Some of the other northern blogs have mentioned that Spring is making its presence felt. That means not only warmer temperatures, but lots of slush and mud.
Iqaluit is certainly no exception to this. In fact, I mentioned a week or more ago that driving was becoming treacherous around town because of the size and scope of the potholes. I suspect there might have been disbelievers out there, thinking I was exaggerating just how many there are and how big they've become. I mean, I use to mock people in town complaining about potholes. "Just pay attention to the road and swerve when you see one."
But there is nowhere to swerve here.
Thus, I offer some photographic proof. The first picture is of the parking lot. As you can tell, it's now become a lake. You may also notice that many of the cars are parked back from the buildings a fair distance. That's so any ice melting and falling off the roof won't impact the car.
The picture below is of the road - the only road, I might add - out of our apartment complex. As you may notice, it resembles a scaled down version of the Himalayan Mountains more than a road. This is what we have to drive over four times a day to get into and out of our apartment complex.
This is hardly the only section of road that's like this. Pretty much all unpaved parts of town have roads that resemble this. And since the majority of the roads in town aren't paved, well, you can imagine how much fun it is getting around. It's actually producing some interesting consequences.
For example, when I went out today and took these pictures it was to get some groceries. Rather than drive, I walked because I didn't want to put the car through the extra torture. Granted, it was also a warmish day (about 4 Celsius) so there was no reason to drive. But really, it was mostly to save the car.
I wasn't the only one. Traffic has noticeably decreased around town the past week. And yes, part of it is the nice weather, but also a lot of people are trying to save their vehicles a trip to the garage to get the shocks and struts replaced. I'm also hearing that some taxis are not running, or not running as long during the day. Part of it is to save the car. Part of it is how painful it is for them to drive around town. Some have hurt their backs, apparently, from going over so many potholes.
If the pictures don't make it clear, then the only was I can describe the roads is to imagine one of the woods roads that honeycomb through central Newfoundland. Imagine those roads, in spring, as the big woods trucks start going over them. That's what the roads are like in Iqaluit right now.
Most people I've spoken with well tell you two things: That yeah, the roads always get bad in the Spring. But that they haven't seen the roads this bad since the time the city employees went on strike.
So what accounts for the horror that is Iqaluit roads. Well, according to this story, the city has no gravel to use to repair roads. Why does it have no gravel? Because the City Council and Feds are stubborn bastards.
I'm sure you can appreciate my perplexity. I'm hardly a geologist, but it appears to me that there is two kinds of ground in and around Iqaluit - sand and very hard rocks. And yet, from none of this can we have gravel. So not only are the roads going to be messed up, but it appears a lot of the construction around town is going to come to a halt as well.
I like the north. I really do. It's not a bad place to live at all once you get used to it, although I certainly understand why some people come up here, last a month and then flee back down south.
But everything that's happening right now with the roads and constructions because there isn't enough crushed rocks when we are sitting on an island that is little more than one big rock....
Yeah, it's just a wee bit silly.
Songs For Silverman - Ben Folds