Vi r i Saamiland, och det r mork… (We’re in the Arctic Circle, and it is dark)Seriously, it is dark here, I have not seen the sun since we left Minnesota. The sun rises after 9 and it’s pitch black out by 3:30, on top of which the clouds have been so thick the sun has been blocked from view everyday. It’s not so bad, but I wish we could see the stars and the Northern lights! We left Ume this morning and travelled 9 hours to Jokkmokk, in the Arctic Circle. We’re staying at the Saami School (you’ll hear much more about the Saamis in future posts, suffice it to say the are the indigenous reindeer herders of North Sweden, Norway, and Finland) the facilities are nice, and Jokkmokk is a great town too (there’s alot of Iranians here, I’m not sure why.) We had dinner at Marko Polo’s Pizza, Kebab, and Kinesiska (Chinese food) Restaurang och Butik (restaurant and boutique) it was quite delicious. That’s all that we’ve done in Jokkmokk so far, but tomorrow we start our official course on the Saami.The last three days in Ume were also great, mostly we were at Ume Universitet where we had lectures from the department of nordic studies, and the department for Saami studies. It was really interesting to begin learning about Saami language and the grammar and history behind it. Yesterday was alot of fun too, we went to visit a Saami reindeer herder in Norrbotten, it was neat to see the reindeer up close, they are much smaller than their caribou cousins of North America but they are very fast. It was interesting to learn that here reindeer’s biggest predators is wolverine, but in North America it is wolves.I’m going to bed now, it’s late, but I’ll try to post a picture or two soon.
posted Thursday January 2009