Sunday, 16 January 2011

Greenland blog 09: Time in Timerlia

Greenland’s only ‘motorway’, Timerlia, Nuuk, Greenland. Image copyright Margaret Sharrow, 2008.

Yes, that’s right: Greenland’s only road with more than two lanes is right here, running from Nuuk’s town centre out to the airport and back, a distance of less than two miles. The airport bus runs the same route, back and forth and looping round the town centre, all day long. Number 3, I think. Of five (one of which is a school bus, and I never saw number 4). It is very hard to get lost in Nuuk, though the distances are greater than in other settlements. 

On arrival I discovered that there was a flaw in my meticulous planning: although all my transport was booked, most of my accommodation was not, as I had figured it would be easier to deal face to face with the tourist office on arrival. What I hadn’t bargained on was a huge circumpolar conference that had booked out most of the hotels in Nuuk, as well as the hostel. I spent quite a while in the tourist office (the staff were excellent, and spoke fluent English) and had to come back later - the plan being to contact a lady who offered bed and breakfast, but it was necessary to get through to her at work, or to wait for her to come home, or something like that. So it was that I ended up in an ultramodern flat in the suburb of Timerlia, with a view out one side of the living room, through triple glazed fully insulated windows, as seen in the photograph. Mine hostess’ English was far better than my Danish, or my French even, and she was very generous and welcoming. I had the run of the fridge for my breakfast, which I got round to eventually after a slight hiccup that first morning. 

Still on British time and excited after tumbling early to bed the night before, I woke up extremely early (well before six). Having watched the dawn light touch down from the summit of the mountain presiding over Timerlia, I crept round, desperate to figure out which door was the bathroom but not daring to try any. I even tried the door of what turned out to be a utility shed on the balcony outside the flat, as if a place blessed with underfloor heating would have some sort of Victorian British outside loo. I couldn’t remember if she’d said what time she had to go to work, but there was no sound from her bedroom. Finally I knocked, and she had indeed overslept. Needing to get a taxi to work instead of the bus, she kindly gave me a lift into town. In the coming days I came to realise just how much Greenlanders value their sleep - certainly this woman did. She spoke about how much she enjoyed weekends, when she could sleep as much as she wanted. (A woman after my own heart!) She could sleep for Greenland, I remembered thinking. So for each of my remaining mornings with her, I made sure she was up in plenty of time. 

27 August 2008 08:17 recalled 13 January 2011



and stay tuned for another episode tomorrow!

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