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12 July, 2000

Kangerlussauq, Part 2 7/12/00

We arrived in Kangerlussauq late last night around 11:30. After unloading gear, we went to the KISS building (Kangerlussauq International Science Society). We were all assigned rooms with a bed and I hurried to find my room because I was exhausted. All I could do was brush my teeth and retire. It was wonderful to be sleeping in a bed again with clean sheets to boot.

The weather upon arriving in Kanger was wet and cool. It had been raining but the smell of the rain was so nice. This is the first rain I've seen since the Copenhagen 5 weeks ago. The smell was most distinct. Being deprived of some of your senses is really noticeable when you have them return. Kanger was not as green as I expected but it was not white either.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at a cafeteria-style dining hall called the Polar Bear Inn. It is your typical Danish food with lots of cheese and meats that I could not recognize. It was much different from the gourmet style food we were used to at Camp Summit.

One thing I noticed was how tired I was. It was effort to move around. I was out of breath just walking up stairs. How could this be? I have been at altitude for a long time. What is going on? All day I was dragging around. I took a short bike ride with Nick and Mike. Mike is planning a sea kayaking trip down the fjord where he plans to climb the highest mountain on Greenland (8000 feet). He is planning to climb then ski the peak and paddle back to Kanger. It should take him 4 weeks round trip. Mike works for Matt Peterson (Michigan Technical University). The entire time we were at Summit, Mike was on skis. He used to race cross country skiing and they have become a permanent feature to his wardrobe. In fact, as the Herk was landing on the runway to come to pick us up, Mike was skiing at the other end of the runway. I knew it was time to leave when Mike took off his skis and packed them on a pallet.

I actually did a little gift shopping. There are only 4 stores in Kanger, a grocery store that sells everything, a liquor store and 2 souvenir shops in the airport. All stores close at 5:00 pm so if I wanted gifts, I would have to walk to the airport and get there before five. I didn't mind because I was so tired it was about all I could do. A short nap after dinner rejuvenated me for the evening follies. It is very strange how the body tells you what it wants to do. I wanted to ride the bike to the glacier again but my body said no way. I listened to it this time and was able to chill a little. Besides, I was over whelmed by the noise and smells of Kanger. This is a nice transition to the civilized world.

Goodbyes are always difficult and there were many today. Ted left for Illusik, a small fishing village north of Kanger next to Diska Bay. Dr. Ohmura and Hansfreig were supposed to leave on a commercial flight back to Copenhagen then on to Switzerland but that flight was cancelled. They were upset because they wanted to get home. Their goodbye will have to wait until tomorrow when we leave. Hans-Werner's wife, Bianca, arrived in Kanger to meet Hans. He was a happy man. Bianca fit right in with the group and we shared our last night together at the only night spot in town. Matt and Aaron, the good scientists that they are, went to collect samples from glacial ponds after our night on the town (2:00 am). They did not sleep after that.

My trip is now complete. It is sad to say goodbye knowing that I probably will never return to this place again. I have met some wonderful people and I hope, with email, that we will stay in touch. This experience is one that I am so fortunate to be able to have. It will be imprinted on my mind forever.

Ciao, Cathi

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