Monday, July 30, 2007

Invasion of cats!

Over the past couple of days, I seem to have been stumbling across stuff to do with cats all over the place.

The other day, on CBC radio, I heard about Oscar the cat. Oscar lives at a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island, and can apparently sense when people are going to die. He regularly curls up next to patients a few hours before they pass away. For a harbinger of death, he's incredibly adorable.

I also stumbled upon this site of pictures taken by a "CatCam" hung around the neck of Mr. Lee the feline. It takes shots randomly throughout his day.

I'm not sure if this is frightening or hilarious - a little bit of both, I think. Those tiny, cute kittens look terrified - as they should be. No doubt, the next legislation Harper introduces will endeavour to help the homeless by feeding them those kittens. (Sorry, that's going a bit too far - Harper clearly doesn't care that much about poor people.)

Luckily, as far as I know, despite all of these cat-related phenomena, no cats have been struck by lightning recently. The same, however, can't be said for caribou.

Anyway, here's a picture of Minty, one of my brother's cats, who I miss terribly (although I can't say I miss her shedding).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Simpsons avatar

The new Simpsons movie isn't playing in Iqaluit, but that didn't stop me from making myself a Simpsons avatar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Foggy summer

The fog and cold this week have been hanging onto Frobisher Bay this week like the swarms of giant Nunavut mosquitos on my exposed skin. The forecast isn't calling for sun or temperatures above 10 degrees for the forecastable future. The last nice day we had was Parks Day on Saturday, which was fun. You can check out Kate Nova's great photos here. I ate bannock from the bannock-making competition, took a geology walk, listened to throat-singing (super cool!), and watched inuit games, such as the high-kick:Saturday night I got to hang out by a campfire with fellow members of the Iqaluit Rank Amateur Fishing Society (IRAFS). The interesting thing about campfires up here is that you scavenge for scrap wood in town, instead of for twigs in the forest - since there are no forests - so the fire was made up largely of old two-by-fours with nails in them. It looked like this:Speaking of fishing, I did make it out again on Sunday to fish, but it was cold and windy, and once again the only bites I had were getting my lure snagged on the rocks. We have found a new fishing spot, which is pretty nice. Here's some photos from about a week and a half ago:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Accidental modern art

The other day I took a walk along the industrial road that I can see from my apartment, and leads to the prison. Not exactly a touristy route, but I did find some neat industrial waste, including this big, twisted bit of metal that looked like a modern art sculpture. I liked it so much, I took a picture of it from different angles:

From sunshine to fog

Well, it reached a balmy 18 degrees here in Iqaluit this week. Unfortunately, it's now turned colder and grey - last night a fog rolled in off Frobisher Bay. The good news is that the ice has completely left the bay - it's been gone for about a week now. I took these pictures last week:
Notice the sealift boats and barges:Compare those images to the pictures I took 2 weeks ago, not long after I'd arrived in town.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My mail now has a home

The other day, after a week of waiting, the good people at Canada Post granted me a Post Office Box of my very own. For those who don't know, there are no real street addresses here. Having street names at all is fairly new to Nunavummiut. Buildings are referred to by their house number (which makes finding anything really hard). So, a P.O. Box is essential. For today's blog post, we take you on a trip to my P.O. Box.

Here's the front of the Post Office. Inside it's very nice, with clocks telling you the time in London, Iqaluit, and Los Angeles - you know, the important cities of the world. Inside, there's a nice red lobby filled with P.O. boxes. However, that's not where my P.O. box is.
To get to my P.O. Box, you need to go to the addition they built just for P.O. boxes around the side of the building. It is considerably less pleasant, but I guess when you're new to a frontier town, you should be happy to have a place for your mail at all.There it is! At last! My hard-earned Post Office Box! Isn't she beautiful? So what are you waiting for? Send me goodies to: P.O. Box 11033, Iqaluit, NU, X0A 1H0*.

*Oh, the 1H0 also marks me as a newcomer, as most people in town have an 0H0 postal code.

Friday, July 13, 2007

News from the south

Although the clouds rolled in over Frobisher Bay yesterday, I'm still pretty happy to be up north. In part because there seems to be alot of bad news coming from down south.

Sadly, Honest Ed Mirvish passed away. His funeral is today. If someone would like to send me up a porcelain Elvis bust from Honest Ed's in his honour, I think Ed would approve.

Not only that, beer is being tampered with!* I'm outraged! Although, to be honest, I would kill for a Stella. Or anything that's not in a can and not Labatt Ice or Coors - which is about all you can get up here.

*Note: I love that the article linked to above felt the need to provide the pronunciation of Artois: (AR'-twah)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Belated Nunavut Day

I almost forgot to mention - Monday was Nunavut Day. I got a collapsible plastic fishing hat and some sealskin key chains that were being given out by the government of Nunavut. I just missed, out, however, on the cotton fishing hats with the mosquito netting, which would have been a major score. I also missed out on partaking of the muskox burgers being served by the premier and the "country food" feast, featuring raw shrimp, arctic char and seal. But it was cool to hang out amongst it all, and I did manage to take this picture of what I believe is the seal waiting outside of the cadet hall to have its skin removed in order to join the feast (either that or it's the parts of the seal that aren't eaten all wrapped up):Also, general rocking out ensued:

Arctic Sun

We're having a beautiful week here in Iqaluit (note: if you want to say Iqaluit like an Inuk, pronounce it "Ik-al-oo-eet", not "Ik-al-uh-it"), with bright sunshine filling the seemingly never-ending sky. Sunday, i got a chance to go fishing for Arctic Char. Despite my years of vegetarianism, I believe the fish could smell my blood-lust for their fishy deliciousness, and refused to be caught. But there's nothing wrong with spending hours by the waterfalls of the Sylvia Grinnell river, at the territorial park near town.

As we walked to the river, chunks of ice sit on top of a field of smooth round rocks, like spaceships that just landed:The landscape there was amazing:
Kate Nova casts her line:Finally, here's the obligatory shot of an inukshuk:

Sunday, July 8, 2007

On the town

My first week in Iqaluit has consisted of spending a few hours each day doing work for my ESL teaching course, drinking tea, and going out around town for walks and errands. On Thursday, I went for a walk around town that took me along the waterfront, which is a cool assortment of old boats and metal storage containers. Frobisher Bay, right now, is basically a giant field of broken ice; although in the distance you can see some big ships lingering, as if anticipating the clearing of the final chunks of ice so that they can get closer to shore.

Anyway, for those back home (aka "down south") who might be wondering what it's like up here, the green building on the left is where I live:This is the sign on the road into town from the airport; notice the Inuktitut writing on the speed-limit sign:
This husky, I believe, is thinking "yum, fresh Torontonian!"
This is the Iqaluit waterfront. Or should I say "ice-front"?There's Iqaluit, there behind the chunks of ice:...and from above:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rocket to the Moon

On Monday, after taking off from Ottawa airport, the plane went above the clouds and, eventually, land appears below. At first, there's so much water, and the land such a light translucent gray, I think we're above water with icy patches. But soon I realize, yes, it is land - land that's barren and sprawling, woven with lakes and rivers, where not a speck of road or building or human is to be seen throughout the flight.

More and larger patches of brilliant white snow appear as I go further north. The undulating patches of white almost look as though they're alive.

Surprisingly quickly, we've left the land, left northern Quebec, and are over water as the plane approaches Nunavut. The ice is broken up in crystalline shards. It looks like a starry cosmos below - it's amazing. There's less and less ice, though, as we go further out to sea; soon only little lines of bright white specks follow the currents. Then, just the open sea of the Hudson Strait.

Then, I'm there: Baffin Island.
It looks like this (at least, from the plane):

And finally, if you look closely in the middle, there it is - Iqaluit, my new home:I've spent the last couple of days getting settled: having my eyes pop out of my head looking at prices at the grocery store; getting on the waiting list for a P.O. Box, and going for walks around town. I took some pretty decent pictures yesterday as I walked near the waterfront; I'll post those later today or tomorrow. This weekend, I'm supposed to go camping, which should be great! Stay tuned.