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Greenland - August 1999

V. Blitz

We used to call them Eskimos, but now we call them Inuit, the word in their language which means "the people." I was only in one little town on the east coast for three days and there was nothing there but beautiful scenery, a small airport, a hotel and the Inuit village of Kulusuk. We flew in just as the sun was breaking through the clouds and were very lucky, because, on average, this part of Greenland has only eleven days without rain during the year, and we got two of them.

The first day, after checking into the only hotel, our tour group walked or drove to the village of about 300 people, heard the history and saw a drum dance performed by a very talented and expressive man, who was once written up in National Geographic Magazine. There are no paved roads here and the houses are built high on the rocky terrain with many steps to climb in the summer, because, in the winter, the snow builds up so high, the doors would become drifted over. Some of us hired boats to take us back to the hotel, a delightful trip because of the icebergs, some of which we circled to get pictures. There were no docks for the boats, neither at the village, nor at the hotel. At the village, we had to climb over slippery boulders to get to the boats, and at the hotel we docked on a narrow, rocky strip of beach, running the risk of wet feet.

At about 3:00 pm we had lunch, and the food is to die for. I had seal meat for the first time, and it tasted better than venison, my favorite. Their large meal is at lunch and they put out a large spread of many unusual dishes of different kinds of fish, as well as beef, pork and veal. After lunch, our group hopped into two vans and took a very bumpy half-hour ride to the highest peak around for hot chocolate and a view of their awesome mountains and the ocean with icebergs the size of houses. We watched as the clouds rolled in, and that was the last we saw of the mountain tops for the rest of the trip.

The second day, was overcast and rainy off and on all day. We had 13 in our group and most of them went on a boat ride to another village, about 80 miles up river. I stayed in my room, put my feet up, and stared at my beautiful view of mountains in the background and a bay in the fore, and watched the icebergs melt. This wasn't as dull and it may sound. I was still recovering from two weeks of insufferable heat in Italy and another two weeks of it in Rockville, Md., so this day was a cool blessing. This was my R & R day and I could not have been happier -- not so with everyone in the hotel. There were a dozen folks in the lobby with long faces because the plane on which they were expecting to depart these climes, was circling (we could hear it), but it couldn't land because of the low ceiling, so they had to spend another night.

Day three was overcast but with a high enough ceiling so our plane was able to land, and we left in the afternoon for Iceland, where we met the rest of our traveling companions.