After two days of travel I am in Ilulissat. My two days of travel were first to Oslo, and then Copenhagen where I met with Lena, Bianca, and Jessica. Copenhagen has a nice feel to it. Perhaps I will come back someday. The flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland took much longer than I realized. Naively I thought it was a flight of just an hour which shows how terrible my geographic knowledge is. It is more like four and half hours plus a shift through four time zones. From Kangerlussuaq we bundled onto a prop plane for the short hop to Ilulissat.
Ilulissat is the third largest city in Greenland located at 69 N, so there are a few hours of night here, and has a population of around 5,000 people. Allegedly there are as many sled dogs as people, but I take that with a grain of salt living as I do in a place where people still insist there are more polar bears than people (false).
It is disorienting. The landscape is like and not like Svalbard. While there is a similar barrenness in the lack of trees and shrubs, there is so much shield stone. Beautiful, ancient rock — some of the oldest in the world — and most of the houses are built on that igneous rock instead of posts going into permafrost. And of course, the icebergs.
I am sharing a hotel room with Lena and Tamara, and we have a balcony facing the water which is beautiful. We can see the mountainous chaos of icebergs issuing from the face of Sermeq Kujalleq, a glacier front of the Greenland ice cap. We can see small fishing boats zipping around the massive and not so massive icebergs floating in the harbor. We can see cruise ships at anchor waiting their turn to land their groups of tourists.
I am different from them only in a matter of degree. Like them, I have also come to marvel at Greenland’s natural beauty. I am a tourist here, and saying that we are a small group, we are artists come for the purpose of making art, that our interest in this place is more serious and deeper, is just so much self-justification. We have traveled far and are here for the same chance to see wonders and marvels. We are strangers, and just because I also live in an Arctic land, I do not live in this Arctic land. This is not my place. So I will work as hard as I can to make it worthwhile because I know I am so very privileged to be here, in this extraordinary country, among these natural wonders. Kalaallit Nunaat. What an astonishing place.
Tomorrow will be a lot of walking. There is so much to see before we it is time to embark on Skydancer.