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Greenland Trip report

Back on the internet, but not yet home

The day of our departure from Greenland was a long, drawn-out affair that turned out to be the day before the day of our departure. The plane that was due to pick us up had mechanical problems and, instead of heading from Nuuk to Keflavik as planned, had done an emergency landing at a Greenland domestic airport south of Nuuk but far from us. First we waited to see if they would be able to do the flights later that day (which would mess up the dinner plans but leave the hotel booking and onward flight plans intact). Was not to be.

Luckily for us the area near the Constable Point airport had mobile phone coverage (but not enough for internet connections, had I been brave enough to turn on mobile data) so I was able to call our airline to tell them that we would not make our flights, which made the ticket re-bookable, rather than cancelled as a no-show. We slept aboard again that night, on the fresh linnen that the crew had just put down for the next group, and ate their first dinner meal.

The next morning we heard that the plane had been repaired and that it would pick us up (and deliver the next passengers). So we repeated the departure day program, but this time actually headed to the airport after lunch.

At the airport, with the plane on the way, I called the airline’s US number that our tour organizer had found for me the previous day and was politely told by a robot that the office was closed, it being a Sunday. Then, when the plane landed, the pilot came over to talk to our tour leader, to explain that he was taking on extra fuel, because the strong winds predicted over Keflavik might require him to divert to Reykjavik domestic, a strip in eastern Iceland, or back to Nuuk on the other side of Greenland. I’m sure he was trying to be reassuring, but it had the opposite effect on our tour leader, who had spent the previous afternoon and evening on the phone making hotel reservations for us, and helping the passengers with flight re-bookings and organising airport transfers. To the relief of all, we touched down in Keflavik as planned. It was windy and wet, but not extremely so.

I took the time before dinner to try to re-book our tickets. I couldn’t do it online, I discovered: the booking reference now only showed the flown leg from Sydney. I couldn’t do it by calling the Qatar Air main telephone number, becuase it’s entry-menu robot did not register any of my (many) attempts to press “1” to do bookings, and did not fall through to an operator. So I called the US office number that hadn’t worked before and this time got through to a human who was able to help us to re-book the tickets for a modest price increment that I’m trusting the travel insurance to pick up. Catch was that the first available flight east was on Thursday. So we took that, and booked a room at the hotel we had started in (much cheaper than the one the tour was using) for the extra three nights. Just as well, as the booking phone call itself must have cost around $150 at Telstra’s usurious Iceland rates.

Dinner was lovely. Slept well. Saw the others off the next morning (at least those that hadn’t left at extreme hours earlier). Caught a taxi to the new hotel and installed ourselves. Spent the afternoon doing a first-flick through email. Was just wondering if a snooze was appropriate or going to find dinner when I received a text from Jerry, our tour leader who alone of the group was still in Reykjavik, thanks to his own travel resheduling issues. We went out to what turned out to be a great meal. Good day.

Slept in this morning almost to the point of missing breakfast. More reading and looking at photos today, but sadly not enough actual progress to start on the travel photo-blog part of the plan. Perhaps tomorrow, but more likely after we get back to Sydney on Saturday.

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