Hidden away to the left in the Mexican thorn bushes are  The Two Boats which give the village its name.  These again are row boats stuck in the ground, and gave shade or shelter to naval crew carrying water down the mountain to Georgetown.  The only school on the island, also called Two Boats, is tucked round the back here and some of the only bus services ferry kids from the other settlements to here and back again each day.  The only other regular bus services are on a Friday and Saturday night to ferry drunk residents back from the clubs.

The main roads on Ascension are well maintained and relatively straight and this had given the opportunity for drunk drivers to race around after a drinking session, and then hit a donkey, another car or just miss that crucial bend and end up a wreck in the lava fields.  I got to know a lot about the road traffic accidents (or RTA) on Ascension.  On the first visit Edsel and I found out that visitor numbers were monitored by the Police Force as they were the ones stamping the passports of  people in an out of the country.  Knowing how many visitors were on island were good for the conservation questionnaires and surveys which monitored usages of footpaths, beaches or sites of interest.  So, as a bit of a bargaining tool to get hold of this information, I offered to help the police with their other data.  Police on Ascension generally only have minor offences to deal with and RTAs were the ones which took up the most time.  I managed to create a little database from their RTA spreadsheet and worked out how to map the information.  I struck up a good relationship with one of the constables there, Johnny Thomas, and we made some maps.  There was a patch of accidents happening on the main road between the US Base and Georgetown not far from the junction of Hogan’s Bypass.  I was partly proud that due to the mapping some road traffic calming methods we introduced.  I was also partly embarrassed because it was quite the topic of conversation.  Speed limit signs had gone up everywhere and close to the accident hotspot a whole series of signs told you to slow down, bend coming up, left turn, and wild animals.  Maybe a bit of overkill but these measures and the introduction of the bus service did bring down what had been a worryingly high incidence of accidents.  I did notice that on one stretch of road the speed limit in one direction was different from the limit the other way, but maybe that was intentional?

Getting back to the tour of the main roads, dropping down from Two Boats you find Travellers Hill.  I have spent much less time here than the other settlements; most of the accommodation and the NAAFI club  are around a semi circular road, similar to Two Boats laid out on a low density housing estate style, or perhaps a low rise hospital.  There were many more single person accommodations here, many of the Saints working for the base complained that the units were not really homely.  But so much of this accommodation was for temporary billets.

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