Getting on TV in Greenland
After an exhilarating day of travelling back 50km with a group of huskies in -20deg C out on the frozen fjords, up and down 500mtr mountains and discovering that all dogs weren’t meant to run (we lost a dog) we ended up on the front lines of a hot political battle and showing our support publically on Greenland TV. An eventful day!
The day before we had travelled out into the wilderness with our new found horsepower, a group of frisky huskies and ate some raw seal. That night the little hut was so hot everybody was outside their bags sweating despite it being -25deg C outside. We ended up opening all the windows and the door to cool us down. It was a strange feeling. Anyhoo, we said goodbye to our hardy little friends after a dramatic return journey. This involved two sleds getting tangled which took 30min to sort out the 30 howling dogs and ropes and then a decent back into the village where the slope was so steep the driver really had to put all his effort into the breaks so the sled wouldn’t run into the back of the dogs. Needless to say after 100km we were left with a huge admiration for what huskies are capable of. After all this adventure we were back in the picturesque village of Ilulissat and starving. We heading for the local restaurant/bar that was recommended and almost had the place to ourselves. After a nice bit of whale (don’t judge me, it is allowed in Greenland but they cannot sell it abroad) a few others had started to fill the place up.
As we had a few beers more and more boisterous people came in and we were thinking that this was a great spot. Then things got a little weird. We started observing old people blowing up balloons, rubbing them of their heads and throwing them at the ceiling. It looked hilarious. In our wisdom we thought this was ridiculous but after several goes they all stuck. The joke was on us. By the end of the night I was doing it and became quite a master! So as the place was now full and the TV had been switched on we kind of figured out this had some political connotations. Eventually somebody spoke a bit of English and we then discovered that there had been an election and we were in party central in Ilulissat. The Siumut party had been in power for most of the years since home rule in 1979 but they lost the last election. They were on course to win this one so all our buddies were in good form as the results were coming in. On the TV there were the same few reporters giving the results for the first few counts that had been confirmed. It was bizarre to see Siumut winning a province with 70% of the vote but only 40 people (yes forty) voted. In Greenland this is considered a town. Some of the bigger towns, 200 people were greeted with proportionally bigger roars! Each result was greeted with roars but a special hush came on when the results of Tasiilaq came in as it had a whopping 2,000 people. A metropolis! The huskies could have heard the roar as Siumut won 75% of the vote. Then we had Ilulissat and it was announced that again they won over 70%. What looked like a TV crew and camera had arrived but we just dismissed them for the DJ that was setting up as nothing was surprising us at this stage. Needless to say as soon as the Ilulisat results came through the DJ was interviewing the head honcho but before this everybody had to gather in a semi circle behind him. In truth there were about 70 people in the place but from the cameras point of view it looked like thousands. Shortly after the dancing started and we had to leave lots of people disappointed initially with our partial shyness but mainly a lack of dancing ability that we would have preferred to keep private. But because we were the only foreigners there we eventually gave in. Just as we made the dreaded walk to the dance floor everything stopped. The people, the music and the TV was turned up. It was us. Only 15minutes after the interview we were now on national TV and sticking out a mile in the ‘thousands’ in the background. Being taller and brighter than the locals it wasn’t hard to pick us out.
Now due to our celebrity we were the toast of the town and after much dancing, flag waving and balloon rubbing practice we became experts at it all and keep a close eye on Greenlandic politics since.