Place of Man

2011-08-09-Boat launch parking.jpgWe were back in our coffee shop again this morning.

2011-08-09-Cafe Gallery.jpgAfter a bit of work we wandered around town to find some bread. This could be seen as kind of an adventure of sorts because nothing really looks like a typical store or company from down south. The NorthMart however, I think I could guess. Surprisingly, no groceries though – on the inside it is like a Sears/Zellers hybrid with emphasis on the local necessities (i.e. hunting/fishing gear, 5L gas tanks etc.) most stores we’ve been to wouldn’t keep readily stocked.

2011-08-09-The main street.jpgNext to the NorthMart is the igloo church.

Aside from the KFC/Pizza hut combo in NorthMart. We did find another restaurant (I think).

2011-08-09-One of two restaurants.jpgA little further down, we also found the grocery store and we ended up paying just under $7 for bread. Barely anything had a price on it except for the locally baked white bread which was $2.99 so I didn’t think there would be such a difference until the cashier rang it through. Sadly though, in our quest from last night we found that even the store sold only mainstream meats.

2011-08-09-Local grocery store.jpgWe’ve also noticed slightly inflated prices at the coffee shop we’ve been hanging out at – with $10 sandwiches and $3 teas. As you can imagine, our mornings have been slightly expensive. Along the way we found another restaurant which charged $40 for a pizza. Outrageous right? The problem is though, everything needs to come in by land or air and so freight and shipping costs drive prices up for food, especially perishables.

We were chatting with a local this morning and they said: “I’ve been here five years and love it. It’s a great place to make money” I think that pretty much sums it up. It seems that all the folks we’ve met out here are very hard workers, and based on the available recreational activities (i.e. very few), work is all they do. The thing is, to all the folks who move up here to make more money I would argue that it all balances out because they need to spend more money on food and housing. But what do I know. One day, perhaps I will get to find out what it’s like to live in the extreme north but for now I’m just a visitor.

What I did learn today was that Inuvik means ‘place of man’ and have found this place certainly has charm. Despite the high cost of living it still attracts new folks. It seems that life is different up here – most local people hunt and fish for their meat and cut their own wood in the summer to stock up for the cold winters. These activities mean their costs can be considerably reduced. They also live in modest houses, some without indoor plumbing. Still, they make it all work, and support each other as a community. It is a slower paced lifestyle, but one that suits just fine. Quite a cool little discovery.

If you ever visit Inuvik and want a taste for how it really is, just turn on the local radio, it speaks volumes.