Snapbacks in Tasiilaq
The following post contains excerpts from my travel journal, replete with stories and photographs, from my time spent throughout the settlements of East Greenland in June of 2016.
Day 5. June 7th, 2016.
After scarfing down the rest of my pasta-goulash-canned-vegetables at a little past two in the morning, I woke up naturally around 10am—another solid night’s sleep.
I immediately popped on the electric kettle, since I knew this Greenlandic version of an AirBnB had some instant coffee in the cupboard due to the previous night's raid for something to eat, and I had bought milk from the Pilersuisoq the day before. I was pumped to feed my caffeine addiction, although I’m happy that I’ve significantly cut down on my coffee dependancy since leaving Canada.
I made breakfast— DrOetker frozen pizza of course—and then a man came to the door saying Lars sent him to take me to Tasiilaq, the de facto capital of East Greenland, with around 2,100 inhabitants, or, approximately eight times larger than the next largest place we’ve been to thus far.
I packed up my gear and walked over to Tinit harbour in three trips (I have a lot of camera gear) to load up the boat. On the way to Tasiilaq we stopped by an abandoned settlement with a dozen or so houses and a school attached to a church. The classroom was still littered with books and graffiti from travellers who have visited the site since the settlement bellied up in 1999.
The boat trip to Tasiilaq was much rougher than the previous rides. While before we were able to ride up and down the fjords to get to the settlements, for this trip we had to ride on the open sea, with large waves rocking little the boat side to side.
One benefit to being out on the open ocean was the icebergs you see are far larger than the ones in the fjords. I’m assuming only the really massive icebergs still survive the open ocean-- and by massive I mean they would have dwarfed cruise ships had they been placed side by side. These things were incredible pieces of nature, like their own snow and ice islands off the Greenlandic coast.
The first thing I noticed about Tasiilaq was the cars and paved streets. I have not seen a car in days; in fact, I had not seen one in Greenland at all until Tasiilaq.
A large container ship from the Royal Arctic Lines was unloading cargo at the harbour and lots of people were milling about the docks.
The locals in Tasiilaq are far more fashion conscious than in the settlements, as makeup, earrings and trendy clothing (for what my sense of it is anyway, if any) became obvious almost immediately.
Snapbacks worn backwards and died, ambré hair are common in Tasiilaq, East Greenland’s city of sorts. There is more than one store, and even a restaurant or two, and I’ve counted at least five trampolines here (I still have no idea why trampolines are so popular here, but it’s pretty amazing).
The town is also clean, without heaps of garbage strewn about the pathways, and it had central plumbing and running water, all significant luxuries for eastern Greenland. I was able to even hop online for thirty minutes in the late afternoon to check emails and make sure things back at home were okay.
I walked around the town in the evening, stopped for some groceries (the Pilersuisoq had a lot more options here), and spent the evening chatting with a team of Spaniards staying at the same guest house about travelling across Greenland and how to successfully follow one's passions in life.
It’s just past midnight now as I write this post and the sun recently went down behind the mountains; tonight’s sleep will be in a real bed.
Tomorrow morning I'm going to take the ferry back to Kulusuk Island and hop a flight in the evening to Nook, Greenland's capital city.I have no plans for Nuuk yet, but I'm looking forward to flying low over Greenland's famed icecap.