Georg was a hunter.
He was 42 in 2006, but unfortunately he looked at least 10 years older. This was mainly due to the short-tempered Arctic climate, an incredibly harsh sun and an eternal wind which constantly cracked your skin. Nature always wins over men, but up there, this fight is even less predictable. Nature can crush you in a very moment, up there. Darkness, then, is the only king of those lands for six months a year. It leads men to a very thick and dense mental fog. Between 6-7 suicides are yearly committed in a 100-people village. It’s mainly youngsters, hanging themselves.
Thankfully, my family was pretty good-humored, and interesting. Over the weeks I spent with them, I never really understood who was who, and what their relationship was. I was certain about Georg, the father, and Justine, the mother. Then, another 20 almond-shaped eyed satellites revolved around Georg’s house. Myriads of children. My favourite one was named Mario, after a soccer player. Justine was appalled when I told her that soccer definitely was not my cup of tea. Mario used to walk around the house wearing a gigantic nappy, and he would constantly eat. There was no bed in my room. Only a matress and my sleeping bag. The rest of the family, instead, slept all together in another room. We could get warm, in that way. Or maybe they were trying to sublimate, as the average temperature in the house was between 25 and 30°C. Outside, well, the situation was indeed different. Most of times I would wear at least 3 pairs of trousers. My legs looked like tree trunks, but at least I wasn’t cold.
Then I met Jess. He was Danish, nearly 2m tall, red-bearded, professor of philosophy at Aarhus’ university.For nearly 4 months a year, though, he would work as a mountaineering guide in East Greenland.
I guess we became friends in a bathroom.
I had been looking for the toilet flusher for a good while, when the following instruction was shouted from the other side of the door: “Stop looking for it. It doesn’t exist here!”. I guess this shout was the initial sparkle of our friendship. Jess will always be remembered to be my “toilet teacher” in Kulusuk. No drainage system is available up there: the bucket, which is set into the toilet, gets unloaded onto a “poo tractor” which come around 3 times a week. For unknown reasons, this lovely and lucky task was often Georg’s.
Around the end of my second week, on a nameless mountain around Kulusuk, I met two German sisters, Rikke and Jette from Jena. We shared unforgettable trekking routes, and endless breakfast sessions in the small chalet they rented from Kulusuk main shaman. In my books, though, they became famous as the best Paella cooks of East Greenland. To be continued …