Friday, 24 July 2009

A brief time out

I will be in the Azores islands in vacation, starting tomorrow. No posts than, for a week or so.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Nome presentation

A presentation in powerpoint of Nome city, Alaska, that completes a previous post I made just below.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Telemann's wisdom

The greatest pasttime one can life
Is pleasure that alone music can give
Everything else that we percieve as good
Excellent wines or most delicious food
Sleigh rides or games
Or hunting or the dames
Cause in the end
Especially if overdone
If not annoyance, damage, or else pain,
At least adversity shall certainly remain

Music alone knows nothing but God´s grace
The start will be so easy
The middle will sure please ye
And in the end your mind is full of peace.

G. Ph. Telemann, 1722

Allegro from the Trio Sonata in D minor

Friday, 17 July 2009

The name is Nome, Ak

Old mining dredge machine, Nome

The gold rush of the begining of the XX century was also a quest for a kind of Thule, somehow. Alaska was the land of promise, and Nome the gold mining capital: gold was discovery at the beaches of Anvil Creek, in 1898 . Thousands of men came from the United States, Canada, Russia, to "the gold beaches of Nome".

The town´s welcome in the shape of a gold pan.

So, in NW Alaska, at one of the westernmost points of the North American continent(Seaward peninsula), was founded in 1901 the town of Nome, looking closely to the Bering sea, the Diomede Islands in the distance.

- Location 64°30′N 165°23′W, 102 miles south of arctic circle.
- Population 4 500
Eskimos and Caucasians about 60%, whites 40%
- Native name: Sitnasuaq

Alaska natives maintain many traditions, such as whaling, subsistence hunting and fishing, and old ways of making carved ivory and other artifacts.

From all the arctic american towns, Nome is the most different, with the most beautiful buildings.

Nome's main street, Front Street, lined with historic wooden buildings with their back facing the tide line and their front doors opening onto boardwalks, is the main display in town.

“Nomites” love their old St. Joseph Church, dating back to 1901, the oldest building in town. The cross on top of the tower used to be lighted to ease the miners return back home in the dark nights. Natives called it "white man´s star".

The main event in Nome is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race - a competition that takes place yearly every March, which consists on crossing the entire Alaska from Anchorage, using dog sleds, for an approximate distance of 1600 kilometers (travel time is usually between 9 to 25 days).

There are no road connections to Nome. The easiest access to Nome is the daily flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Monday, 13 July 2009

"Le Chant du Pluvier" - A french Comic that takes place in Greenland

In Greenland, a father and his son recover from painful memories of recent tragic family events. A story that holds mainly on landscape and simple things of life.

The sounds and views of nature impose silence and things left unspoken .

"Le moteur tourne bien rond, il est juste ponctué par les chocs des blocs de glace sur la coque... "

“The boat’s engine turns, punctuated by the crash of ice blocks against the hull...”

Le Chant du Pluvier, by Laprun (author), Behe (text) and Surcouf (drawings)
Ed. DELCOURT (Dec 25 2009)
ISBN: 978-2756010830

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Little Diomede Island : remote and hostile

Remote but definitely not a paradise: located in the Bering Strait, between Alaska and Siberia, Little Diomede Island is an ice-covered flat-topped rock with steep cliffed coast and only one small permanently inhabitated settlement: Diomede (Inalik) , population ~160 hab.

At approximately 65.75° N, -168.95° W , Little Diomede is very isolated, by rough seas and by the persistent fog that shrouds the island during the warmer months. No regular flights link to the mainland Alaska: just the weekly helicopter mail delivery and a summer small charter from Nome. Ski planes do occasionally land on an ice runway during the winter months, and whenever the sea calms down passengers from ships can go to land in small boats.

Thousands of sea birds, seals, whales, walrus and two (!) arctic foxes frequent the coast and the surrounding water and sea ice; now and then, through frozen sea, a polar bear is an welcome visit.
The location of the village is a small area, the only which does not have near-vertical cliffs to the water. Behind, rocky slopes rise at about 40° up to the flattened top.

Little Diomede Inuit natives live a subsistence lifestyle, harvesting fish and crab, hunting beluga whales, walrus, seals and any polar bears coming from Alaska in winter, when Bering sea is frozen.

Facilities are spartan: an heliport for weekly mail delivery, a breakwater and small boat harbour, a school, one ice cream machine, a clinic and washeteria, and a small shop where inuit handicraft is sold. No bank, no gym, no hotel, no café or restaurant, no shopping, no cars, no streets - only rows of wooden stairways granting access to the cabins where locals live.

The Diomede people are excellent ivory carvers, their art being recognized by art dealers and collectionners.
The two close Diomede Islands (Big and Little) are separated by the International Date Line which is approximately 1 km from each island.
They are sometimes called Tomorrow Island (Big Diomede) and Yesterday Isle (Little Diomede) because the big island is 21 hours ahead of the small one. From the smaller island you can look into "tomorrow", in Russia’s Big Diomede - presently uninhabitated.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Another North - Arctic Russia

Wonderful video showing northern regions of Russia like Hibines, Shorya mountain, Taimyr, Kolyma, Ural, White Sea, Ladoga, Kuznetsk Alatau, Enisey river. I must quest those Thules from the East...


Georgy Sviridov- "Our North "
State Capella of Saint-Petersburg, Vladislav Tchernushenko conducts.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg), a northern beauty

Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg) , the second largest city of Greenland, is elegant, colourful and rich in heritage.

With about 6000 inhabitants, it’s the most northern ice-free town in the island´s west coast.

The town center is characterized by its colonial age buildings with the old blue church, the old shop, colonial residences, an old forge.

Sisimiut was founded in 1756 as a mission and trading station, based on whaling.

The old town is now a museum.

The Bethel blue church is Greenland’s second oldest church dating back to 1775

Sisimiut is situated between hillsides, and the small houses are built on hills.

It is also the northernmost limit of winter navigation by sea, and the southernmost limit of winter dog sledding.

The Sisimiut Museum of history, as well as a special museum of trade, shipping and industry, is situated in an old 18th century building.

The Sod House museum next to the churches, is a house with hick walls built of piled up sod gathered on the tundra.

The harbour is opened all year. A major factory, the Royal Greenland fish and shrimp plant in Sisimiut, is an important source of revenue for Greenlandic product.