July 24

We get up and head into town. We made it!!! We explore Inuvik. First we stop in the visitor center and receive our official certificates for crossing into the arctic and driving the Dempster Highway. We also get a lot of advice on local things to do. As we explore downtown, all two blocks of it, we stumble into a coffee shop and Susan orders a latte and they don’t look at her like she’s lost, hey, we’re not in Tsiigehtchic anymore. We wander the town and get some food supplies and look in all the gift shops. Some local stone & ivory carvings are beautiful but expensive. Actually everything up here is expensive. A small pizza is $25, fuel $7 a gallon, even the post cards are $1 each. I suppose fish would be more reasonable priced. Sounds just like prices in Tahiti but we’re missing the palm trees.

We visit a couple local churches, the Anglican church and the Catholic church which is igloo shaped, an icon for the town, its most outstanding piece of architecture. The town has a unique northern utility system where the water & sewer system is run in utilicors (utility corridors) above ground connecting buildings. In winter these keep the liquid from freezing and in summer it keeps them from melting the permafrost. In half a day we have seen most of the town. It is a remarkably diverse place. Beside the two main native people (Gwich’in & Inuit) there are people from around Canada, the US, Australia, Egypt, Africa and Europe. This is a place of opportunity for as long as the energy boom continues here.

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