Tropical treasure trove
I should go to jail, people suggest. It’s an important tourist destination. Everybody, it seems, wants a ukulele. And the word is that the best are made by prisoners, of whom – when I visit – there are only six.
The most common offences are related to burglary or driving – a jailer says these are sometimes compounded by alcohol abuse. The culprits are commonly kids who’ve lived in New Zealand and slid into bad company.
So they end up in the slammer – and make ukuleles.
Some shops also sell the instruments but many of theirs come from the prison too – with mark-ups.
Mind you, there are cheaper souvenirs: a $3 note and an eight-sided coin.
This is a nation with no traffic lights, a mobile phone company called Kokanet, and plenty of long white-sand beaches. As a Brisbane visitor tells me outside the prison: “I’ve been to beaches in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, but these are