Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rankin Inlet: ATV heaven

I have arrived in the treeless land of Rankin Inlet. It was a quick hour and a half flight with the view of endless lakes, big and small. From 29,000 feet some looked like puddles, while others spanned huge distances. The sun was shining, making the water shimmer like a lounge singers' sequin dress. On some of the larger bodies of water, there was still a thin layer of ice. The cracks made it look like a puzzle that's slowly being taken apart.
I sat alone on the plane, looking out on the tundra. There was room for 76 passengers, but there were maybe 25. I think a lot of them carried on to Iqaluit.

My first impression of the hamlet was the surreal sight of an elderly Inuit women loading her luggage onto an ATV. She then hopped on with, what I assume was, a family member and zipped off down the road. This afternoon, I have seen more ATVs than cars. Some roads are paved and others are gravel. My workmobile is a dark grey Toyota Rav4. It's actually too bad -- I think ripping around on an ATV would have added a whole new level of excitement to my adventure.

The Kivalliq News office is small, with one computer. The walls are covered in dozens of awards the current editor has won over the 13 years he's been up here. There's also a ton of hockey memorabilia: a Don Cherry figurine, pictures of Jordin Tootoo, framed stories about hockey and other such things. Darrell, the editor, has many tales to tell about my new home. He is originally from Cape Breton and he still carries with him a thick east coast accent. Tomorrow he'll be teaching me the ropes so I'm prepared for the next six issues of the paper. He let me have the afternoon off, so I spent my time wandering around town taking pictures. While I was out, I grabbed some groceries... and what an adventure that was! Of course I've read all of the stories and seen all the pictures of the price tags on food in Nunavut, but somehow I still wasn't prepared for what I saw. I ended up doing a lap of the entire Northern Store before I picked something up. I had to see that there was no such thing as reasonably priced food in order to get up the courage to take something off the shelf. The biggest shockers were 12 packs of pop ($20), 2 L of pop ($9), granola bars ($6 for five), 4L milk ($9) and small boxes of laundry detergent ($20). Yikes!

Since I'm staying at a hotel for my first few days, I couldn't buy much and I couldn't buy anything that required refrigeration, so it was a small shop. I did buy an electric kettle and a travel mug, though. I figure for the next few days I'll be living off instant oatmeal and Cup of Noodles. Nutrition will have to start on Monday when I move into the work house. At least there I'll have somewhere to put my "fresh" food.

Anyway, that's enough for today. Now it's time to catch up with special agent Dale Cooper.

I'll post photos later. My internet is lagging big time.

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