Saturday, February 17, 2007

Day 202: A New Love

Bad news for anyone who wants me to come home. I found a reason to stay in the Arctic for a long time.


Most. Fun. Ever. On Friday I went to a snowmobile training course, which included some instruction indoors then about 4 hours driving outdoors. We had a total perfect day - amazing weather, clear skies, great conditions. We drove further up Adventdalen and across the fjord to an old mining area. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the trip - I was too busy driving and trying not to flip over. But I severely regret not having a camera with me. There were reindeer and you could see the sunlight hitting the tips of the mountains around us. It was gorgeous. The mountains here are surreal.

Although I don't have photos of that, here's some I took around my barrack:

While it was totally awesome, it was also somewhat terrifying to drive these things at times. I thought I was pretty hot stuff when I managed to get up to 50km/h, but I'm always hearing about people bragging about going over 100. A bunch of the stuff we did in the training was about using our body weight to help steer the machine - actually quite a lot like riding a horse. The thing was if you didn't do it right you flipped the snowscooter over down the hill. Another part of our training was about the kinds of horrible injuries you'd get if you didn't jump off the scooter when that happens.

Speaking of injuries, here's a photo of the lobby of the local hospital:

But things were going pretty well, and then they wanted us to do a loop on a somewhat steeper slope. I was a bit worried about this. So I was sitting there, telling myself, its ok, we can do this, look, everyone else can do this, no big deal. Then I look up at the person going in front of me, see them reach the top of the loop, and watch their scooter tip over and start rolling down the hill. My thoughts were something like AAAAAAAAA

But I went and it was fine. So was the lady who's scooter tipped over. The scooter, however, was not, and we had to tow it home. Anyway, I'd been toying with the idea of buying a used scooter, especially to get me around with my foot. And after going out on our little training trip, I REALLY wanted to get back out away from town for photos. Unfortunately, cruel reality means that if I get a scooter, I need, what, a million other things. Gas, oil, helmet, parts for repairs, a rifle to get out of town, a GPS, friends to travel with, good balance, and other things that ad up to hassle and expense. I don't know...I still might. And then I'd have to sell it all again in two months. Ehhh.

Snowmobile bridge:

So lets take a look at some photos. Here's the local school, which has some pretty awesome window frames:

Coal mine:

Man in a hat, crossing the street:

Here's something - I'm officially a published photographer. I got a copy of Arte magazine in the mail, and here's some photos, of my photos, in the public arena.

The big one in the right corner:

And another:


For people curious about what I do, here's a photo of the lab where I work:

The people I work with:

And the eternal samples:

The the view from my office:

Which technically is a collection of cubicles:


When I woke up this morning it was gorgeous out. We're getting sunlight on the mountains, like I said, and in a week or so we'll have the sun festival at Longyearbyen and actually see the sun. This transitional period actually feels very weird - while on the one hand I'm looking forward to seeing the sun, it also means that winter is essentially over. I'm not going to say its warm out, but its certainly not so cold. There is something about the dark winter...I will miss it.

But the light and amazing weather have made me desperately want to get outside and walk around. Which I can't. It's insanely frustrating and its getting depressing. My foot doesn't hurt hardly at all, but even walking around my room I can tell when it crunches a little (Its just about as horrible as it sounds. I can hear it.) and I know I shouldn't try to push it. The few times I get into new corners of town or outside town I get excited about hiking back out for photos that I've already got framed in my head. And with the light changing every day, these colors will be gone soon. I didn't come here to spend my weekends watching movies and looking out the window.

So I cleaned my room today. Whoopdeedo.


Unknown said...

Congratulations on the magazine photos!!! That's so fantastic - you do have such a good sense of photography, and it's great that someone is picking up on that (even if they're french...?).
Enjoy the dark while it lasts, but I'm sure that the light will afford new and interesting possibilities.

Hans Mundahl said...

Congrats on the pictures!

Scooters look like fun.

Anonymous said...

Henkka Henkka Henkka!!!

I've never seen Svalbard so light before...

Jeanette said...

YAAAAY Publication! Although FYI, 80 degree weather trumps skimobiles, which could be adequately replaced by jet skis, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I hate the noise made by the two-stroke engine. Not my thing.