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Shin Yi sees the world

by Archives November 15, 2006

Hello from Yellowknife!
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 03, 2006

Hello everyone! I am currently in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories.

I came here to visit my good friend Beth, whom I haven’t seen in eight years.

Yellowknife is far north at 62.5 degrees North by the shore of the Great Slave Lake.

So it’s not quite the Arctic Circle, but “Arctic” tourism is pretty big here. It is a small city of 20,000 people and 54 per cent of the population is Native.

Being so far north, the sun rises at around 10 a.m. and sets at around 3 p.m.

It’s cloudy and I have been told that it’s a ‘warm’ winter. To the citizens of Yellowknife, warm is -10 degrees celsius; the average January temperature is -30 degrees celsius.

An unfortunate consequence of this warm, cloudy weather is that I can’t see the Northern Lights — Aurora Borealis.

The Great Slave Lake is completely frozen. People ski, ski-doo and even skate over it.

There is even an ‘ice road’ over this lake that only exists in winter. I travellled this road on my way to a New Year’s Eve Drum Dance in Dettah, a native community.

The Drum Dance was cool. The entire Native community got together to dance to caribou-skin drum rhythms, beautifully complemented by loud and joyful male vocals.

I have bought myself a pair of fur-trimmed beaded leather moccassins.

They are hand-made by the aboriginal women here. The moose leather is smoked – it smells like bacon – and very soft.

I always thought Aussie Ugg boots were the best footware in the world, but Native Canadian moccassins are easily comparable.

Also, I’m trying out unique Northern food. I’m not a big red meat-eater, but I will have a taste of exotic meats like caribou, musk-ox, elk, Arctic char and numerous other freshwater fish.

Beth and I went mushing – dog sledding – yesterday. We had six dogs pulling us in an aluminium sled.Mushing is quite relaxing.

Just the sound of the sled sliding and the rustling of dog feet on the snow is soothing.

Alaskan husky dogs are skinny, little animals, but quite strong. The big furry huskies can’t run very fast, so they are not used for mushing.

I’ll be here in Yellowknife for another four days. I’m taking it easy as I’ve been suffering from a chest infection for the past two weeks.

I finally saw a doctor and now I’m on antibiotics.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to my full health in no time.

Love, SYS

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