Destination: Greenland

My U-Turn Over Greenland

I was flying home to Los Angeles from Germany this week when, mid-way, the pilot made an announcement: We would be turning around and flying more than an hour back to Iceland to drop off a sick passenger. We weren’t told much about the elderly passenger; I saw him stand before he was led off the plane, which I took to be a good sign. In any case, it made for what I imagine to be a rare sight on the seat-back flight tracker:

Photo by Jim Benning

Greenland in Pictures

Greenland in Pictures Photo by nick_russill via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by nick_russill via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Big Picture does it again, with a stunning photo essay of Denmark’s icy outpost.

Eight Great Stories of the Shrinking Planet

Eight Great Stories of the Shrinking Planet Photo by c a m i l o via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

To mark our eighth anniversary, we've collected stories from our archives that speak to ways people and cultures are mixing and colliding

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A Polymath in Iceland and Greenland

The Freakonomics guys recently carved out some space in their blog for the freakishly accomplished Nathan Myhrvold, who turned in three interesting posts—and a bunch of terrific images—from his travels to Iceland and Greenland.

Related on World Hum:
* A Very Long Way to the Hong Kong Cafe

Are ‘Climate Tourists’ Wreaking Havoc on Fragile Land?

Glaciers and sub-zero temperatures have long kept most tourists away from Greenland. But as global warming changes the face of the Arctic—picture glaciers splintering into icebergs and long-buried islands revealed from the melted ice—a new crowd of eco-travelers is heading to Greenland and other previously ice-bound countries to see the ice before it’s all gone, the Wall Street Journal reports. They’re called climate tourists, and they’re stuck in the irony of our environmentally troubled times: “Any trip by train, plane or cruise ship pumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and potentially contributes to the warming of the planet,” writes the Journal’s Gautnam Naik.

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Greenland: The ‘World’s Largest and Loneliest Island’

Photo of Greenland by Nick Russill, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Not for much longer, perhaps. Air Greenland recently launched its first commercial flight from the U.S. to the self-governing Danish territory, which lures most of its relatively minuscule amount of visitors—55,000 last year—from Denmark. One of the few non-Danes to visit this year: USA Today’s Laura Bly, whose terrific story reveals a beautiful—take a look at her slideshow—and heartbreaking place, a land where climate change and social change are moving at a rapid pace.

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‘Glacier Girl’ Set to Complete Flight Begun 65 Years Ago

This afternoon, a restored P-38 airplane that made an emergency landing in Greenland in 1942, and became buried under ice for 50 years, will take off from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport in an attempt to complete its mission—to fly to England. “Glacier Girl” was part of an eight-plane team flying from the U.S. to England to help with allied defenses during World War II when rough weather over Greenland forced all the planes onto the ice. In the early ‘90s, The Lost Squadron was located and “Glacier Girl” was excavated from under more than 200 feet of ice.

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A Very Long Way to the Hong Kong Cafe

iceberg, greenland Photo by Nick Russill via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In Ilulissat, Greenland, Daisann McLane found one righteously good Singapore curry chau mihn. More surprising, though, was the man who emerged from the kitchen when she shouted, "Hai go douh yauh mouh jung gwok yan a?"

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Which is Larger: Greenland or Africa?

The San Francisco Chronicle published its annual geography test today, or as its creator John Flinn calls it, a “geography / travel / interesting factoids-I-found-on-the-Internet quiz.” It’s 50 questions long, including the one in the headline above, and it’s quite challenging. If you’re stumped, the answers are here.

What’s the Strangest Travel Book Ever Written?

According to writer John Derbyshire’s recent article in The New Criterion, it’s “An African in Greenland,” Tete-Michel Kpomassie’s story of his experience in Greenland in the late 1950s and 1960s. First published in French, the book was translated into English in 1983. Why did Kpomassie leave his home in a tribal society bordering the Gulf of Guinea to visit Greenland? “After Kpomassie had an unpleasant encounter with a snake, his family elders decided that he was destined to become a priest in a local snake cult,” Derbyshire writes. “This involved living in the deep jungle among pythons. Kpomassie was not keen on the idea. At just this time, at a bookstore in the nearest city, he happened to see Dr. Robert Gessain’s book ‘The Eskimos from Greenland to Alaska.’ Kpomassie was seized with the idea that he should go and live among these folk. By a sustained effort of will, and through many difficulties—it took him six years just to work his way to Europe, two more to get to Greenland—he eventually did so. It is, as it sounds, the strangest travel book ever written.”

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