Value for money!

I wrote the other post, before I knew what I was in for. As much as the coffee and company was nice, it ended up being quite a day.

The plane that was to take me from Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat was delayed and then delayed some more.  Then I met some people who had waited 26 hours in the airport to get to Ilulissat; they were positive the airline would make an attempt because there was no room at the airport hotel for us. Right they were.

After four hours of waiting, our plane was called. We were to make a pit-stop in Aasiaat to change passengers, no problem. The trip is very short, 30 minutes. On arrival I was surprised that the plane was refueled,  as the trip to Ilulissat from Aasiaat only takes about 15 minutes and the Dash 8 can fly pretty far. Then the pilot stepped into the cabin and explained: the current weather in Ilulissat was crap, foggy, and we could not land there. Problem was, we could not stay in Aasiaat either as it had started to snow. If we stayed on ground, ice and snow was going to form on the wings and they do not have the gear to remove it in Aasiaat. So we needed to go. We were going to circle above Ilulissat and hope the weather would change. If it didn’t, we would be taken back to Kangerlussuaq for the night. This is where the pilot sported a bit of Greenlandic humor by saying: “If nothing else, you can say that you are getting value for money. You will be flying a lot today” – thanks.

We circled above Ilulissat alright. A lady counted the same lake 11 times, but she had a rest and missed a few rounds. Naturally I was hoping that the fog would ease so we could make an attempt at landing. I only have two days in Ilulissat to interview people, so losing a day would be a shame. I also kept thinking that it wouldn’t matter greatly. This is my first trip and I would get to the places I could get to. But I was sort of crossing my fingers that they would land.

That was until the first attempt. Ooooohhhh my Goooood. I sat under the wheel and all I could see was the wheel and white. Intense , thick, white. I kept thinking that we were the flying Titanic; we could hit a mountain with ice at any second.  The world was invisible. The plane dropped and dropped into the whiteness until suddenly the pilots changed their minds and took us back above the clouds, in a move that made my ears pop. Suddenly Kangerlussuaq seemed like the nicest place on earth.

We circled Ilulisssat for more than three hours. Another attempt was made, where we got to see the top of some houses through the white, but it was too hard to land. We had to return to Kangerlussuaq.

By then I was exhausted. I had been in airports and flying for more than 14 hours and was ready to call it a day. On arrival at the airport in Kangerlussuaq we were told to wait for 15 minutes and they would let us know what would happen. Then came the great surprise, where my smile turned stiff and I almost had a little word: we were going to make another go for it.

I will be honest and say I dragged my feet across the tarmac this time around, but the mood was pretty good as it seems the Inuit laugh at any given chance. They smiled and told jokes and even though I didn’t understand a word, it still lightened my mood. After a few more circles, we made a dive for Ilulissat and, lo and behold, landed. I was picked up by the hotel and our happy driver said “lucky you, you were not really that late”. Only 8 hours. Nothing to complain about. I had arrived on the actual date I was supposed to. Well, Hurray.

This is my hotel (red building with all the stairs on the outside) and the hotel view

Ilulissat in the fog

This is me in Ilulissat. I thought I’d give you some evidence that I am really here and didn’t just invent the whole thing.

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