Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | June 14, 2012

Treaty Partying It Up in the Sahtu: Day # 3

My mother often teases me about being a princess when I travel.  She thinks I am prone  to fancy hotels, that I need high thread counts and huge spaces. I do not need these things, but I will admit I am rather fond of them.  But this is not to say that I can’t manage in more rustic settings.  Case and point is today’s stay. I’ll get to more below, but number one is that we do not have internet – as I suspected might happen. I find myself a little at a loss, I admit – it seems incredibly weird not to at least spend a few minutes checking Facebook and email before bed.

View in Fort Good Hope.

I’m currently in Fort Good Hope, having flown out of Tulita this morning.  We had a busy morning, taking in applications, with traffic increasing not long before we needed to close down to make our charter. Now the point of booking a charter rather than a sched is to give us flexibility to stay longer where we need to, given we only make the trip up once a year.  The company we chartered has been using charter planes to do sched flights too, and needless to say we are not impressed.  Neither are the community members we had to rush through or turn away.  I expect there will be a few complaint letters to the company from a number of sources over this, and hopefully we won’t run into this problem for other trips.  I also suspect our Department may not use this company in future, so their trying to rake in some extra cash may not come out in their favour in the long run.

We made the airport with barely a minute to spare before our departure time, but this time they did not leave without us, so we made it in to Fort Good Hope. The community is small but fairly spread out, so some community members drove us and our luggage in to the school where we set up right away so we could start on time, with just enough time to grab a few things for supper and breakfast and throw them in the teachers’ lounge fridge. At first, it didn’t seem like anyone was going to come, but within a half hour things picked up and we had a lot of people come in to do their applications.  And even though we stopped taking in people about a half hour before our

The Anglican Church in Fort Good Hope looks innocuous from the outside, but the inside is apparently phenomenal. I saw pictures recently, and really wish someone had been there to open it!

scheduled finish time, we still were there an hour past when we were “closed” to finish processing applications.

After that, someone called the bed and breakfast so someone could come and pick us up and drive us in. We wedged into the cab of the truck and made our way to where we were staying.  And here’s where I can definitely say I’m a hardy princess if I am a princess.  I am not sharing a room, because one of our colleagues found another guest house to stay at, but I did just about bunk in the room with two singles with another colleague who is lovely, but whom I barely know.  We are sharing a bathroom.  There is no air conditioner (which wouldn’t be a problem this time of year, usually, but it is abnormally hot) and the window doesn’t have a screen but instead I’ve got a lace curtain hanging out, so that will hopefully keep out the mosquitoes and the spiders.  I have sprayed on Off just in case.  We are also boiling our water just in case, since we aren’t sure whether the boil water edict here is in place.  The water comes from the river, and during break up things get muddy and bacteria can be churned up.  Better to play it safe than get beaver fever.

So the place is rustic, but it is relatively clean and quiet.  I’d liken it to staying out in my best friends cabin with the added luxuries of a flushing toilet and a hot shower (at least I hope).  But there is definitely not the type of place that would make my mom suggest I’m a princess.  I may like the royal treatment (who doesn’t) and I’ll admit that I’m probably going to continue to book my holidays in “fancy” hotels (though I’m not above a good bargain), but I can certainly stay in “regular” places too.

One of the houses near the church.

My little travel party spent some time watching TV while we ate our dinners (microwavable meals for most, though I had a can of tuna and sundried tomato salad with some dehydrated veggie soup I’d brought from Yellowknife).  After dinner, a couple of us walked to the canteen where we got more bottled water and I got some soft ice cream to help cool down.  I also explored the community a little (and kudos to the guys running while I skipped all that this week), mostly making my way up to the church.  It was locked, which was unfortunate, because while the outside is unremarkable, the inside is supposed to be quite lovely.  I hung around a little while hoping someone with keys would poke their head out and let me in, but no luck.  There’s a lovely little graveyard I walked around in, and the view of the river is quite lovely. So that was nice to get pictures of before walking back to visit with my colleagues, then head up to bed.

But now I’m going to sign out and try to wind down enough to get to sleep. It is about half past eleven and the sun is still shining bright, and my lace curtain doesn’t block out the light.  It’s not uncommon here in the North to go to sleep in the light, but it takes getting used to at the beginning of the season.  Hopefully rest will come soon.  Until tomorrow!

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