Friday, January 05, 2007

Tabby takes on the Great White North

Hey Everyone,

We just got in from a frosty long walk outside and, for me, sleep is not far. Still, I wanted to give my pals a shout out from 2 degrees north of the Artic Circle in Inuvik. We arrived up here on New Year’s eve. The trip was without incident and, much to our surprise, we were put to work almost immediately.

I can’t speak for the Bobcat, but I actually love it up here. I know what you’re thinking: how can it be that Tabby, the most cold-averse kitten on earth, is enjoying January in the Northwest Territories? I know, this fact has surprised even me. I guess when you are dressed for it, the cold is quite bearable. And trust me, I am dressed for it. I wear a full long john suit under my clothes everyday. When we go outside, as we did tonight, I put on 3-4 pant layers and 4-5 top layers. I also borrowed a pair of boots that are seriously the warmest I have ever worn. A good friend once bought me a pair of shearling mittens with soft fur inside. I had a serious brainwave and inserted them into the wind and waterproof shell that I bought. The result is hand warmth to the exponent 7. I love those fur mits.

Here are a few things I’ve learned since arriving (most of these reveal my complete ignorance about the north) :
1. 24-hour darkness is a bit of a myth. It does not mean 24-hour obscurity. While the sun is not officially rising at present, there are a couple of hours of dusky kind of light around 11:30 to 2:00. It is almost daylight during that time.

2. There are no polar bears here! I know, I was shocked too. On our first night here, I had a dream that I was crossing the hospital parking lot during a call shift in the middle of the night, and a PB bore down on me and ate me. I mentioned this to some colleagues the next day, and they all laughed their asses off and said “we don’t have polar bears here. you have to go some place remote like Tuk (what they all call Tuktoyaktuk) for that. They said rabid foxes are a far more realistic threat.

3. Many people are on crack. This place has a tonne of rock.

4. The license plates here are shaped like polar bears. They are the best in Canada.

Tonight we ordered a pizza because we missed our free dinner in the hospital cafeteria. It cost 37$. Suffice it to say that most things are extremely expensive here.

I will share more northern facts in my next entry. Now I am going to go to sleep. Saturday marks the first time in several weeks that the sun will rise. I think it comes up for like 7 seconds or something. Apparently, it flies across the sky. There will be a big festival and everyone in town drives to this field near the hospital to celebrate the sun and watch the fireworks. I can’t wait. The people here are really great. Kind and genuine.

Bonne nuit les amis,


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