June 17, 2010

Exit Pang, Enter Qik...

Well, I've officially left Pangnirtung and, though I may have some teaching assignments there in the future, my home right now is the small hamlet of Qikiqtarjuaq, just north of the Arctic Circle. As a result, I can't stay at 'pang-bound'...instead, I'm putting together a whole new look. By the time I head north again, I will have a better site designed to keep you updated on my adventures - because 'adventures' is the only word you can use to describe anything in my life these days!

June 12, 2010

Time to look for dog poo...

And so the previous post was a midnight picture...this one is taken at noon. Not much of a change, I know.

Today I woke up and all I could think of was 'camping'. I had left the window open to air out all that nasty dog smell (which didn't entirely work BTW) and when I woke up, the dogs and I were wrapped like a chihuahua fajita with a cold nose.

Now that I have my coffee in hand, things are starting to look up. I still have to find some rogue spot of 'dog sickness' somewhere, but I'll keep my nose in my coffee cup until I start the search. I was so close to getting out of this housing unit without any serious dog emergencies!

Lesson: Be really careful with your garbage...I don't even know the extent of what was in there let alone what the two of them consumed. Now, if you can believe it, this is actually the cleaned up *censored* version of my place. Nasty.

More later...boxes await...

It still smells like vomit...

I just made it home, and this picture is one I snapped of Duval. It's not a masterpiece and I'm using a crappy camera, but I thought it would be nice to document what it looks like at midnight. It's actually brighter this picture makes out.

So this time next week I'll be in Qikiqtarjuaq. It's becoming more real now...I literally spent the last 12 hours at school doing work. Evaluations. Reports. Cleaning. Organizing. Blah, blah, the list goes on. But it's done now. I locked up the school at 11:39 and started the trek home.

Walking home tonight I realized that it was the first time I was actually out that late since I moved here 10 months ago. In Ottawa I was out until 2 am at least once a week, but here I don't think I've roamed around later than 7 pm (unless I had my skidoo). That certainly is an eye-opener to what my life is!

I unlocked my door tonight and was greeted not by just the dogs, but one of the most vile smells I've encountered in more than three decades. Nasty. You see, last night I had been cleaning out my fridge and cupboards of stuff that had expired; to fill up the bag, I added a bunch of the dogs' used pee pads (yes, they're house trained). Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out this morning. And there must've been something that smelled good. The butter wrapper was licked clean and there were rancid rice-filled grape leaves all over the kitchen. There was a soggy ginger snap halfway down the step and a big pile of vomit at the bottom. Nasty. Who knows what else they ate! Perhaps I'll find out later when it works its way out one end or the other.

I have someone from the housing office coming to inspect the place on Monday, and I have finally decided that it's not worth the stress of cleaning it out on my own. I'm just going to hire someone. I know that, for some, this is the height of laziness. I don't care. I refuse to feel guilty for starting my vacation and packing boxes is frustrating enough!

I'm working up to a sealift for this year; I couldn't face trying to buy everything in the north again. Using the company http://www.ishop4u.ca/ I'll actually be able to get the goods delivered by mid-August! Now that's impressive (and so is the price tag).

Hmmm...I would like to go to Greece.

Well, I guess that'll be it for today.

June 09, 2010

Today's post...

...my post today can be found here...

June 08, 2010

Yes, I'm procrastinating...

So I'm watching Hell's Kitchen...bizarre. It's like a loose tooth. It hurts when you push the root back against the gum, but for some reason you do it anyway. Chef Ramsay just railed a contestant for the quality of her poached egg. I guess if you want to walk you have to learn to crawl, but he's so nasty about it! And you know what? With that British accent, we let him. I call it the 'Simon Cowell Effect'. There you go.

Now that the snow is gone, The Beast is just a huge chunk of metal parked out by my garbage box. Good news, though. One of my students in on the Co-op's executive board and, last night, she stepped up. When I got the thing, I had so many problems. Pull cords, plugs, starters, sprockets...all of this and trying to figure out how to operate the thing. I was unsure of the terrain and too nervous to adventure up and down the mountains. Basically, for the entire dark season I stuck to the roads and scraped my skis to shit (not just the runners). Because of the crappy service I received last November, I'm going to get all the parts I need replaced...no restrictions! Saa-weet! That will be one last thing to focus on for the sealift.

Ok, I got lost on a tangent. The reason I started to mention The Beast in the first place was because, without it, I have to walk. That - along with the 24 hour sunshine - gives me so much time to check out the scenery. Pangnirtung Fjord. Mt. Duval. Those are two sites I see every day, and I will really miss them. In one week I'll be sousing out the sights of Qikiqtarjuaq.

Didn't I tell you this week's posts would wax poetic?

June 06, 2010

A few last looks...

The school year has officially ended here in Pang...well, classes have. I don't actually have much to do after that; I've kept up-to-date on my marking and supply-ordering, so most of what I have left is packing and prepping for the move. Fortunately, my job is going to take care of most of that stuff, but I'll still have to wrap the dishes and find a way to transport some pretty crazy dogs and artwork. The fantastic news is that I've convinced my employer to move 'The Beast' with no cost to me.

Yesterday a group of us went out to enjoy the weather for the day; it was sunny, warm, and a BBQ is just what the doctor ordered. I wasn't sure how the whole thing was going to turn out but, with a 'celebration budget' from the college, the group of us thought...why not?

This whole year has been such an interesting amalgam of 'firsts'. No matter how you look at it, you can never truly walk into a situation with an absolutely objective palate. I admit to having a few myself. For some reason, yesterday had me thinking about quite a few of them. Take, for example, the scenery. How many of you in the south think the word 'tundra' and imagine a flat, snowy desert. Be honest now. Isn't that what our high school geography teachers taught us? Now check out this...
This would be on the way up the mountain.

Walking through the town is always interesting. No one in Nova Scotia can dock a boat in quite the same way, nor can clothes be found stretched in a comparable fashion.

I suppose the next week or so of posts is going to be rather sentimental...the last vestiges of a year in a new community. I've lived in quite a few places and have gone through several waves of culture shock in my life and, despite the brushes with truly negative experiences, I would have to say that Pangnirtung was a great place to live for 10 months. For more than that? I guess I'll never know.

...one last look down on the hamlet of Pang spliced by the tiny airstrip, the crushed ice of the shore, the cuticle of the breakwater, and the background of the Cumberland Sound.

June 02, 2010

From Pang to Qik...

Up until this point, it hasn't really registered in my immediate consciousness that I'll be leaving Pangnirtung soon. There always seemed to be more classes to teach, more papers to mark, and just...more. Not so true anymore. I have exactly 2 more weeks here before my snowmobile, my chihuahuas, and my was too many books move to Qikiqtarjuaq. Qikiqtarjuaq, a small community north of Pang, is where I've been transferred. It seems weird to be leaving, but I'm looking forward to a new adventure.

First negative part about moving? I don't know anyone who can split a sealift order with me. I'm not really sure how much I will need, but I'm sure it'd be more cost effective to share a shipment. I'll need bunches of dog food, flour, and skidoo parts - all very expensive in the north - but, other than that, Canada Post can take care of.

Anyway, the time has come to log out...I have no creativity tonight.

Mt Duval...again.

Now that my parents have left and my qiniq subscription has been renewed, I have no more reason to stay away from this blog. You see, both of my parents had blogs to tend to when they were here and, when they weren't keeping in touch with the outside world, we were out doing things. This meant that I was able to go ages without logging in. Oops!

Ok, ok...I guess the last journey out was, again, to the tip of Mount Duval. As long-term readers might remember, I made it to the peak last August; it was the first time I was really able to appreciate the beauty of this place. I think I had been in Pang for about 4 or 5 days, and the panarama from up there was literally breathtaking. Up there, with the solitary road snaking hundreds of feet below, was definitely a new experiece...I've never really lived around mountains before.

Now, although the journey 10 months ago was excruciatingly steep (we missed the fact that there was a more gradual ascent in the back), this year there were other challenges to face. I was convinced that it would be easier now that I knew about the alternate path...I was sorely disappointed. Instead of the 4 hours it took last August, it took us 7 hours to complete the trip; thank god for PB and J sandwiches! This (on the right) is what most of the climb looked like...if you look really carefully at that picture, you can see me and the tiny figure of my dad farther along. Huge chunks of rocks everywhere. When this wasn't the view, then this was the view...
Isn't this an amazing view of Cumberland Sound and Pangnirtung from above? Beautiful. Although I'll be in Qikiqtarjuaq at this time next year, I think this is a picture that will stay with me. Pang has such a distinctive look (for me, at least), that it will be forever in my mind. Check it out...have you ever seen such a small chunk of land spliced with a teeny tiny airstrip which takes nerves of steel to land on? Seriously? There's nothing like the flight into Pang.

Anyway, back to the hike. Heading to the summit was so discouraging at times! We would be heading along a promising path until, all of a sudden, we were cut off with swathes of waist-deep snow. This led to a fair amount of doubling back and trying to find an alternate route. My parents were hell-bent on making it to the top, though, so I kept going with my mouth shut when my muscles started their husky mountain yodeling. It was always "just one more ridge". For anyone who's tried to climb it - which excludes a surprising number of locals - this frustrating characteristic is realized very soon. Just when you think you're almost at the top you reach a point which introduces a whole new stack of rocks to climb.

We did make it though...

Mom and dad got some awesome yoga pose pictures but, unfortunately, my camera died on the ridge below; I still have to scam the ones I like from my dad's new digital wonder.

Once we reached the top and drank some fantastic crystal clear water we scooped up from a stream, we had to face the daunting descent. Let me tell you: I was not looking forward to so much back tracking and circling. My feet and ankles hurt, my body was so tired, and all I could think of was the ton of homework I had to complete for the following day. So we took a few shortcuts. Yes, that's a picture of me sliding head-first down a patch of snow on a garbage bag. Now, the first time I tried this, it was great...with a smooth swoosh I was at the bottom. Somehow, though, the snow was different here and all I could do is pull myself along with my arms. I was laughing so hard I thought I wouldn't be able to make it past the first few meters.

That's Mount Duval on a beautiful Victoria Day weekend...I can't wait to see what Qik has to offer in the way of hiking opportunities!