They may do Starbucks in the mornings, I thought, but I rationalized they were the health-food addicted with an eye for morally conscious alternatives to the food I enjoy. I stood in the health food aisle and watched tanned and well-toned ladies flock around a woman with full-nelson biceps who was hawking a green quinoa drink more suited for a medicine cabinet than a food market. The woman chortled its healing and energetic properties that never hurt an animal in its development and the ladies agreed in politically correct nods. I dared a sip of the green lumpy syrup from a small white biodegradable cuplet, which produced an involuntary shudder and dry heave. It tasted green, like classic Nyquil, but without the hallucinogenic effects. â€œGood huh?â€ The woman spewed as veins rippled in her neck. I knew I was home in Los Angeles.
I wondered what those healthy women would think if they knew I had eaten polar bear the day before in Greenland. Truthfully, I am not sure what I think either. However, as a lover of travel, I make it my habit to suspend my personal opinions when in another country, and with no arable land there are not a lot of options, but there are some.
In May, Air Greenland began flights out of the U.S. for the first time making the four-hour flight from Baltimore to seal burgers possible â€“ And no, it doesnâ€™t taste like chicken. Does this mean people who would rather see the animals of the ocean at Sea World than on the dinner plate should stay at home? No, I remember one fellow traveler being a strict vegetarian. He managed to find tall salads and red tomatoes; Greenland is not all frozen tundra. I was surprised by the cell phones, infrastructure, and menu options of Greenland. Local stores and restaurants offer a decent selection of imported fruit and vegetables, and no vegetarians starved to death during my stay in Greenland. However, I could not resist diving into Greenlandic cuisine. To me, one of the great treats of travel is sampling the tastes of the destination â€“ even if that means chewing endlessly on a buttery nubbin of whale blubber. I had to remind myself that I was not in Kansas anymore. Hunting is definitely part of Greenland’s culture and part of its survival, though I did want to debate it.
I wanted to infuse some of my cultureâ€™s “save the animals” ideology, but I just could not. In fact, one of my favorite memories of Greenland comes from an attractive Greenlandic female and mother of two. She told me, â€œI love the tracking of the animal, wounding it. Then tiring it out on a slow chase in a kayakâ€ Then she leaned into me, her eyes glowing green, â€œI love the killing.â€ I felt flushed and looked around the room to see if anyone had overheard our discussion. I had a knee-jerk reaction. I wanted to moralize everything about Greenland. How could anyone like killing? Killing is barbaric. Eating animals is terrible. I tried to tell myself that seals are almost like dolphins but not so smart, and they donâ€™t make those squeaky, talking noises that folks think is so adorable. Sadly, the moral dilemma lost out. I opted for a real Greenlandic experience and made a friend in the process. Actually, I was momentarily in love.
As I reached for my own vegetable-opolis drink made from cold-pressed organica, while the green-quinoa lady flexed and exuded health, I could not shake the thoughts of thinly sliced reindeer, whale blubber and seal. While the morality of the local vegan may have a point, I realized Greenlandâ€™s food is of necessity, in which no part of the animal ever goes to waste and I was grateful to come home experience it all.
Written by Devin Galaudet