Call: Nuuk, Greenland
capital of Greenland, is frosty but friendly, and infinitely
more peaceful than our own nation’s capital.
By Drake Nanda
It’s understandable if you feel
confused and adrift. Current events have altered the order of our
world and split asunder the link between rational thought and
action. Making sense has nothing to do with doing what is right…or
what used to seem right. Consider our plight: An action hero movie
star has just been elected Governor of California. The President is
acting like an action hero movie star, and the world is bracing for
the future implications of his precedent of preemptive attack on a
country that posed an immediate threat to the United States, even
though most of its airspace had been controlled by the U.S. for over
a decade, and from which it had received regular deliveries of high
explosive ordinance. National deficit? Never you mind.
For our own therapeutic purposes,
it would serve us well to go back to a solid beginning and
reconstruct our world from there. Consider Nuuk, the capital of
Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat in Greenlandic or East Inuit, and
Grønland in Danish) where you can get grounded in some of
the oldest bedrock on earth. Recent discoveries have dated rocks in
the area to 3.8 billion (with a B) years old, slightly older than
those found between the ears of George W. Bush. In addition, Danish
geologists have also discovered some of the earliest known life
forms, primitive algae, in the same area dating back to about the
same time. These algae appear to be slightly more primitive than the
fungi currently running the Department of Defense.
Nuuk is still a simple and manageable place, with just over 13,000
inhabitants. It is the big city in a country of only 56,000 people.
Country is a term used loosely here, as it is currently a
self-governing overseas administrative division of the Kingdom of
Denmark. Although small in population, its land mass is, well,
massive. It is the largest non-continental island in the world
weighing in at 2,166,086 square kilometers, over three times the
size of Texas. And like Texas, many folks will never see most of it
as 80 percent of the surface is permanently covered by ice. In some
places, the ice sheet has been measured at more than 14,000 feet
thick, slightly thicker than Donald Rumsfeld’s skull.
Nuuk was settled in 1721by
Norwegian missionary Hans Egede, who had come to the island on the
pretext of converting the Catholic Norse inhabitants into Lutherans.
Only trouble was that all of the Norse men and women had abandoned
Greenland about 400 years before. Well then, we might as well set up
a trading post and make some money.
The people we traditionally think
of as Eskimos, actually showed up in the greater Nuuk area around
1480, long after the first Europeans had given up.They were
extremely efficient at surviving the harsh climate by hunting marine
mammals, thanks to their mastery of the kayak, the ultimate personal
When you think about it, boats
will be our only salvation from these turbulent times. So if you can’t
take a cruiser to Nuuk, get into a kayak and paddle away from the
chaos, if only for a little while. And just when you’ve lost all
hope, it may give you succor to know that one of our faceless
bureaucratic institutions, the Port of San Francisco, keeps one
pinkie toe anchored in the past with its ownership of a small whale
boat, the Imua!, which is rowed by an eight-person crew of
club members. Perhaps they will tow us all to more peaceful shores,
one stroke at a time.
Nuuk, Greenland, you can get there
from the San Francisco Bay in just 24 days traveling at 10 knots,
only 5,981 miles away.
Port of Call takes a humorous
historical look at ferry important places around the globe each
month, exclusively in Bay Crossings. Tell us what you think