Wandering around Iqaluit
Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
8Trip End Sep 09, 2009
Sept. 4: See Brian's dogs
Sept. 5: Rent an ATV
Sept. 6: Spa? Eat arctic char, caribou and/or muskox
Sept. 7: Shop for art
Sept. 9: Leave
The first thing you see when you land in Iqaluit is a giant yellow structure, apparently the airport... It's pretty comical, but it alludes to the architecture in the rest of the city. It seems to all be made of modular structures put together like a puzzle to make one giant superstructure. Very frequently, they are painted with very bright, rainbow colours
Heather's condo is no exception. The bright blue building beckons to you from downtown, making it easy not to get lost. Thankfully for me. Ha.
Heather met me at the airport, and kindly brought my luggage up to her place on her lunch break. She lives just off of the famous "Road to Nowhere".
"So what are your plans for the day?"
"Oh, I don't know, I have this sort of sketchy list here..."
"Well we can make Arctic char tonight!"
Eating Arctic char, caribou and musk ox, are on my list of must-dos.
"Sweet, I guess I'll go buy something and bring it back for dinner?"
"Yeah, check the prices before you promise anything..."
"Haha, I'm sure it's fine."
So I ramble off the other things I want to do, including meeting one of Brian's dogs
"I guess I'll go climb that mountain and then roam around the city."
Heather agrees that's a good idea, and she goes back to work.
I have two people to call. Tavis, another Couchsurfer, who couldn't host me but wanted to go on some adventures, and Amy, the owner of Aruat.
Tavis says he'll call me back later tonight, but Amy's not there.
So I set out to explore Iqaluit on foot.
I climb up the mossy hill just in front of Heather's doorstep. The sky is threatening rain, but I ignore it. Someone put a makeshift cross at the top, vaguely reminding me of Montreal.
I look around and try to decipher the landscape
Everything is otherworldly in this place! The Inuktitut language reminds me of Thai, completely indecipherable to my untrained eyes. Thank God, everyone speaks English too. I wander around in search of something interesting to do.
Outside of Arctic College, there is a cute sculpture park that I found. Whimsical would be the best way to describe it. I hope to stumble across the tourism office, but no luck. I give up and decide to go buy something for dinner. I'm also curious to check out some of these crazy produce and food prices I've heard so much about. The price that takes the cake for me, is a $40 box of chocolate covered almonds! I mean, I know chocolate is great and everything, but how can you justify spending $40 on some of it? I opt for the $2.50 box of chocolate covered raisins and later find out that they are completely unedible! I guess you really get what you pay for around here.
I get some "reduced rack" produce for a little higher than normal price. A few tomatoes and plums for $10
I ask the cashier: "So I heard there was a beach around here."
She looks at me with laughing eyes and a big smile, "What KIND of beach?"
"Oh you know, with sand and stuff."
"Ohhhhhhhhhhkay, just go behind the store and keep walking..."
The tide is out and there are all kinds of boats stuck in the dock. I put my stuff down for a bit and go out for some exploring. The seabed is muddy and the consistency is that of white glue. Predictably, this doesn't drain water too well, so there are puddles the size of small lakes everywhere, I hop and skip and jump around them, finally getting to my destination, Frobisher Bay. I splash my hands around in it, just to say I did it, and I pull them out about to turn blue. Holy CRAP the water's freezing
I dry off and head back, catching a glimpse of what I THINK is the back of the tourism office. It's smurf blue and oddly shaped, that's gotta be it.
By now, it's drizzling rain. I really hadn't thought about what I might do if it really rained. I left the shell of my jacket at Heather's house. If there is anything like a downpour, I'm screwed! I get to the tourism office and art museum just in time for the downpour. Hanging out for a bit, I walk back to Heather's house, pretty exhausted and wait for her to get back home so we can cook some delicious dishes.
Heather didn't take the fish out of the freezer, so we opt for spaghetti instead. I cook some fresh sauce with the tomatoes I bought, and we chow down before going to meet Travis at the Storehouse Bar.
This is the place to go if you are looking for nightlife. You will find disheveled Inuit youth hanging around the front, smoking, and a bunch of lumberjack looking men drinking and eating various types of takeout while getting drunk together in a bar that is vaguely designed to look like a contrived wilderness lodge
By the time we get there, Travis and his friend Jeremy are absolutely smashed. I ask them how much they had to drink:
"Only two beer," mumbles Jeremy.
"Oh, right... just curious," I say, skeptically.
Heather and I share a Keith's and talk about Jeremy and Travis' job as teachers at the local high school. They are not going to the Hey Rosetta show, because they will be out of town at a friend's cottage. They are getting there by boat, and I'm not invited... even though I try to invite myself.
Our conversation doesn't last very long. I was looking forward to seeing the Legion and the people who frequent that watering hole. Someone had told me this was the REAL place to go for the real night life.
Another bar for another night I guess.