Wed March 10
Our flight departs early from Ottawa, touches down in Montreal, before continuing to Kujjuaq in Northern Quebec. Usually, I’m annoyed with the delay of deplaning but this time, the plain airport lounge was invigorated as a fascinating people watching theatre. It’s the first time I’ve ever see Inuit and I’m thrilled....ladies are wearing long Mother Hubbard dresses, 'amautiit' (I learn the name of this traditional women's parka later), men in unzipped skidoo suits, kids bawling out to each other, running between adult legs, dark shiny black hair, brown faces, laughter and sound of joy, relatives, friends, hugging, greeting each other in the airport – at 6’ tall, I felt like a giant, sticking out, miles taller than everyone else. No one took any notice of me and I absorbed the sights and sounds of these northern people.
Departing for Iqaluit, the plane flew across frozen Hudson Straight. All is white and blue below, solid ice far as the eye can see. Sitting cozy and warm inside the First Air 727, it is hard to imagine what awaits. Finally, Iqaluit at 2:30pm…here I am! Wow, its cold outside and only –25C with a very light wind. We taxi around town ($3.50 for a ride anywhere) for a peek a boo view of town. After checking out the Coop Store for carvings, we gallivant on to the Northern Store. Grocery prices are exorbitant – 4 litres of milk cost $10.98, about 3.5 times what I pay in Hamilton.
After a hearty steak dinner at the Navigator Inn, we trundle over to the Grinnell building, meeting Aaron and Nicole, teacher friends of Pascal’s, who have generously offered to put us up overnight. Chattering late into the night about life in the north, I eventually fall asleep. The floor is comfortable enough after this exciting day. Wow, it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m really here!