Slipping and Sliding down Sisimiut’s Roads

People in Greenland don’t let the cold stop them from living their active, busy lives. Children in daycare trundle out of the classroom into the playground, sliding down hills and enjoying time in the snow.

Men ride by on bicycles, and most of the people walk rather than drive. Since there are really no roads to go anywhere, more people here rely on boats than cars to visit neighbors.  Or they take helicopters for longer trips.

Sisimiut is a very hilly town, so on the snow packed roads you see many people slipping and sliding down and up. More than once I saw people take a tumble, as I did down near the docks. The men who were plucking what looked like black seagulls got a laugh, no doubt. They pluck these fat birds and then run their skins under a grinder to get rid of the lefover feathers.

These men were grizzled, and leather faced and looked like how you might expect an eskimo to look. I thought about the men I saw working at the Royal Greenland factory, methodically pulling the legs off big snow crabs and smashing their bodies against a blade, day in and day out.

I thought about what it must be like to get up everyday and drive into a job where you do that same thing for eight hours, again and again, as the seawater drips down your gloves.  It made me feel lucky that my lot in life is so different, I’d much rather observe and write than do the dirty work. But here this is the good job, the one with security, the one that most people do.  Or else they work as guides, soon there will be a need for many more of these as Americans discover this place.