Greenland: Prelude

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Greenland

August 25, 2015

Hello Fellow Rider,

Over the years, I have been fortunate to travel the world using a variety of animate and inanimate conveyances.

I have flown on many fixed-wing aircraft, both propeller and jet, from a Boeing 747 to a Boeing DC 3 to an Embraer 190.  

But today, something new.

I have sailed on ocean-going cruise ships, and inter-island ferries, and river rafts where the operator used a shore-to-shore pulley cable or just a long pole.

I have paid my fare on the Japanese Bullet Train and the Chinese long haul from Jishou to Changsha.

I have hopped aboard VIP double-decker coaches, and sardine-packed, shock-absorber-less, retrofitted, discarded, foul-smelling vehicles.  

As a child in New York, I was privileged to ride the “clang-clang” trolley up Ogden Avenue in the Bronx.  Non-polluting trolleys were replaced, on the advice of General Motors.  Now across the world, cities boast of their “choke-choke” buses.

I have driven automobile models from a Jaguar V-8 sedan to a PT Cruiser.  The PT Cruiser I rented had no cruise control!

Almost every day, I hire a motorcycle taxi to navigate around and through congested city traffic.  On rare occasion, I negotiate a tuk-tuk.  The tuk-tuk drivers are, shall we say, “smiling” businessmen.

Bicycle?  The last time I peddled one I fell off and almost endured a separated shoulder.  Skate board?  Not!  Roller blades?  Not!  One day I’ll give a try to one of those new Segway gizmos or maybe the latest heart-healthy contraption called a Hoverboard.

I have ridden atop an elephant in the jungle, trekked astride a camel across the desert, cantered aboard a horse in the hills and straddled a sure-footed donkey up a mountainside.

Aboard a donkey on a very narrow path, halfway up the mountain in Petra, Jordan, I peeked to the side of the path and observed only air between me and the valley below.  No doubt with a look of alarm, I turned to the driver.   “Don’t worry, sir,” responded the Bedouin man.  “The donkey knows where he is going.”

Now, at this very moment, unlike the donkey, I don’t know where I am going.  I don’t even know where I am.   Yes, I am somewhere in Greenland - at an airport having just flown here from Iceland.  But where am I going? 

What I do know is how I will get there.

For the very first time in my life, I will ride a helicopter!

I have to admit, that when I booked this Greenland tour and read the details of the itinerary, I was just a bit anxious.  Helicopter?  Probably one of the reasons we tourists were required to purchase a health insurance policy with an evacuation rider.

Anyway, I survived the twenty minute flight.

Fortunately I had a window seat.  I took some shots.

The clearly visible Greenland landscape and seascape below:  

Bleak.  Black.  White.  Jagged. Frigid.  Intense.  Brilliant.

The helicopter ride? 

Exhilarating. 

Even better than the donkey.

Keep on riding,

Jan

First video - before the flight.

Second video - from the helicopter window.

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