My Time Capsule: November 2014


Greenland: Kulusuk Village, Inuits & Cemetery

Kulusuk, July 2014

Kulusuk is the getaway to East Greenland and opportunities for the adventures on and around the island cover everything from cultural encounter to extreme expeditions.

I read it on some tourism brochures and I'm sold. With the best plane window view ever, I knew I already fell in love with this land even before landed.

walking tour to Kulusuk village

The first thing I did after checking into the only hotel in Kulusuk was joining the walking tour to the village. Guided by one of the hotel staffs, I walked about 6 km distance back and forth from the hotel - across the hill and valley together with some of the hotel guests. The island is actually small, only 8 km from north to south and 11 km from west to east.

cemetery with a view

After walking over a hilly terrain, we stopped at the village cemetery on a small hill. It's interesting to find that all those white crosses are nameless. The body is only a temporary home,  Inuit believes that life is eternal and death is only a transformation from one world to another. That's why they don't put name on the graves because the souls are on a journey to the other side. A world under water and earth, where there are plenty of seal meat and the sky rich on berries. According to them, hell doesn't exist.

When I mentioned to some friends that I was in Greenland, most of them were thinking about lush green island with colourful flowers. Nope, Greenland is anything but green. In fact it's mostly white with hardly any land at all. It's even pretty difficult for plants to grow that the cemetery is festooned with plastic flowers.

pathway to the village

Summer in Greenland means thousands of crazy flies. These pain- in- the- ass tiny creatures would buzzing and swarming all over your face. So annoying that a lot of people opt to wear mosquito hat net. I left mine in the hotel and I happened to swallow one or ten flies also some stuck inside my nose and ear. While walking, I kept saying "shuuh....shuuh go away" and doing some kung fu motion to keep the flies away. Though it may looked funny, believe me, it was not fun at all!

abandoned dogs :'(

Suddenly from a far distance I heard a long sad howling. As a dog lover, I recognised it was a sound of dog crying. Naturally I walked faster towards the sound, curious to find what happened to the dog. My eyes noticed some movements behind a hill and I stood stunned in silence....feeling brokenhearted. There were about a dozen of sad faced dogs chained to a wooden thingy with a rotting seal carcass as their food.

"These dogs are being punished because their owner doesn't take a good care of them." I heard the guide were explaining to my group.

"How come the dogs have to be punished when it's not even their fault?" I could feel tears running down my cheeks. I had a mixed feelings of angry, sad and helpless for not able to do anything.

"The owners are too poor to even afford their own life and these dogs became aggressive from hunger and lack of love. Thus they are put in this 'prison' and will be slaughtered."

Kulusuk village

Feeling devastated, I decided to walk away from the sad scene. I realised travelling doesn't only teach us to see beautiful things but also learning some bitter truths. Whether I like it or not, this is how the local lives, I have to accept the law and culture of this foreign land.

It wasn't long until I reached Kulusuk village. The tiny village with colourful wooden houses clings to the rocky island above a glittering sea of iceberg with dramatic mountain peaks as a backdrop. It must have been one of most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. With only around 300 inhabitants, there's a supermarket, a post office and a church in the village.


"Most of the Inuits here are pretty poor that sometimes they have to move from one house to another because they can't afford the rent." The guide told me. "They survived mostly from fishing and seal hunting."

Okay, now I kinda feel bad for blaming the dog owner earlier. The life in this village is actually tough. They hunt the seals and keep the carcass under the sea water. If it's not consumed within 3 days, they will feed it to the dogs. Besides hunting, the Inuits get some cash from selling handmade souvenirs. One of them is Tupilaks, 'scary looking' ritualistic figures made from wood, whale bones, tooth and reindeer antler points. In Greenlandic words, 'Tupilak' means an ancestors spirit. It's believed that a tupilak is a home for spirit and previously were used by the shaman to against a foe. Tupilak are often carved based on some figures from Inuit mythology. Pretty interesting, right?


handmade souvenirs

with some adorable Inuit kids

I've just posted some postcards in the post office when I spotted some curious-looking Inuit kids. I waved my hands toward them and pulled a plastic full of candies out my bag.

"Come here. Do you want some candies?" I offered a handful of sweets to them. Though a bit shy, I could see their eyes sparkled with joy and nodded gleefully. They said some words that sounded very foreign to me. I don't know, perhaps they were saying a 'thank you' or anything. I ended up sitting on the post office step and eating candies with these kids. Too bad I don't understand Greenlandic language. Though I was happy to somehow 'communicate' with them.

interior of the church

the only church in the island

colourful houses

cute Greenlandic dogs

Kulusuk village

Kulusuk is a remote, mysterious, extreme and a fairy tale like land for me. It seems bizarre yet I feel a strong bond with it. I could actually see myself staying here for a long term while learning about the Inuit life and culture. Maybe one day :)


Hey! I still keep some knick knacks that I bought during the trip. So, time for freebies it is!
3 winners will be chosen randomly and will get a package of postcard & keyring from Greenland plus passport cover and luggage tag.

Here's how to join:

1. Make sure you have followed my instagram @debbzie_leksono or twitter @twitdebbzie
2. Tweet this sentence >>> #GiveAway souvenirs from Greenland + passport cover & luggage tag. Join on! cc: @twitdebbzie
3. Don't forget to leave your email address and twitter or instagram user ID on the comment box below. So you'll be the first to know when you're chosen as a winner. Hurry! :D

Closing date: 30 November 2014 (closed)

Congratz to @shintaries @gypsysoul04_ @septimelia :)


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