Friday, July 19, 2013

Nunavut Essentials - Part Two

Today, while walking Pepper, I saw something that left me momentarily stunned - here's why.

I saw a 1980's-era Mercury Grand Marquis drive by. If I wanted to pick the 5 most impractical cars to drive in Baker Lake, and I gave it careful consideration, the Grand Marquis would almost certainly be on that list. It's actually a beautiful car for its time - my Dad used to drive one, and it was quite luxurious, for the late 1980's. However, the conditions in Baker Lake (and most of Nunavut, for that matter) are particularly unsuited for a vehicle of its class.

If you've never seen one, think of a Lincoln Town car - large trunk, large engine, large passenger compartment, boxy shape - a very roomy car. It has rear-wheel drive, which is far trickier to handle in winter than front-wheel. The brakes are uber-sensitive, while the steering seems to float for a few seconds before engaging. The closest analogy I can think of is that it's like driving a boat on wheels.

Granted, there are a few vehicles here that seem to be out-of-place. I've seen a VW Golf, Suzuki Sidekick, even a Harley chopper - but none quite as odd as the Grand Marquis. I thought I was hallucinating at first. Anyway, that's not the focus of our post today.

Recently, Lily gave you her top ten essentials for living in Nunavut. Almost all of those items would be on my list, if it were my list. That said, I have some essentials to add to hers. Here we go:

Baffin Derrick Boot
I know, I know, Lily said the list was everything you need besides boots and a parka, but these require special mention. I thought I had decent winter boots before I wore these. The Derrick boot is the penultimate winter boot - excellent grip, protection down to -100°C (long after the rest of you have succumbed to the elements, your feet will still be warm), and fairly stylish. It's also a composite toe (comparable to steel), so it doubles as a safety boot. The only downside is that it's heavy, but you feel almost invincible wearing them.

Canada Goose Expedition
Canada Goose sets the bar for extreme weather jackets. Yes, you see people all over the GTA wearing Goose bomber jackets; those aren't what I mean. The Expedition series is a true heavyweight for winter wear, and like the Baffin boots, it is designed to protect you from all that Mother Nature throws at you. One of the tricks is coyote fur around the hood, which has been proved to be the most frost-resistant fur. I like to joke that I've only experienced sticker shock twice in my life; once for my wedding cake, and the second for my Canada Goose. Still, when the thermostat dips below -50°C, you'll be thankful you invested in the warmest winter jacket money can buy.

Bug Hoodie
One of the staples of summer anywhere are mosquitoes and blackflies. I've likened the bugs here to the insect equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, and I'm not exaggerating. Forget bug spray - what you absolutely need up here is a......Bug Hoodie. As you can see from the photo, this bug jacket has an attached hood, but isn't flimsy like some of the jackets I've seen. Trust me, don't think an $8 bug hat will do the trick - mine is collecting dust on the shelf.

X-Box 360
Whether you're avoiding the bugs or the howling blizzards, finding something to occupy your time inside is key to enjoying life up here. One of my recommendations is an X-box 360. Currently the most popular gaming console in America, this will become a cherished past time to while away the hours stuck inside your home. I recommend Call of Duty to work out frustrations, The Biggest Loser - Ultimate Workout to melt those pounds away, and Deepak Chopra's Leela for calming nerves. The latter two make use of the Kinect add-on, which turns your whole body into a controller.

There you go. Some of my essentials to add to Lily's list earlier this week. I'm sure there are many more things, and we'll be back to add to our lists as we think of them, but this should get you started on thinking of what your essentials would be to make your life easier if you were living in Nunavut!


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