I had to travel a fair amount for my last job, so it's been nice that I've been able to stay home for my current job for the past while. However, I was excited when I knew I'd be doing a bit of travel here and there because it's always nice to get out and meet new people/see different places. Here, they call it "duty travel" - sounds so official. Both Jeff and myself are traveling for work this week; Jeff left for training in Winnipeg yesterday and I left for Iqaluit on Monday. It worked out really well because we're both home on Friday within a half hour of each other, so neither of us has to be home alone.
Much to my husband's chagrin, my company prefers to send us on trips via First Air when we travel. Not only do we get to be in a big jet after we leave Rankin Inlet (all flights traveling through Nunavut must make a stop in Rankin Inlet, no matter where you're going), they offer free wine on their flights! Now, I thought they'd pour you a small glass with your boxed lunch and that was it (and it'd still be nice), but these attendants were generous with their pours, and the wine kept flowing for the entire 1.5 hour flight. It certainly made flying much more enjoyable for most people! (Not me. The only white they had was a chardonnay and I really, really don't enjoy that. So, pop it was for me. Boo.)
I haven't been able to see much of Iqaluit, but let me share a few of my first impressions since I got here.
First off, the airport here is much bigger than Baker Lake's. They are able to handle jets, so right away, the runways are longer than what we have. The airport itself is also much bigger - it's almost like a "real" airport instead of a "station" like in smaller communities. The airport in Baker is more of a small building with a few seats and a counter. 100 people would be snug in Baker, to give you an idea.
We hailed cabs and for $6 a person they will take you into town. *Side note: when the cab driver found out we were first time visitors, he said "two words of advice: be careful." as a welcome greeting for us. When I asked him what we should be careful of, he just said we should avoid anywhere that people gathered to drink because it could get rowdy. I'm actually glad Baker is as quiet as it is because I don't feel unsafe there, nor the need to "be careful" like we were warned here.
The views here are amazing. There is an escarpment that looks down over
the water and everything seems elevated because of how the town is
situated. It's beautiful though (when I have some free time on Friday I
will take my camera and go for a walk to show you), and the sunset we
saw as we arrived was breathtaking. We got a quick driving tour of the
town when we arrived and there are stores, restaurants, a hair place or
two, a big museum, banks, huge schools...it is much more reminiscent of home in
We are staying at the Frobisher Inn, one of the nicer hotels in Iqaluit from what I saw when we drove by, and the hotel itself has the town's movie theater, a cool bar/restaurant, and a nicer restaurant. It's definitely convenient if you don't want to leave. Also, driving along, the roads here are paved! You don't realize how much you miss driving on a paved road until you're on one after driving only on dirt/gravel for a while.
A couple of us stopped by the Northmart to pick up some groceries for the week, plus we wanted to see what the store looked like. Oh my goodness!! Compared to the stores in Baker Lake, this was a haven. It was huge, and the variety was almost overwhelming. It's probably very similar to the stores in the South (minus the ever-present high prices), so I can only imagine how awestruck I'm going to be when I get to go to a Southern store. I may need a whole day in just the produce section! I picked up a few things for breakfasts and snacks, and was sufficiently impressed with the selection.
I have indulged since I got here though. The ability to go to a restaurant for a meal and not have to cook has been a luxury I won't soon take for granted. I've stayed in and tried the places in the hotel, but may venture out during the rest of my visit here. They feed us really well at the training and I brought/picked up snacks
for breakfasts, so it's just dinner I need to worry about. Last night we
went to the nicer restaurant here in the hotel and although there were
all sorts of interesting dishes on the menu I wanted to try (elk?
buffalo?) they were out of all the good stuff. I ended up trying venison
ravioli and was sorely disappointed. For $32 I felt like I was eating
the "fresh" Olivieri pasta from the deli section of the grocery store. I
wouldn't have known it was venison if you didn't tell me, there was so
little of it and it was so ground it could have been anything. Boo. With
so few opportunities to go out, I want to try to enjoy every single
chance I get and this was a letdown. Hopefully the rest of my meals here
will be awesome!
Also, a few of us girls went and saw a movie last night as a treat - they convinced me to go see The Possession, and I don't know what I was thinking. Disney villains scare me, so a horror movie when I'm sleeping in a strange bed in a hotel for a few nights alone, probably wasn't my smartest decision. It was nice to go out and do "normal" things though.
It's been a good trip so far, but I'm looking forward to my free time on Friday when I can really go out and enjoy all that Iqaluit has to offer. Hopefully after that day, I'll have lots of pictures and much more exciting things to share with you aside from what I had for dinner. :)