A minuscule city on Greenlands southern tip-off is fighting for their own lives. Behind it sits one of the nations of the world largest sediments of uranium. Is a contentious excavation the answer?
It is a beautiful morning on the southern tip of Greenland; the sunshine is high-priced in a cloudless sky, but there is a tang of cold in the air. A gang of Spanish tourists in cherry-red parkas has gathered at the small pier in Narsaq, to watch boatmen who have just returned from hunting a minke whale on the high seas. From the shoreline, the Spaniards watch the men below busy themselves, slicing the whale meat into slippery rectangular clumps. They drive swiftly, as if cleaning up the scene of an emergency, deferring to one young man in orange overalls. As parole spreads that a catch has landed, neighbourhood parties arrive with carrier bags and choose from the gashes laid out on the bloodstained floor of the little ships bobbing in the liquid. The purses are slung on handheld scales; today, whale meat expenses 80 Danish kroner a kilo, about 9. A girl pushes a wheelbarrow down the jetty, loaded with what looks like a ribcage.
The whale hunter is a symbolic figure in Greenland but the spurt the Spaniards are observing is humdrum, devoid of ritual. Sebu Kaspersen, the hunter in orange overalls, explains that there was a allay sea and they could see a lot of whales; they shot one with a rifle and then fuelled a harpoon to finish it off. It is, he says, the second minke whale he has killed this year, the limit of his quota. His living predominantly comes from fishing halibut, and hunting shuts for their scalp; mostly, he works alone, without a crew.
Soon the Spaniards get bored and put away their cameras. Their Argentine guide, fresh from Patagonia, gets them into their kayaks for a dates paddling in the fjord, giving instructions on how to avoid colliding with the iceberg glimmering in the sunbathe, lest a dangerous shard come disintegrating down. In the evening, when they return, they will probably have dinner at Hotel Narsaq, the only hotel in this town of 1,500 parties, sharing the restaurants sector with four Americans from New Jersey, two fathers and their sons who have come to Greenland by private aircraft to shoot musk ox, and who are raucou in their was approved by President Trump.
When the whale meat has been sold, the city terminates back into a charming torpor. The paved road through the light-green, yellowed, red-faced and ochre wooden mansions is predominantly exhaust; a zigzag of smoking rises from a chimney against a sky flashed with contrails. Women and men carry shop and pushing prams up the hill toward the inn. Occasionally, the tranquillity is burst by a Volvo tractor roaring jerkily along. In the afternoon, teenagers pick on a slope, while men and women sit drinking on terraces. In the square near the supermarket, two teenagers are exchanging hotdogs and chippings from a van parked in front of a bit police headquarters.
Not far away, on the edge of city, the darkness lengthen on the dusty football tone that sits beneath the mountains overlooking Narsaq. From here, you are able to review straight up the glacial valley to the Kvanefjeld plateau six kilometres now. In the past few years, the townspeople have become used to the helicopter taking off and platform near the football pitch, ferrying drill rigs and other supplyings; there, gentlemen are working hard to find the mineral riches buried in Greenlands mountains.
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