rumours of her death have been greatly exaggerated.... (2006-07-31 - 10:51 a.m.)

So it's my favorite great-aunt's 80th birthday. Actually, no, her birthday was back in February. Her son thought he would come up to Yellowknife and surprise her for her birthday, only to discover that she had wandered off for an impromptu trip to Hawaii. This is fairly par for the course for this particular great-aunt, who has been all over the place and continues to travel. I certainly hope it's genetic.

So we had a nice party, with lovely canapes and lots of tea. Everyone came to pay their respects and there were several hundred birthday cards. The funniest part however, was a man who came in and asked Maxine Larsen and I if any of Barb's children were there. Of course the place was crawling with Barb's children, as they had organized the whole celebration. Max pointed the man towards Barb's son Bob, whereupon he started pumping Bob's hand and expressing his condolences! "I was so sorry to hear about your mother..." Bob looked rather surprised. "Don't be too sorry - she's right over there!"

Turns out this guy had known Barb back in the day and was told by someone that there was a celebration in her honour that afternoon. He took that to mean "Celebration of Life" (which is why I'm a staunch advocate of calling a spade a spade, or in this case a funeral a funeral.) Nothing like turning up to someone's birthday party clutching a sympathy card.

I'm really glad I decided to come up here, though. This is officially the furthest north I've ever been (beating Sweden by a decent margin). The sun does set eventually, but it never seems to quite get dark. One of my cousins took pity on me and took me out to the pub one night, and when we returned at 12.30 or so the sky was still light along the edges. I am fascinated.

We went for a boat trip on the Great Slave Lake one night. I am always happy to be out on any water, anywhere, but this was a particularly nice trip as there was lots of company and lots of wine. I was also under the impression that I didn't like fish much, but then these Yellowknifers fed me incredibly fresh fish just out of the frying pan - and it turns out that I like (fresh) fish very much indeed!

There are a lot of people who live out on the lake in houseboats (winter and summer, which I can't quite imagine). These aren't houseboats like I've seen before, in Victoria harbour for example, which are boats that are set up so you can live in them. They are houses that someone has built a floating base under and plopped down in the lake. Very odd. Can't imagine trying to move them very far, so they are like a little village that happens to be out in the middle of a lake.

Actually, even the regular land-locked houses in Yellowknife are kind of odd. As my dad says, "You build the roads where the rocks aren't", and the same goes for houses. They're built around the rocks, meaning lots of houses half on stilts and half on a cliff, or with looooong staircases as you come in to get to the part of the house that perches on the rock. (Barb's is in this style). Also they don't seem to be really big on square houses - there are a lot of round houses and hexagonal houses and houses with bits jutting out or big random pillars halfway up or ones that look like they were twisted ninety degrees halfway up. I love it. Much less boring than your standard prairie town. Also, especially in the old town, there will be tiny old shacks next to giant new wooden houses, alternating down the road. It has a very organic, unplanned look that I find very charming.

Anyway, more about my Northern weekend later... we must go tour the Legislature.

backwards ~ onwards

Tell me about it...

(3 comments so far)

Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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