Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nanortalik, Greenland

My wake up call comes at 5:10, and I only barely fight the urge to roll over and ignore it. The sight of brilliant blue sky outside my window helps, and I quickly shower off two days of travel grime, grab coffee and start wrestling with my luggage some more. I am the sole passenger aboard a mammoth Vietnam War ear Sikorsky helicopters operated at no small expense by Greenland Air. There's even an inflight meal service, a single candy mint in a brown wrapper.

I wonder if the pilots feel badly about burning through Danish currency reserves at such a pace. We fly well above the surrounding mountains and bays filled with ice, into one small village where we land and keep the rotors turning while two more men scramble aboard, and then circle back to land at Nanortalik

Niels greets me, the retired schoolmaster standing very straight and purposeful. He's all business and energy, in some contrast to a ragged crowd of Greenlandic Natives, who gather in a rough circle before parting. A man gives a hard, not altogether welcome kiss to a struggling woman before walking away. As the helicopter lifts off, slowly backs up 100 feet and then banks off climbing, the passengers and send-off committee never stop waving.

No comments: