Nowhere Land


The Economist sent a correspondent to the off-the-beaten path Ascension Island for a series of reports:

The fact that there are no native people on Ascension Island does not mean there are no native traditions. There are lots. Two of them have their physical manifestation at a road junction called One Boat. It has become the custom that when sporty types depart from the island, they leave their trophies inside the bus-shelter-like boat that gives One Boat its name, perhaps on the basis that they mean more on Ascension than anywhere else.

A few hundred yards away sits the rather garish lizard rock. The tradition here, a more longstanding one, is that if you are leaving Ascension and keen not to come back, you have to paint the rock, unseen, at night. It is a live enough tradition that some of the paint looks pretty fresh.

That both these traditions focus on departure is not that surprising. Departure is a central fact of Ascension life.