A wintry welcome from Inuvik this Monday. As we descend the two story hotel for a morning out, the summer sky overhead is billowy with snowbanks of cloud. The blustery wind reminds me of changing seasons. I’m told +8 is not a typical July day…yet the Visitor Center reception reports snow visited Inuvik only a month ago. A month ago!
A trip to North Mart, the downtown grocery, reveals a remarkable increase in food spending for our six week summer visit—by three times as much.
At six dollars a carton for yoghurt, we’ll alter our daily consumption. One does not have to eat yoghurt.
Cheese is on the endangered list at $13 a petite block. Even a box of microwaveable popcorn is $11. Celery stalks $4.50.
Twelve dollars for a four liter of milk. I’m tempted to fast. We’re certainly not wasting anything.
We could be adventurous: I saw an advertisement for reindeer meat at the liquor store—but I’d have to buy a full side! And store it in the bar fridge?
Since there is no stove or oven in our hotel kitchenette, we will still purchase a fast food dinner at $75. Yikes, yikes, yikes!
Permafrost-ridden earth means the ground is permanently frozen, until summer, when it melts and buildings sink a bit.
Which also means that gardens are scarce, except at northern Canada’s largest greenhouse—a community garden at the old hockey rink. You won’t see lilacs blooming in anyone’s front yards here. Just scrubby grasses, and I don’t mean lawns.
Permafrost also means an overground pipeline-looking utilidor, where plumbing and sewer are moved from home to home or business to business. Nothing underground! An inukshuk across the street, houses and businesses on stilts. Have you ever seen such things? There is a four feet open space under all buildings – where children could play! “Mom, I’m going outside. I’ll be under the house!”
This is Canada, still Canada, but a whole different experience in living.