Saturday, 29 May 2010

Greenland blog 04: scrum in the fjord

Kangerlussuaq airport, looking down the fjord, Greenland. Image copyright Margaret Sharrow, 2008

Having landed, my perspective changed back to that of a land-dweller, and I was dealt my first and only disappointment in Greenland: it suddenly looked all too much like the Scottish highlands. Why had I bothered to come so far, at such expense, I thought peevishly, when I could have stayed in the country I love and call home, and seen much the same scenery? Now this narrative is not meant to be about my own psychological blips and foibles, but forgetting that I’d spent a less-than-luxurious night on a bench in the food court at Copenhagen airport, my perspective was a little skewed at the sight of ruddy snow-capped mountains rising up on either side of the airstrip, a fjord stretching away very much like a sea-loch in Wester Ross. What wasn’t obvious from my perspective was just how long the fjord was (190 km, nearly three times as long as 65 km Loch Fyne, Scotland's longest sea loch), which accounts for the climate in Kangerlussuaq being somewhat warmer and more stable than almost anywhere else on the west coast, except for the similar fjord at Narsarsuaq, which is much further south.

There wasn’t much time for negative thinking, as action was called for: we emerged down a staircase directly onto the tarmac (ah, this was what flying was like in the 1960’s) and walked less than a hundred metres to the terminal, passing a sign with fingerposts giving the distances to Moscow, London, Washington, etc. Once inside the claustrophobically tiny terminal there was no attempt at customs but an immediate scrum inside the duty free. Toblerones, cigarettes and especially alcohol flew off the shelves while staff at two tills stoically coped with queues bursting in and out the turnstiles. I was worried about my luggage in the hold, or missing my next plane, but needn’t have been; by the time I emerged clutching a single bottle of white wine (encased in some ingenious Scandinavian fishing-net type plastic mesh to prevent breakage) my bag had been magically transferred and it was time for a gentle stroll back onto the tarmac, and to board a Dash-7 standing ready, bound for Nuuk.

26 August 2008 09:49 recalled 8 January 2011


then lope over to my Greenland blog

and stay tuned for another episode tomorrow!

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