Greenland is blue. Blue ocean, blue sky, blue iceberg. Some little wooden houses are blue. The logo of the Pilersuisoq supermarket chain has a blue background. The greenlandic flag, instead, is white and red, but just to be different and make an exception. I don’t know how the Red House can fit in the line of reasoning, but you can see the whole blue of Greenland from its windows.
“It is known blue plays a role in reducing heart rate, blood pression and the frequency of breathing”, Piero Barbati, chief of Neurology at the Istituto San Raffaele Pisana of Rome, says. In practice Greenland is a huge dose of relax administered in chromotherapic formula. The feeling takes place in the final stages of flight approaching to the island, when the ocean, of a formless color under you, takes on recognizable shapes thanks to the icebergs. As any drug, anyway, it shows its best benefits while resting, that’s why it is usefull to take a break in Tasiilaq.
The Red House’s porch
The greatest effort is to positioning the chair as its feet do not get stuck between the wooden planks and, early in the morning, to mop it so that you won’t get up with wet pants. Then you seat on the porch of the Red House and breathe at the top of your lungs.
Thud of a portion of iceberg collapsed.
Rumbling of the words you’re reading.
Dreams buzz… did you fall asleep in the sun?
When you feel the buzz of chills you wear a jacket or move into the Red House hall that offers the same view of the Tasiilaq fjord.
It is not because of the boredome that you sail away from the hall of the Red House, but because of the curiosity to be able to imagine how it is to live here. So you take the road that, first unpaved, becomes paved between the heliport and… the heliport. I mean, if you want to follow the paved road you are going to walk all the way around the village till the starting point. You can’t say the unpaved roads are back roads, they are just side roads and they end up leading you out of the village.
All the main services are there: post office that sells also electronics, a bigger supermarket where you can buy anything from bread to stroller and a smaller one with just food; then the hospital, schools, hardware store, laundry with public restrooms. At the tourist information point, recognizable by the sign with directions and distances for the Polar Circle (105 km), the capital city Nuuk (680 km), Reykjavik (763 km) and Copenhagen (2863 km), you buy icecream following the rule “the much, the cheaper” (25 krones for 2 scoops and 35 for 4). A small green house hosts a group of carvers you can look at while they’re working with narwhal or polar bear teeth, whale skin, ox horns…
The new church is a pentagonal structure with the bell tower on its top; it is bright and cozy inside, with kneeling-stools covered in seal skin and embellished with traditional life scenes. The old church, instead, hosts the museum and, in ths same opening hours, you can visit a traditional inuit house rebuilt not so far. Made of stone walls and a wooden ceiling, using a depression of the ground, it is recognizable just when you stand in front of it. You bend to go through the door and you end up in one room divided in 5 spaces by leather tents, one for each family. When you get used to the semi-darkness, you turn to the only wall from which the light comes in: the windows are closed by a translucent textile the museum taught you to be seal entrails.
The city hall too worth a visit, to look at pictures, paintings and posters of public service campaigns: wastes have to be thrown in the bins and it is a good rule to check the condom supply before intimate moments, because in the meanwhile can be… uncomfortable!
The Tasiilaq surroundings
I think it is a cultural distortion to see mountain tops as a place you must reach. As to think every shapes of the environment must have a name and can be reached just if there is a path that shows the way and the distance in meters or hours to hike. Here, instead, maps don’t have names for the mountains, lakes are just “lake” or blue marks and there are only two trails, one leading to the other coast fo the Ammassalik island and one that makes a loop behind the village. But everyone is free to trace his own path towards any destination you pinpointed and change it every time.
The roads of the village suggest the way to get out of town and the end of the built-up area tends to be marked by packs of dogs rigorously on chains. Some of them sleep and keep on sleeping, some others get up and start the choir of yips and howls; puppies hide in holes in the ground or play, but do not look at you. Some adult dogs aren’t happy you being there, or you just passing by, while others try to get your attention and it’s up to you to decide wheter to get closer or not, because also the gentlest are wild and do not settle for your caresses, but want their role to play by dint of shoves and tugs to your clothes they take between their teeth.
Once you crossed the border of dogs, you get into the no-man’s-land. You meet no man and no man can tell you how long it takes to get where you are going and what is the better path to get there. On the porch of the Red House you indicate to each other an ideal path using the shapes of the environment as references, but when you are in place some of them seam to disappear or prove to be nothing but wrong. You learn to trust your intuition, to measure your experience and to get a grip on your uncertainty. When you sway, you look for the blue: ocean- iceberg- sky, lake- glacier- Greenland.