Thursday, November 14, 2013

ladies' weekend in yellowknife

For residents of Cambridge Bay, Yellowknife is often just a layover, a place that you stop between flight transfers.  Sometimes, you'll spend the night there, probably at the Super 8, and what few hours you get, you'll spend it at the Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire so you can bring supplies back up North.

This weekend, we decided to spend the weekend in Yellowknife, with the northern city itself as our travel destination. We still did a lot of shopping, especially for supplies to bring back home, but it was nice to indulge a little on "big city life".  You wouldn't normally call a city of 20,000 or so a "big city", but for many of the residents of the northern communities that pass through Yellowknife, it is a big city. It's the place to stock up on supplies, enjoy a little city life, and run into other people also on their way to their destination, including people from Cambridge Bay. Despite being in "the big city", we ran into fellow Cam Bay residents every day.

Because Yellowknife is south of Cambridge Bay, I assumed it was warmer and didn't bring down my Canada Goose.  It was, in that Yellowknife was -20°C rather than -50°C, but it was still cold.

smiling, pretending not to freeze

It's only when I leave home that I realize all the little things that I have missed. Trees. Cocktails at restaurants.  Highways that keep going. Industrial parks with large box stores. Ethnic food aisles at the grocery store. Traffic lights. Traffic. (I may have dodged a car or two due to the fact that I haven't crossed a busy road in a while).

Cocktails at the Trapline Lounge - we loved this one drink featuring sprigs of rosemary. Rosemary! Real rosemary!
Alberta braised beef ravioli at the Trapline Lounge

Another unfamiliar big city feature: Strangers.

My friend was in the middle of a heartfelt personal tale when a random dude plunked himself down at our table at the Black Knight.

"I've got to tell you something," he said urgently.
 We turned to him and waited, expectantly.
"....." he said.
We waited.
"....." he tried again.
We kept waiting.

Eventually he realized he was not in the best condition to be telling things to anyone but the mirror, and so he moved on, muddled.

Twist Burger Bar (you can find more photos of our performance here)

Mojitos. Also, Christine staring longingly at the mojitos.

Another big city feature: coffee shops. I love sitting in a coffee shop and just chilling.

And the eating. Oh, the eating.

Sushi North came as one of the best surprises of the weekend. This place is actually run by Japanese people, recruited directly from Japan. As many Ontarians know, most of the sushi places in cities like Toronto and Ottawa are not run by their Japanese creators, but rather Chinese and Korean owners.  The cafeteria-style joint offers nothing but sushi, delicious delicious sushi.


Love this wall art at the sushi place, featuring fish (duh, what else?)

Arctic char rolls - my favourite type of fusion (Arctic-Asian)
miso, inari, & yam rolls
salmon & avocado

We may or may not have eaten way too much here.  Heck, we ate way too much all weekend.

Pho at the local Vietnamese restaurant. Everyone know I love pho.

And then, of course, the shopping. Lots of shopping. All day shopping.

 Yup, lots of shopping

My mother tells me that when I was two years old, they took me to Toys R Us for the first time. When I stood in the middle of the aisle and saw toys everywhere, as far as my two-year-old eyes could see, I was apparently overwhelmed at this strange and wonderful sight....and promptly peed on the floor of the store.

When I walk into the stores in Yellowknife, that sensation comes back to me, just a little.  (My pants generally stay dry though.)

The Gallery of the Midnight Sun is a great place to buy crafts and artwork by northern artists

And to take pictures with bears.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Gallery of the Midnight Sun. I think there are more works by Nunavummiat artists here than there are in Nunavut.  Also, they featured a Christmas section.

Love this Inuit nativity scene

It was a lovely and refreshing trip. I love Cambridge Bay, but sometimes it's nice to stretch your legs out and go to a different place for the weekend.  After months of staying in the same four-kilometre radius that is Cambridge Bay, you start feeling a little bit like a fish in a goldfish bowl, swimming in circles like a Pink Floyd song. But it's always nice to return back home at the end of the weekend.

Old mines outside Yellowknife. And trees!