Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cloudy with a chance of dust

You know, we get the occasional dust storm in Iqaluit. Nothing too severe, but during the summer if we go a week or so without any rain and then the wind kicks up, well, it can be unpleasant trying to make your way around town. "Soil" is one of those very flexible concepts up here. We have rock, we have sand, but in terms of soil where things can grow...well, we have a little bit less of that around here.

Although what we experience is nothing like what people in parts of Australia are going though. I didn't think it was possible, but I'm glad to not be living in Australia right now. This story talks about the massive dust story blanketing most of New South Wales, including Sydney, and parts of Queensland, including Brisbane. All places we were visiting only a few weeks ago.

This video also gives you an idea of what it's like trying to live in Sydney during the last day or so.

I suspect we've all had moments like this. You go and visit a place and then something terrible or weird happens shortly after you leave. It's very odd to look at pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Opera House and see them covered in this red and orange haze from all the dust being blown from the Outback. It feels like we were there just yesterday.

Nobody appears to have been seriously hurt, which is good. It's just one of those deeply weird looking things. It's also a reminder of just how dry things are in Australia. I'm not sure if they're recycling programs are top of the line, but when it comes to matters of water conservations, Australians seemed ahead of the curve to me. That doesn't mean they don't have serious drought problems, as this dust storms seems to illustrate.

Next up, and closer to home, there is the big new in Iqaluit...we might get a traffic light, which would be the territory's first. The Four Corners is the busiest intersection in town, so it does make a degree of sense. Although having spent time in Australia and, I admit, freaking out a bit over roundabouts, they might make some sense for that intersection. However, Canadians simply aren't used to the idea and wouldn't have a clue what to do with them.

Although the picture of a ski-doo using a roundabout does put a smile on my face.

Someone in the comments section jokingly suggested putting in a traffic cop to direct traffic. You know, I loved the traffic cop they used to have in St. John's at the intersection of Duckworth and Prescott. One of the worst things the city ever did was put a traffic light there and get rid of the cop. Traffic at the intersection is still terrible and the cop was a nice touch of character for downtown. I always thought when growing up that would be a pretty fun job. I suspect in reality it wasn't, but still...

I'm not suggesting it would work in Iqaluit, by the way. The idea of making someone stand up in the intersection and direct traffic when it's -50C is inhumane. But I still think sticking a traffic light at the Four Corners is going to be one of those things that may not work as well as some planner thinks it will.

Hmmm, I read the CBC story and then found this better story on Nunatsiaq that addressed the roundabout issue. Typical. I don't even know why I bother with the CBC website half the time for local news.

And finally, speaking of Nunatsiaq related things, I noticed Jim Bell on his Twitter feed linked to this really excellent review from the Village Voice about the new White Stripes documentary Under the Great White Northern Lights. There's lots of specific references to Iqaluit, so it's worth taking a look at.

The only frustrating thing is there's still no word on when its being released, either to theatres or out on DVD. I was really looking forward to it before I read this review, but having heard that it's something more than just another behind the scenes thing as a band goes on tour, my interest is way up. I just hope it's out before Christmas.

Because if things progress as they are right now, that DVD might be all we can afford for Christmas.

Last Five
1. The mother who bore you in pain - Ron Hynes*
2. Mari-Mac (live) - Great Big Sea
3. I've gotta try - Sloan
4. Plan A - The Dandy Warhols
5. Creepin' up the stairs - The Fratellis


Morena said...

woo-hoo for the traffic light! I hope it happens. And the roundabout would be hilarious. They really freaked me out when I was in OZ.

Bob Izumi Jr. said...

I was about to get all "Hey, WTF?!" that you linked to the CBC story. Good thing I kept reading.