One day, while flying your single-engine seaplane out over the Pacific, the electrical system shorts out, all of your electrical systems (including the radio) fail, and the engine dies. You are in a spot of trouble. Fortunately, as you are slowly gliding over the ocean, losing altitude at an alarming pace, you spot a small, low-lying, scrub-covered cay below you. Even better, it appears that someone has built a large radio transmission tower on the island. You quickly decide to land the plane on a sheltered bay on the south side of the cay, then make your way to the radio tower to in the hopes of calling for help.
After bringing the plane in, you pull out your hand guidebook of the Pacific to try to get a sense of where you have landed. According to the guidebook, this part of the Pacific is populated by several groups of people:
- European Colonizers. Over the last couple of centuries, a large number of Europeans have ended up settling in this part of the Pacific. They are always happy to chat with outsiders, and will always tell you the truth.
- HMS Abundance Mutineers. Or, more accurately, the descendants of the mutineers. At the end of the 18th Century, the crew of the HMS Abundance mutinied and, in order to avoid facing justice in England, settled in the nearby islands. While this happened more than 200 years ago, the descendants of the mutineers are still quite wary of outsiders, and will alway lie to you.
- Native Islanders. The natives of this part of the Pacific have been dealing with both colonizers and mutineers for centuries, and are pretty fed up with both of them. They don't really want to deal with outsiders, but, when forced, will do what they can just to mess with outsiders. Their favorite game to play it "Two Truths and Lie (and Another Lie)". When talking to outsiders, they will always alternate back and forth between telling the truth and lying to you.
According to the guidebook, there has been quite a lot of intermarriage between these groups. They all look and dress alike, and they all speak the same language (which happens to be fluent English, though each of the groups has some unique idiosyncratic linguistic features). The only way to distinguish members of a group is to talk to him or her and see how they answer your questions.
Hopefully, you won't have to deal with any of these folk.
You stow the guidebook, drag the plane onto the beach, and secure it to the one tree you can see with a long rope. You then start making your way to the radio tower along a level path which runs away from the the beach.
After walking for a few minutes, you come across a group of five islanders, who are standing at a fork in the road, and arguing about something (seemingly, the pronunciation of the word "ghoti"). Clearly, these guys aren't all members of the same group.
Drat. It seems that you are probably going to have to deal with some of the locals, after all.
Question: What is the least number of questions that you can pose to the members of this group of arguing islanders in order to determine the correct path to the radio tower?