Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Tidbits

Its Tuesday night, John's off at choir, and the thermometer is dropping. I'm holed up in the hotel room, catching up on emails, etc. Here's four news / info tidbits about Iqaluit and our adjustment to life here.

1. BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE: The temperature is dropping. Since we've been here, the weather has been pretty decent (-10 to -15 and dry, except for the small blizzard last weekend), but I think we're heading into DA BIG FREEZE. Time to haul out the heavy duty parkas. I got myself a "Pangnirtung hat" ("when in Rome ...") which is proving very effective at keeping my noggin toasty warm. Everyone wears them here. Here's mine:

2. OUR SHIP HAS COME IN! Wow, just when Frobisher Bay appeared to be frozen in for the winter, lo and behold a big cargo ship shows up just outside the ice range, way out in the bay. (By the way, did you know we have the 2nd highest tides in the world here after Bay of Fundy? 30 ft+ tides). Apparently its a fuel ship. Which is pretty critical cargo here -- we LIVE off oil here, baby. Everything runs off the expensive fuel oil imported from the south. I don't even want the THINK about recalculating my carbon footprint right now. I have a horrible feeling that banana I ate this morning, for instance, is probably good for 1/4 tonne of oil in shipping in and of itself! (But get THIS: in Greenland, next door, they are growing their own bananas, in geothermal heated greenhouses. Plus alot of their other produce. We have some serious catching up to do).

3. SLOW DOWN, DON'T MOVE SO FAST! One of my colleagues just returned from two weeks in "the south" (Ottawa) and was marvelling at how fast and aggressive the pace was compared to the laid back pace here. (I know, don't laugh, OTTAWA of all places ... not formerly my idea of a fast paced town, as much as I love Ottawa). As an example of the pace of life: the town is considering lowering the speed limits. There is a stretch of road here (on the way to Apex) where, for about 200 metres, you can travel 65 km/hr. The consensus is that is WAY too fast. So they want to lower the speed to 40 km/hr, just like everywhere else in town. And of course, there are no freeways or highways going out of town... just those crazy 40km/hr dirt roads (plus our one dandy paved road which is more pothole strings than pavement).

4. WAITING FOR THE HOUSING GODS: Still no housing. We were offered a unit in Iqaluit's only highrise (an 8 storey building, formerly American army facility, appropriately officially named, "The Eight Storey Building"). We had to turn it down for a couple reasons (won't get into them here). So we still await the benevolence of the housing gods, whose complicated decision making process here is akin to a cross between the movie Brazil and the NHL draft pick process. We've been living in the hotel now for 20 days, so we are going a little stir crazy (John especially, who has to work out of the hotel room every day). I really really really really hope that we'll get a place at the end of the week or beginning of next. Cross your fingers and toes for us ...

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