Just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get any cooler, two of Erik’s Eskimo friends dropped by for a visit. Erik expected them to show up at around noon, but instead arrived by dogsled somewhere around midnight. Evidently, Eskimos have little need for clocks – especially in the long night of winter.
I don’t know the spelling of the names of these two people, but his name was pronounced Cah-go, and hers was Ta-beet-ah. I think they were about 28 years old. He had been educated in Copenhagen but had decided to move back to Greenland after completing school. He spoke Danish and Inuit, she spoke only Inuit, Erik spoke English and Danish, and I speak only English. This meant that anything we shared was translated from English to Danish to Inuit and back again. It was really cool to hear my words spoken in Inuit.
The two of them were quiet, introspective, and in no hurry to do much of anything. I asked them what they were going to do tomorrow. They looked at each other for a few seconds and then back at me and shrugged. They had no plans whatsoever. They seemed not even to make much of the concept of today and tomorrow. I asked them where they came from. They pointed into the blackness on the other side of the frozen Baffin Bay. I could not see a thing in that direction, so, I asked them how many people lived in their village. They talked among themselves for several seconds and held up seven fingers.
Erik eventually broke out his Walkman and we took turns listening to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell CD. As if this wasn’t fabulous – and hilarious – enough, the hash under glass helped make things even more surreal. (Disclaimer: I never inhaled – and even if I had I’m sure I would not have enjoyed it.) 😉
UPDATE! I just received this e-mail:
My name is Johnny Jensen and I am from Qaanaaq and I believe u know where is Qaanaaq.
That picture from nearby Thule air base, I knew them and they live here in Qaanaaq..
That man in picture he´s name is Qaaqqutsiaq Kristiansen and he´s wife Tabitha Kristiansen
Inussiarnersumik Inuulluaqqusillunga / Med Venlig Hilsen
Amazing! So now I know the names of the people in this photo, and of the existence of a very cool Greenland website!