As I came out of the room, two Finnish girls, Maria and Niki (sp?), were talking to someone else about going horseback riding tomorrow. I joined the conversation since I'd been considering doing. No, seriously. I know people make a big deal about Icelandic horses but I have no idea why. The last time I was on a horse was when I was an eight-year-old Cub scout. We went riding in our little polyester uniforms. I couldn't wear the trousers afterwards because they always itched like crazy and left me with a rash on both legs. My father figured out the problem and spent a night pulling horsehair out of them with tweezers. Maybe I'd get lucky with denim.
Anyway, the girls and I discussed the different riding packages. I was thinking about doing the dual package of the afternoon ride followed by a trip to Blue Lagoon. The girls wanted to do the early morning ride. No good for me - I'm going to Hafnarfjörður and watching
tastymajestic whales and puffins and stuff. Okie-dokie. They asked about what I'd done and I told them about my trip with Stefán and showed them the raw pictures on my computer. Then they went out on the town and I headed out back.
I went outside to the common area to relax and start writing, and I had my duty-free bottle of voddy and a 150kr bottle of Coke along with me. I could hear the noise from the footy game in stadium: Scotland's Dunfermline played to a 2-2 tie against Hafnarfjörður in the second round of UEFA Cup qualifying Thursday. I was still figuring on going to the wooden whale-watching boat in Hafnarfjörður (edge of Reykjavík) but I was already noticing a nighttime pattern that would make a 7:00 a.m. arrival in Hafnarfjörður rather unlikely. Tonight would be different.
Around 10:30 p.m. after I'd been writing for more than an hour, some German woman asked me if I had a light. I always have a lighter on me. I picked out the accent easily and answered her in German. We started talking for a while I was writing the diary. She was curious about what I'd seen and trying to decide which of the various tours she wanted to take. Seeing her choices, I told her not to miss Þingvellir.
We talked for about an hour and a half before she left to go to her room. I got back to typing, but I'd worn out the second battery having already forgotten to charge the first. The third was still charged. At about midnight, having made good progress on the Smirnoff bottle, I decided I needed to go out and would indeed go to town. It was midnight so my chances of catching the number 5 bus were poor, and drinks-up was one hour away. Still, I could go to town, have a beer, be back before 2:00 a.m. and up by 6:00 to get to Hafnarfjörður. It was a great plan.
So off I set in the direction of town, intent on getting there in time. I walked up Sundlaugarvegur, went right at Kringlumýrarbraut to get me to Sæbraut which follows the coast, then left on Snorrabraut to take me to Laugavegur. I knew I couldn't screw up with these roads and if you stay at the hostel, this is the easiest way to get to town without getting lost. Here's map of Reykjavik if you want to play along; stick to squares 8, 9, 13 and 14.
As I was walking the last stretch of Laugarvegur, I noticed it was quarter to one and needed to find some place fast. I saw a small queue in front of some place and figured that if there's still a queue, it must a) be open later than 1:00 and b) must be pretty happening. I queued up behind three people.
The place is called Sirkus and they have a very simple door policy: One out, one in. Luckily, one person left, then three. w00t. It was indeed full. It's a pretty small place with a small upstairs section, but most of the people were downstairs. I made a beeline for the bar.
The bartender asked me what I wanted English before I even said anything. That was a bit strange for a bar like this. I answered "Gin með Kók" (gin & Coke). She asked me what I wanted again, in English. I asked her where she was from. "Denmark". So I started snakkering
1 with her in Norwegian and English. She didn't actually work there but was guest bartending with the bartender she'd met a few months before in India.
Guest bartending, huh? Boy howdy, that's something I'm interested in. Standing behind the bar serving drinks makes me feel right at home. I have my own space and have a great chance to meet people. Plus, I could say I've tended bar in Iceland. Alas, I didn't know her friend and her friend didn't seem too thrilled with me, and anyway there were four people already behind there. Also, a guest can't have another guest; I know how the rules work. However, this was a place where guesting might be possible.
I got into a couple brief conversations with the people crowded around me, but we didn't talk about anything memorable. The Danish girl and I were talking in between her occasionally serving people. We kept on chatting as the place slowly emptied and the regular staff started re-re-filling the beer coolers.
"You ought to talk to the owner," she said, and she was right. The owner was there. I told her who I was, that I was in town for a week, that I tend bar currently and would really be interested in a guest shift if she was short-handed. Where do I tend? Germany. Why Germany? Because that's where I live. Here for how long? Until next Tuesday. "Maybe Sunday," was her reply and she took my number.
At about 3:30 a.m. I found a taxi and got back to the hostel for under 1500kr. No scenic route for me this time, and I'll be seeing whales and puffins in a few hours.
1 An evil, englishification type of a corruption of the Norwegian word snakker, "speak". My Norwegian friends think it's a hoot; my Danish friends just look at me strangely and sigh.
|< Do I like women's pole vaulting | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|