We only had an hour before the museum closed for the day. Fortunately, we were able to get through the entire museum in about 45 minutes. There are displays that explain Greenland's history of the Inuit that migrated from Asia through northern Canada and into Greenland 4,500 years ago. The arrival of the Norse a little over a thousand years ago and the arrival of the Danish in the 17th century are also presented. There are displays of Inuit clothing and tools. However, the most famous exhibit in this museum is the Qilakitsoq Mummies. These are the remains of Inuit women and a child who died in Northern Greenland in the 15th century. Because of the cold climate and other factors, their bodies and belongings remained fairly well intact. The mummies were featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine. We were allowed to take pictures as long as we did not use flash.
Greenlandic formal wear
how to eat a little auk (sea bird)
Qilakitsoq mummy in fur clothing
Qilakitsoq baby still in its fur clothing
After leaving the museum, Traci and I tried to decide what we wanted to eat for dinner as we enjoyed our refreshing 10-minute walk back to our hotel. We knew we wanted seafood - especially after that enticing seafood smell we encountered earlier as we walked the streets near the hotel. We had no idea it would be so difficult to find a seafood restaurant in a city whose main industry is shrimping and fishing. After visiting a handful of places and having the wait staff translate the menu to English in some cases, we ended up back at our hotel asking for advice. We were told our best bets would be to try a restaurant called Nipisa or try the Thai restaurant. Since, I didn't have reservations for the former; we decided to walk two doors up from the hotel to the Thai restaurant, Charoen Porn. We enjoyed our meals - sweet and sour fish for Traci and spicy curry seafood noodles for me. The only turn-off for us was the smoking that is still allowed in restaurants in Greenland. The staff did their best to separate smokers and non-smokers but we were all essentially in the same room.
We turned in for the evening around 10 PM. This felt strange because the sun was still shining brightly. The dark curtains in our hotel room did a great job of blocking out the sun. I took a peek out the window around 1 AM. Although a light fog had rolled in, it still looked like daytime. The streets were a lot less crowded. I saw a few people congregated outside the pub across the street.
Thai food tonight
Our stay at Hotel Hans Egede included a Scandinavian breakfast buffet at the restaurant Hereford Beefstouw on the top floor. The breakfast included cheeses, cold cuts, bread, scrambled eggs, bacon, Vienna sausage, Danishes, yogurt, and cereal. All the hotels at which we stayed in Greenland included this type of breakfast.
There was a 10 AM check-out at the hotel and by 10:30, Peter was there to take us to the airport for our 1 PM flight to Ilulissat. He was apologetic for having to take us so early. Air Greenland only requires you check in an hour before your flight. However, Peter had to get the shuttle back to the Nuuk Tourism office to take clients on a tour.
The airport was jam-packed with people for most of our 2-hour wait. The only place where Traci and I could find a seat was in the children's play area. Our wait was rather eventful. A Greenlandic woman and her infant son sat next to me. The little boy was not in a good mood. He was throwing tantrums and giving his mother a fit. She eventually calmed him down with a breast feeding. As I went back to reading my magazine, I suddenly heard the lady shriek the boy's name and go running. The little boy had managed to make his way behind the check-in counter and onto the moving luggage conveyor belt. One of the Air Greenland employees had to pick him up before he entered the tunnel.
As the commotion settled down, I went back to reading my magazine. A few minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up to see a tall black man grinning at Traci and me. From his facial features, I thought he might have been from Sub-Saharan Africa. I was wondering if he might even be the author of the book, An African In Greenland, that inspired my visit. The man shook my hand with a tight grip as he said to Traci and me, "Your tans are almost as dark as mine."
It turns out the man was Danish and he now lives in Greenland. He was in the airport to pick up a colleague. We chatted briefly about the Greenlandic winter before the man went off to meet his friend.
Finally, it was time to board our flight to Ilulissat. Flying Air Greenland is really hassle-free. Our checked luggage was a few kilos over the 20 kg (44 lbs) max per person but no one said anything. There are no security checkpoints. The only requirement is that you have a red tag attached to your carry-on luggage but I didn't see anyone checking for the tags.
We were flying on a 50-passenger Dash-7 prop plane. There were no assigned seats. Although most of the staff speaks English, the recorded flight safety briefing is given in Greenlandic and then Danish. There is a short English blurb at the end that goes something like, "Ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard the safety instructions. If you have questions ask a flight attendant."
It was approximately a 2-hour flight between Nuuk and Ilulissat with a 15-minute stop in the town of Sisimuit. During the quick stop in Sisimuit, I struck up a conversation with the pilot. He invited me up to check out the cockpit. It is mind-blowing how many meters and controls these pilots have to keep track of. [Continue to Ilulissat...]