Monday, June 23, 2008

Just another day in Baker Lake

Hey everyone! So usually I let Mike write the blog because I have crappy grammar, which I’m sure you will realize once you get to the end of the blog. Anyway, the big thing going on in the town of Baker Lake today is a house fire. One of the girls that works at the Quick Stop in our store has had a house fire because someone let a kid play with a lighter unattended…. Yep, only in Baker Lake do the kids smoke at 5 and run around the streets at 1 am. Anyway the fire started at around 430 and continued burning till 930… the house really isn’t that big… However the roof is metal so the fire was contained inside.

This weekend we went over to our meat manager’s house for a surprise birthday party for one of the single guys that lives in our 4plex. Our meat manager and his wife are both from Newfoundland so automatically you know its going to be a good time and boy was it ever. Mike and I are both the youngest management in the store the next closest in our age is a 28 year old so the party was mostly people in their 30’s and 40’s but that doesn’t mean they don’t party hard. We went over at 9 and were the 1st to leave at 1:30… I guess the party didn’t end till 3:30-4ish. Anyway the party was full of drinking and sing alongs to Maritimes music, which was very entertaining to watch, as well as some dancing. Jim (the guy the party was for) knew we were having a get together, but didn’t know why, so we just surprise attacked him with a cake and it wasn’t just any kind of cake - it was a boob cake (i.e. shaped like a set of boobs). This made me feel at home! LOL! This was followed by a gift of a t-shirt that said “come to the dark side we have cookies”. Anyway it was a good night and allowed us to get to know the people we work with better. I’m definitely looking forward to the Canada Day party where we will be playing horse shoes.

And just to end off the blog on a light but humourous note on Saturday night our neighbor in our 4plex, which is also the guy we had the party for, knocked on our door and told us there was a big rainbow outside. So Mike went out on the porch to look and the guy proceed to tell him in such an excited voice, “I love this shit man, I love living up here!” LOL!!! He used to live in Toronto, so I supposed this stuff would be new to him. Later that night we came up with several leprechaun jokes because our neighbor is so short. Two pictures are posted below!

Later gators!

Picture of the house fire. You can faintly see smoke coming out of the roof where they had to knock a hole in it to get to the fire.

Picture of the rainbow over the lake. Kind of hard to see, but it is there. Rainbows are very rare up here as it doesn't rain too much.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Enjoying a cold beer... what a process!


Okay, the line is funny, but not relevant other than that we watched that movie the other night. As promised in the last post, we said we would talk about how to obtain booze in Baker Lake.

Here is the process we went through it on Monday afternoon.

Jim, our neighbour and manager of the convenience store in town, came over around 1 PM and took us down to the arena, which is about a five minute walk from the four-plex (which is the appropriate term for our house at work). When we got to the arena, Jim introduced us to Johnny, who is the by law officer in town, and the man who holds our alcohol intake future. Johnny had us fill in a form with our name, address, and date of birth.

The rest of the form may remind some of the older people reading this blog of how they used to get booze at the LCBO. We had to look at a list of available liquor and beer, and then fill in what we wanted...

And here is the catch.

There is a maximum of what you can purchase on your order. For stuff like rye, it is two 40 oz bottles. For beer, it is 54 cans. For wine, it is five bottles.

So, after looking at the list, Grace and I decided to make it worth our while and we ordered the maximum. So Grace got her wine, and I got my beer.

However, this is not a given that we will GET our booze.

By Law Johnny has to approve your application, because in the past some people have gotten a little (or a lot) rowdy and have caused trouble in town. So, on Tuesday morning, you take a look at the list posted in the Northern that states which permit numbers have been approved (no names are mentioned, which is good I suppose) for their order.

We assumed our names were on there.

Then today, the phone call came.

Calm Air with freight for us.

Freight = Booze!!!

So, here we are at 8:43 PM Wednesday night having a glass of wine and a beer.

And it never tasted so good!!!


Grace and Mike

PS: I know everyone is wondering, so here it is. A can of beer is approximately $2, therefore it is about $48 for a case of beer before freight charges. Wine is about $12 a bottle before freight. Now you know!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's been one week

We have been in Baker Lake for almost one entire week now, and needless to say, we have learned quite a bit. Here is a list of things that we have learned thus far:

  • No matter what the make or model of your four wheeler or ATV is, it is called a Honda. Likewise, no matter what the make or model of your snow mobile is, it is called a machine.
  • The most common answer to any question posed to a local here is “I don’t know”. Example: “Where is the bathroom?” “I don’t know."
  • If you have a fur, and there is the slightest of tears in it, the entire fur is deemed worthless and it is thrown out (or in most cases, under the house).
  • Even though the ice on the lake is starting to melt, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t park your machine (skidoo) on it. Well, according to the locals that is.
  • DO NOT SEND US BOOZE IN THE MAIL! Apparently it is illegal to send alcohol by mail. In order to obtain booze in Baker Lake, you must go to the arena and apply for a permit. Once you are issued a permit, you are then allowed to order alcohol that will be shipped in by plane. More about this issue will be talked about in the next blog.
  • If you catch a fish in the lake that is seven or eight pounds in weight, you throw it back because it isn’t big enough!
  • It is common to keep it in the family! (Yes, that is the sound of banjos in the background.)
  • We wear our sunglasses at night. Maybe Corey Hart wrote that song about living in the north. We have yet to see darkness.
  • Watermelon can only be bought in the store pre-sliced because to buy a full water melon would cost $85!!
  • No matter how good of a job you do dusting the shelves, you’ll just have to do it again 20 minutes later during the summer.
  • Grace now knows how to cut a key!
  • When a local comes into the store to buy a propane blow torch, odds are it isn’t for handy work, but that it is for “hot knifing”... in order to smoke marijuana... oh boy...
  • Unfortunately, we are too far inland to see polar bears. However, grizzly bears have been known to wander in at times. However, when the caribou show up, THEY SHOW UP!
  • If you get lost, forget all you learned in boy scouts about using a compass. They are useless up here because we are too close to the magnetic north pole.
  • Forget everything you were taught about being at work 5-10 minutes prior to the start of your shift. If you are 10 minutes late, great! You’re doing great just to get your employees to show up on time. (This, of course, is in reference to the locals here.)
  • If you ask an Inuit person a yes or no question the answer will either be raising their eyebrows (yes) or a scrunched up face (no).
  • At any given time, if there is a big event in town, everyone will be there.
  • When killing your first animal, it is custom for the Inuit people to take it to the elders in town instead of keeping any of it for themselves.
  • It is common that there would be 30 people in a kindergarten class. It is also common that that same class would only be four people when they graduate grade 12.
As you can see, we have learned quite a bit so far and there is definitely a lot more to learn. Today we plan on taking a walk around the town to see some things and figure out where other things are since we have a day off from work. The other night, Mike took some pictures of the “night” sky around midnight. They are posted below.

So long for now!

View out of the front window towards the lake.
View out of the front window away from the lake.
View out of the back window towards the barge that got iced in last winter. Yes, that is ice on the lake.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First 24 Hours in Nunavut

Greetings to y'all down south!

To answer any immediate questions:
- No, there are NOT any polar bears in my front yard.
- Yes, it is cold. Not too cold though.
- No, we don't live in an igloo!

However, we'll recap the day that was on the way from Toronto to Baker Lake.

At 7:45 AM Eastern Time, we caught the shuttle service from our hotel to Pearson. When we got to Pearson, we had to do the usual checking in. Since we were moving, and since we had "too much stuff", we paid our overage on our luggage and then found our gate. We then got some Tim Hortons, because it was the only reasonably priced food at the airport, and waited for the 10 AM flight to Winnipeg.

The flight to Winnipeg lasted about 2.5 hours, and we were able to pass the time by watching a movie. We both chose Horton Hears a Who. Not a bad movie, not a great movie. Worth watching though. This flight would be the worst one of the day for us, and it was very bumpy.

We got to Winnipeg and the weather proved why it is a world class city - cold and rainy. :P

We grabbed lunch at a restaurant and waited once again for our flight, this time to Churchill, Manitoba.

Of course, as we are waiting at the gate, something somewhere went wrong with a Calm Air plane and we had to wait nearly an extra hour to board the plan to Churchill. Once we got going, we went to Arviat, Nunavut for about five minutes, and headed out to Rankin Inlet. We landed there and we waited for about 25 minutes for a refuel and such, and we finally got on the plane to head for Baker Lake - one hour behind schedule.

We landed at the Baker Lake Airport at 10 PM Central Time. Once we got our luggage - and it was all there to our surprise - we waited to get picked up.

And waited...

Nobody to pick us up.

So Mike asked the lady at the front desk about it while Grace guarded the luggage. The lady at the counter told Mike that there was a little mix up at the store about when we were coming in.

The assistant manager, Ken, was told that we weren't going to be in until Tuesday night at 9, and we were told Monday night at 9. Anywho, after one phone call and about 5 minutes, a big cloud of dust came up the road - Ken in a Northern truck.

Ken took us to the store to pick up some food for breakfast - at this point it's 11 PM - and we were a little surprised by the prices of some things.

Here's an example:
- Large jar of Cheese Whiz: $17.99
- 10lb Bag of Red Potatoes: $18.89
- Small bag of flour: $10.45
- 2L Bottle of Coke: $12.99

All we could say is thank God for a food allowance!

We got to the apartment around 11:30, got comfortable and fell asleep.

We ended up having today off, so we gave the apartment a good cleaning and got unpacked and did some more shopping. Pretty uneventful day.

Below are some pictures of the apartment. Enjoy!

-Grace and Mike

Living Room
Bathroom (sorry for sideways picture)
Dining Area
Other side of bedroom
Dining area and front door (door on left)