Recently I flew from Kulusuk, Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland, and spent some time in the Kulusuk airport prior to my flight which really defined the word "small" when applied to an airport. I was with a small group of photographers just finishing an incredible photographic adventure in Greenland and ready to return to share our incredible images. So when we arrived at the airport around noon, food seemed to be the first order of business. After all, excitement and adventure make you hungry!
Now in Iceland you have the N1s along the ring road which are famous for their hot dogs, not to mention Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur and their Bill Clinton hot dog in Reykjavik. This tradition seems to have extended to the Greenland airport because the only choices for food for famished photographers were either candy bars or hot dogs. The man working behind the counter reminded me of Buddy Hackett (age disclosure here) making it a bit difficult to take him seriously as a hot dog vendor. However he made the hot dog with the greatest of care, turning it on the grill until it was just right. He then demonstrated the Greenland custom of hollowing out one end of the bun instead of having it slit down the middle. This way you could fill the bun from the end with all of your condiments. Once you've filled the end of your bun to bursting with ketchup, mayo or mustard (mixing seems to be frowned upon) then he would carefully insert the perfectly grilled hot dog into the small opening using tongs.
Now I'm new to Greenland, so this entire process was utterly fascinating. Now that we had our nourishment, we were herded into a smallish room with tables and chairs to wait. Once the announcement came to head to security prior to the gate, off we went. We all lined up at the Greenland equivalent of our TSA check point. To my great surprise, who should be the one and only officer running the check point, but Buddy Hackett hot dog man. So no stern looking official with a badge here and now I'm having even more trouble taking him seriously than I was when he was grilling my hot dog.
So we removed our computers, emptied our pockets, took off all our metal and put everything on the conveyor belt to be scanned and then one at a time we were ushered through the metal detector by Buddy Hackett while he was watching our assorted hand luggage go through a scanner that didn't seem to be on. I mean there were no lights whatsoever on the scanner, the metal detector, not even a TV monitor to show him what was hidden in our bags. Not that I hide anything, but I inevitably end up giving up something at security, usually a roll of gaffer's tape.
But I have to say that all in all, the hotdog man played the role of security official quite well, despite the lack of working equipment. But I am happy to say that once we were through security, we did have the good fortune to spy a small duty free shop with a selection of wines, spirits, T shirts, native bead work, hats, gloves, etc. I noticed a map of Greenland that I thought would be good to take back and whisked it with me to the cash register to pay. Who to my surprise was just finishing turning on the lights and warming up the cash register? You guessed it, Buddy Hackett hot dog vendor security official and now cashier/store manager. He was more than happy to put out his hand to take what little Danish Krona I had left.
Our guide mentioned that his official title is "The Airport Manager" which also included janitorial services once a flight leaves. I never thought I would leave somewhere with a mental image of Buddy Hackett sweeping up crumbs from my hot dog bun.