Monday, August 27, 2012

Greenland (Sailing from Qaqortoq to New Places - Day 1) August 17th - 19th 2012

Sailing – August 17th - 19th 2012 (Qaqortoq)

WARNING: There is photographs of reindeer being used for food. If the reader has issues with this, then leave this particular blog. Do not post any negative comments on my blog if you're against hunting for food. This is a way of life in this country.

This blog will be about my 3rd sailing experience with my friends Torben & Hanne. I will write more blogs about the first and second trip when I get around to it. LOL

Day One:

We sailed out of Qaqortoq sometime after 3pm like we always do. I didn't know where we were going this day either. Each time I've gone with them, we've camped at a new place and new things were experienced at each place. Torben and Hanne are both native Greenlanders. It turns out that I have a lot in common with Hanne and because of that we have struck up a new and good friendship. 

She has been tutoring me in Greenlandic which at times turns out to be a laugh here and there at my expense but it's all in fun and I'm having a great time with it. Other times I find it frustrating due to the fact that my Southern American accent is getting in the way of me learning this fascinating language and challenging language.

The Greenlandic language belongs to the Eskimo family of language. It is a “poly synthetic” language which means that words are formed with a root, one or more affixes and a suffix. Because of this a Greenlandic word can be very long and can mean what corresponds to a whole sentence in other languages.

There seems to be different dialects depending on where a person is in Greenland. There is four dialects: South Greenlandic, West Greenlandic, East Greenlandic and the Thule dialect. Being I am living in South Greenland, South Greenlandic is what I'm learning.

Anyway being I find myself sidetracked writing about the language, lets get back to what I was writing about to start with. I think it will be awhile before I can become fluent with Greenlandic but I'm not going to give up on it. I have been giving some thought to learning Danish though. I am beginning to think it might be beneficial for me to learn it long before I learn Greenlandic due to the fact that this language is also spoken in Greenland and it might make my life much easier if I did and I shouldn't have as much trouble with it even with my southern accent. I don't really know until I give it try though. 
So we started out trip with exceptional weather and light winds. The waterways seemed to be choppy though and it made it difficult for me to get many photographs while we were traveling to our destination. I did get a couple of video's and a few photographs on our way there. We past a small settlement on our way there called "Qassimiut." There is only about a hundred people that live there. From what I understand, they tend to leave this settlement during the fall, winter, spring months and return back to Qaqortoq so that children can attend school. It is more or less a summer place for most that live there. I'm not real sure if any of the remain during the winter months though.
Much to my surprise, the first thing we all saw once we got to our destination were reindeer. Six of them in fact. Torben decided he'd have to try and get a shot off to take one of them down if possible. Two of them was laying down sunning themselves and the other four were standing around eating the local fauna. Torben took one of them down and got off the boat using the dingy to go and see to the deer to make sure he wasn't suffering or anything like that. It was a good kill and the meat will be tasty. Greenlandic people hunt reindeer, muskox, seal and sometimes polar bear. Polar bear hunting though only can be hunted by licensed hunters and even then there is only a small amount of them taken for meat. So Torben and Hanne got the boat tied off and settled in for the night as far as the boat and things that have to be done.

Once we were tied off and could get off the boat we all went to have a look at the reindeer. Hanne and her mother (who had joined us on this sailing trip) started the process of getting the deer ready for butcher by gutting him and removing body organs and things that were not edible for food consumption. Things were handled in such a way that nature was not disturbed and the leftover parts of the dear were placed in a particular fashion so that the local predatory wildlife could enjoy what was left but at same time didn't cause any negative impact on the environment. It was interesting to watch them work on the deer and it brought back memories of when I was a child. My father used to hunt deer in Florida himself. He'd bring them home and gut them and dress them and get them ready for butchering. So this process was nothing new to me, just haven't seen it done in a long, long time.

It seems that the men do most of the hunting in Greenland. The women do the gutting, skinning, butchering of the meat. One of the first things that was removed from the deer was the heart. I found that to be interesting. Apparently this is a special delicacy for Greenlandic people.

The reindeer was cleaned and moved to a closer area so that it could be further butchered on the rocks nearby as well as kept cool by the current Greenlandic weather conditions. After that was done we went back to the boat and I made dinner that nice. We had a nice stir fry that consisted of Teriyaki marinated chicken and beef, bell peppers, onions, snow peas, pineapple, mushrooms, broccoli and rice. Once I had all of it cooked, then I used a special kind of soy sauce and sweet and sour sauce to complete the taste I was trying to accomplish. I have discovered that most who haven't ever had this style of dish end up loving it and it was a big hit that night too. Everybody was full after that.

I thought it'd be fun to mention some of the following Greenlandic words at the end of day one blog.

Reindeer – tuttu
Thank you – Qujanaq
Your Welcome – Illillu
I love you – Asavakkit
a lot – assut
I miss you – maqaasivakkit

I will mention more over time as I write more blogs relating to my living in Greenland. I am not sure if I'm happy with how I wrote this blog so it might be possible that I rewrite it.

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