Saturday, April 20, 2013

Northern Reflections

When opportunity comes knocking -- you have to answer - ready or not. Last week I had the good fortune to travel to Yellowknife, a quaint, eclectic little town in Canada's Northwest Territories. I've been there twice before, but always cloaked in the dark of nighttime in a layover on my way to the high North to visit my Dad.   Of course it was a no brainer to leap at the chance to explore Yellowknife by the light of day.

So with down parka and trusty camera on hand, I landed in the tiny airport in which a huge stuffed polar bear stands poised over the baggage carousel, ready to pounce.

I had a day and a half to wander each and every street, alley and pathway in the crunchy, frigid north land  The north has its own brand of tranquility; the expanse of sky is wider and darker, brimming with starlight; the air is pure - turbo charged with oxygen; and there is a dead silence between sounds.

The town is friendly and welcoming with an unexpected Hawaiian-like aloha vibe. These people are well versed in going with the flow. Faces of all colours and cultures from far away places dot the citizen-scape. My cab driver explained that he was an engineer from Sudan who was driving a cab until other work opened up. The woman behind the check-in counter at my hotel was Philippino and expressed her envy of city shopping when I told her where I was from. When I asked if there were any Asian food restaurants  she laughed; apparently there is a booming Asian population and there are an abundance of Vietnamese and Chinese food restaurants. Who knew?

There is art everywhere, from professional polished bronze carvings affixed on buildings, to  grassroots flavoured, hand-painted scenes on garage doors.

As I peered out the plane window, with the frozen terrain fading into the clouds, I couldn't help thinking that this magical place is indeed one of the last frontiers; a mystery waiting to be discovered. Lucky me.

Here are a few captures from Yellowknife:

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