Up there.


My flight left Montreal on Monday morning. Dave saw me off after we spent the previous night in a beautiful (yet cheap!) hotel in Montreal, near McGill and Mount Royal, and with great Indian food for dinner at The Taj. Indian food is a rare treat in our Maine neck of the woods and, I am guessing, in Iqaluit.

The plane stops at Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec before continuing to Iqaluit. As we broke through the clouds coming into Kuujjuaq my first thought was, "An allergy sufferer's dream!" A lot of rocks with green and yellowing evergreens mixed in. Pretty barren, pretty stark, and absolutely beautiful. Not as stark from the ground; there were also many grasses and other living plants.


The buildings and other developed areas in Kuujjuaq are less beautiful, at least from the air. I imagine that mineral extraction is a big part of development up here, with all the unpleasant effects on the landscape that come with that. Because of this and owing to a narrow choice of building materials, the architecture seems to be - how shall I say this - purely functional.


Not so the actual airport, though. It is small but has been thoughtfully designed with blond wood, steel posts, and northern ocean scenes. It reminded me a bit of the Reykjavik airport on a much smaller, less expensive scale, so clearly those northern architects are sharing ideas. But the same damn auto-flush toilets that are seen at nearly every airport, the ones that give you that oh-so-pleasant unintentional bidet experience before you're finished your business. What are these things doing up north, where sewage and water processing are presumably tricky and expensive?! I hate them in the south and I'm positively incensed at them in the north.


On to Iqaluit. I count fewer than 15 passengers on our generous-sized B737-200 plane. We're about to descend.

My plane