Iceland – impressions in note form

Day 2

Eyes are dead. Or then half-dead, somewhat zombie-like. Very, very red, itchy and dry. I grope my way to the breakfast. It’s very delicious. Then we walk into town. The night was freezing cold, so the sidewalks are very slippery. City center =  touristic metropolis. Expensive, expensive, expensive. We go to change some more money in the bank. A few thousands of Icelandic kronur. I feel rich! We go grocery shopping at Bónus  – maybe not exactly the supermarket for the well-heeled, which makes it suit us just fine. We are mistaken for natives for the first time. But since our vocabulary only covers “halló”, “takk” and “nei takk”, we are quickly unmasked to be tourists. We feel a little bit sad not to be natives. Then we go to eat fish and chips at a restaurant that promotes itself as a “nice price restaurant”. We eat some rúgbrauð and jellied meat as starters. I like the bread, but I dislike everything that’s jellied. The food is good, but something here is strange. It’s the smell. You are hit by it when you enter the restaurant. Like being hit in the face really hard with a huge piece of very old, strong cheese – highly rancid. But after sitting for a while, you get used to it. We don’t know the origin of the smell, maybe it’s the famous fermented shark? Anyhow, it’s a nice cover-up since we yet were not able to buy some deodorant. (Toothpaste we got for free in our hotel, when we told them how our trip went.) We finish our meal and pay. Then we go to Heilsuhúsið, a health store that reminds me so much of my mum that I feel at home right away. We buy lotion for the son and some deodorant for me. After paying, I feel very poor. Never spent so much money on lotion and deodorant before. Something is weird. “Why do all places smell like the restaurant we just went to?”, I ask my husband. “That’s not the places, that is us. We smell like the restaurant we just went to – highly rancid.”, he states the facts. I am a little embarrassed. Then I try to convince myself that this smell is probably the smell of an Icelandic delicacy and we don’t really smell bad for the natives and…

We walk back to the hotel. It is windy and brisk. I wish for the wind to blow away all the smell that is coating us. But in vain. The scent stays in our hair, skin and clothes. I want a break. I crawl into bed. The son joins me, starts jumping on my pillow and my stomach and sings: “Ding-a-ling, wake-up time!” I am smelly and tired. The husband wants to check out “the country’s largest shopping plaza”. He has reputedly checked the route on our map already. We get dressed. We smell. We start walking. It’s snowing. Everything looks so pretty. We keep walking. We get lost. The son announces he does not want to walk any further. Wants to be carried. I freeze. I am the only one without gloves. Decide to buy gloves. That is if we ever find the shopping plaza. I take command and the map. We finally find the shopping plaza. Expensive, expensive, expensive. Son is bored. Son spots a kiddie ride. Wants to ride the kiddie ride. The husband suggests a deal: son gets to ride the kiddie ride once if he is well-behaved afterwards. Son agrees. Rides the kiddie ride. Starts screaming as the kiddie ride is over. Demands to ride again. We deny the request. Son continues to scream. We declare a breach of contract. We realize there’s nothing much we can do. I want a donut. We walk to Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts is all out of donuts. I buy some gloves. I get to govern our way back to the hotel. We arrive without any complications. We book tickets to the Blue Lagoon for the next day. We feel like the showpiece-tourist. Once more sad to not be natives. Finally taking a shower. Then dinner in bed while watching Masterchef. Then going to sleep. Son has a cough. I’m grumbling, telling the son to cough quieter. The husband tells me not to grumble so much, I should show some compassion, the son is sick. Then they both fall asleep and start snoring. I search for my ear plugs and stuff them in my ears. Then finally: sleep.

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