July 7, 2014
is 5 times the size of Texas but home to only 53,000 people. Most
of them live on the west coast. This afternoon we flew into the
tiny village of Kulusuk on the east coast. This is East Greenland's
international airport and consists of a small airport building and
a gravel runway. It was originally built by the US military. We
were taken by van to the only hotel. Greenland is governed by Denmark
and the Kulusuk Hotel has a lot of young Danes working for it. There
are 250 people living in the village and they are mostly Inuit.
Denmark set up several trading stations during the 18th century
in Western Greenland.
But East Greenland was isolated and relatively unkown until the
20th century due to the pack ice surrounding it. Thus the inhabitants
were not influenced by the European culture and have continued to
follow the traditional Eskimo way of life. The main occupation is
fishing and hunting. Hunting is for whale, seal, polar bear and
birds as there are no other animals in East Greenland.
took a 3 km walk from the hotel to the village along the only dirt
road in town. There was still quite a bit of snow left! There are
only 8 vehicles in the village, all owned by the hotel or airport,
so we didn't worry about traffic. The
scenery is spectacular. We are surrounded by snow covered, jagged
mountains and bays filled with floating ice. The houses in the village
are perched on rocky mounds and are painted red, blue and yellow.
Walking through the village is like stepping back in time. It
provides a glimpse of traditional Greenland. The village is very
poor. The houses have no running water. There is a public bathouse
for showering and fresh water is stored in a commmunal tank. Toilets
are like the old fashion camp toilets with bags collecting the "stuff".
Fortunately our hotel is more modern with showers, regular toilets
and fresh water. We visited the one store in town where one can
buy the bare necessities of life. There was some fresh produce because
the ship had just come in - it only comes 4 times/year!
walked past a cemetery with all white wooden crosses. There are
no trees here so all wood is very precious and comes from driftwood.
The flowers on the graves are artificial as there are no cut flowers
available. In addition, we learned that there are no names on the
graves. When someone dies, the next baby that is born is given that
person's name. They believe that if you put the name on the grave,
that soul is lost forever. The crosses do have a number on them
and the church keeps a record of who is buried where.
also passed a mound with sled dogs lying about. These are a different
breed of husky than the Alaskan Husky. They are kept chained and
there are no shelters for them, even in winter. They are fed raw
seal meat a few times/week. We were warned that they are very mean
and if bitten, you would have to be flown to the hospital immediately.
came across some cute month old puppies that the owners were very
proud to show off. The puppies didn't have any teeth yet! The red
is blood from their recent meal.
dinner, we took a jeep ride up to the top of one of the mountains.
It used to be the site of a US radar station but that was abruptly
dismantled in 1992. It provided a 360 degree panoramic view of the
To view more photos from our trip to Kulusuk, please go to Kulusuk
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map