For 216 days we have been perspiring sweat, blood and tears preparing ourselves for our eventful trip north. In 215 seconds we were left befuddled at what kids these days considered “sick” (cool was so yesterday).
Ok, so maybe not the most dramatic series of events leading up to our trip to Resolute Bay but it really just goes to show that no matter how prepared you think you are, it’s the little things that always inevitably make you cock your head in an awkward manner and mutter an equally awkward “Wha?”. So after a frantic afternoon of northern gear shopping (thank you MEC), bank straightening (thank you TD), food gorging (thank you Costco) and prize buying (Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, we can only thank you so much – your exuberant amount of awesome stuff makes our prize budget look like a small packets of peanuts trying to feed the elephant herd in Tarzan) we were finally ready to pack our bags and head up the great white north.
Our faithful journey started at the early hours of 9am from Ottawa airport to Iqaluit. Our check-in was uneventful save for the fact that the First Air service agent thought it amusing that the weight of Andrea’s bag was disproportionate to the remoteness of our destination. Let me tell you, 30 minutes before your flight departs is NOT a good time to be second guessing yourself. Andrew eventually soothed Andrea’s qualms and we were off for Iqaluit. Upon landing we had a 2 hour layover before our next flight to Artic Bay so we decided to be adventurous and endeavour out into the city. Our travels first led us to a map of the city – Jackpot. Except this was not map, it was a puzzle. Not only was it a puzzle, but an extremely confusing puzzle that after 15 minutes, we were more lost than when we hadn’t looked at the map at all. We eventually stumbled in the right direction and found ourselves at the local supermarket / tim hortons (we believe this is the exact same place that the pond inlet team also visited on their layover so check out their blog!). What we also found at the supermarket was culture shock in the form of sticker shock. Milk you ask? Well you’re in luck cause this week it’s on sale for 12 dollars a bag! 2 things this made us realize 1) how lucky we are to have such low food prices back in Ontario and 2) The amazing power that is planning and Costco – right now we’d choose them over batman and robin any day.
Our curiosity while in Iqaluit also proved to be one of the best traits we brought along with us. Whoever said that curiosity killed the cat didn’t hear about how these 2 kitties’ inquisitiveness led them to discover the purpose of the white, oddly shaped building in front of them. As we approached the windowless structure it turned out to be a local elementary school – Nakasuk Elementary school. We decided to enter and were floored when we talked to the principal. Turns out the principal, Brian Manning, was the previous principal of the school in Resolute and the person that brought QHO (Queen’s Medical Outreach at the time) into the community! While we sat there in awe and disbelief, Brian was very informative in telling us the history of the community and the lifestyle of the Inuit people. Not only did he prep us on what to expect when we got there but also gave us a very moving speech about the principles the Inuit lived by and how their way of life is the way of life that best fits them in their environment. After wishing us luck and answering our questions, he sent us on our way with some keepsakes and even an Inuktitut phrase book! See, curiosity didn’t kill the cat – the neighbour’s van did…Kidding!
Back on the plane we were, heading to resolute. On the way we stopped at Arctic Bay and picked up several cool magazines reporting about life up north. Around 7 o’clock local time (8 EST) we touched down in Resolute! Here we were picked up by our hotel manager Ozzy and driven back to our hotel. After hastily throwing our luggage into our rooms, we came down to the kitchen for our meal where we were greeted by 2 of the local kids. Having nothing better to do after dinner, we decided to go outside and play with them. It wasn’t long before their friends took notice of the 2 newcomers within the community and before we knew it we were swamped with kids – the community’s warm way of saying hello. Our adventure took us into the wee hours of the night (it was 10 o’clock but up here it’s currently 24 daylight season so 10 o’clock at night looked no different from 2 in the afternoon) before our exhaustion got the better of us and we were forced to retire. If our first 3 hours within the community was any indication of the rest of our stay, we were in for a very rewarding, very exhausting and absolutely amazing time.
Just keep on going and going,
The world’s longest lasting AA crew