High cost of curling

SEAN GRASSIE, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

IQALUIT, Nunavut -- Iqaluit gave us a warm welcome on Friday, except for the cold wind that whistled through our pants when we stepped off the plane.

We were actually on ice even before we got to the curling rink. It was -15 C, and that's without the brisk 30 km/h wind.

We were told the snow got here two weeks ago, and will stay until June. In Ottawa the day before, where we first flew to, it was a balmy 20 C.

We quickly discovered how expensive things are. A beer is $5.25 at the curling club, and $10.50 for a hamburger and fries.

That's actually a steal.

In our hotel, meals go for about $35 a plate, and that's without drinks or tax. A two-litre bottle of pop is $5 at the grocery store, a bag of chips is $6 and a regular-sized box of laundry detergent is $50.

Donations from Sun readers are gratefully accepted.

Games are being played at an arena beside the curling club, and we got our first look at the ice on Saturday. Tim Yeo from Alberta is the head icemaker. It is fast and moving hard everywhere, so I think we'll have no trouble playing the aggressive style we're accustomed to.

The arena is cozy, but there won't be many fans from any of the provinces to fill the seats. I know we'd have piles of supporters if it were anywhere else, but the $1,300 airfare (that's with a discount) and the $230 a night hotel expense is tough to swallow. So cheer loudly for us back home!

We knew that it was important to get off to a hot start.

After all, the draw had us matched against two of the pre-competition favourites, Wayne Tuck from Ontario and Nova Scotia's Mark Dacey, right off the bat.

Fortunately, our game hasn't been as icy as the weather, as we pulled out a nail-biting 7-5 win over Dacey yesterday to improve to 2-0.

Tied 5-5 on the tenth end, we had to negotiate a narrow port with quiet weight with our last shot.

The rock hung out most of the way down, but finished nicely at the end, passing safely through the hole and removing the Dacey counter.

TOOK A TOUR

On Saturday against Ontario, we stole a point in the sixth end, and two more in the seventh en route to an 8-2 win.

We took a tour of Iqaluit yesterday morning.

At our first stop, the tour guide told us to let him know when we got too cold to stay outside.

After about three minutes, we were back inside the bus.

We didn't see any polar bears, but we may just yet, as their search for food, due to climate change, sometimes brings them into the city.

And we didn't go dog sledding, but we did see the huskies up close. They were probably hoping we came with food, as they are only fed three times a week on a diet of seal.

As you step out to play an afternoon game here, it feels more like the evening. The sun rises at about 8 a.m., and sets at 3 p.m.

It could be worse, though. In the middle of winter, there are only three hours of daylight a day.

And 1,600 km north of here in Grise Ford, Nunavut, the sun stopped rising three weeks ago and it won't come up again until March.


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