Print Story The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 6
By BadDoggie (Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 12:05:59 AM EST) (all tags)
Day 6: Reykjavík
Monday, 24 Jan 2005

I'm an idiot. I managed to get a cold. I probably made myself more susceptible by walking around without zipping up my coat while making my way home at around six in the morning the past couple days but dammit, it didn't feel cold.

It wasn't a terribly exciting or interesting day. I didn't go to the art museum, didn't go out with the Latvian girl, didn't blow anything up in the microwave, didn't understand much on TV, didn't write about any of the disgusting food I tried, didn't see BEIG, and didn't go home with a barfly.

So what did I do? Not much. Prepare for boredom and banality or just read some other diary. I don't even think there's anything here that sets the stage for something funny next week. You've been warned.

The Iceland Diaries II: Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, "Food", Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, The End.

After sitting in 22 for the past two hours writing my account of last night, I feel better. The double espresso (tvöfold expresso), soda water (sódavatn) and beer (Egils gull) helped. Only 12 Eurobuckies, half of that for the beer. What a bargain.

I never did hear back from Björgvin about the snowboarding. Considering the weather today, the best he can probably hope for is slush.

Simians at Síminn
I know my phone works!
I'm supposed to have a day-long date with Buttercup and I already sent an SMS at 1230. At 1400 I was wondering why I hadn't heard back, betting my crappy SonyEricsson 68i phone had something to do with it.

The message had never gone go through and was stored in the outbox. I tried to resend and but the phone shoved my message right back into the outbox. After a few minutes I figured out the problem:

Traveller's Tip
Cell Phone Usage in Iceland
When in Iceland, you can make voice calls Icelandic phones without using the country code. However, if you're sending an SMS, the +354 is required. Strange. Also, if you're from North America, unless your phone is "tri-band" or "GSM-capable", leave it at home because it won't work here or in Europe.

I spent the day walking around downtown by the docks and then across to Tjörnin (big pond/lake in the center of town). It's mostly frozen over right now. A couple days ago people would walk right across the center. Not today, not after the serious warmth we've had. Of course, water has to go somewhere but it doesn't seem to go past the line defined by Geirsgötu, Lækjargötu, Fríkirkjuvegi and Sóleyjargötu, all of which have sidewalks more or less covered by a centimeters thick ice, with water on top of that.

I walked by the Listasafn ("LEEsta-sahp-n", the National Art Gallery) but didn't bother going in. The current exhibition is "Fluxus in Germany", which I find to be one of the pinnacles of the stupidities of "modern art". Or so I thought. About the exhibition they were showing, that is, and not my opinion of Fluxus. I'd picked up the 2004 pamphlet so I'll have the fun of slogging along Fríkirkjuvegi again because I'm an idiot. Still, the walk was nice despite the wind and occasional drizzle. I found a green area (well, green when it's not covered by 6 inches of snow and ice) with a few nice statues.

Minning um hjónin
Thor Jensen & Margréti Þorbjörgu Kristánsdóttir, 1989

Let's eat!
Maybe you don't have to cook it...

Package: Gratineruð Ýsa með broccoli.
Yum. Gratinated Cod. With broccoli.
And other stuff I can't read.
At about 5:30 it was starting to get dark and I headed home. I stopped at Bonus for some water and picked up a ready-to-cook cod gratin with broccoli (the other choices were "Mexico sauce" or with bell pepper).

They're pretty big on cod here, and they're also huge fans of licorice and caramel. I have an idea for the ultimate Icelandic snackfood: caramel-covered licorice-flavoured dried cod bits, the perfect dessert after a þorrablót or for snacking anytime. I'm sure it would be a hit here.

On the other hand, the market's pretty limited and I don't think you could even export it to the Norwegians or Danes. Back to the drawing board.

Anyway, I decoded the instructions on the package by finding the bit with a temperature and time. Pop it in the oven, no problem, but I had this nagging thought which finally found purchase as I walked in the door and noticed that under the two burner stove is a refrigerator, not an oven. I failed it. Not quite up to the task of the þorrablót food experiments, I studied the package carefully and saw something about "örlbygjuofn" and only 3 to 5 minutes. Could that possibly be microwave instructions? Unlikely for fish and there was nothing about power setting, but it was too short a time for a convection oven. I reasoned that the worst that could happen was an hour of cleaning the microwave and even then, a month later even that would be funny.

So I have another 29 days until I start laughing.

Just kidding. It needed about 6 minutes but my gratineruð ýsa með broccoli was quite tasty. My phone buzzed to let me know the SMS I'd sent to Buttercup two hours earlier had finally gone through. She answered that she feels like shit but will probably be downtown later. A couple children's programs came on TV, cartoons with Icelandic voices, the only thing here that gets overdubbed. This wasn't Bugs Bunny here, it was something like "Sergeant Kitty" or what have you. I couldn't really follow it.

Just get it done.
This ain't Hollywood.
Icelandic television production values: "Fuck it, just fix it." On the round-table discussion show that came on after the cartoons, the mic on a very talkative woman was shot. A stage hand just walked onto the set right past the running camera (they have those red lights for a reason, dude), and replaced the microphone and body pack. That was the slightly shocking and mildly amusing part to someone with stage experience.

The funny part was another guest finally getting a word in edgewise as the woman's mic was being changed. She then tried to talk into both mics in the vain hope that one was still on. I didn't understand a word of what they were saying outside the occasional I, you or not, but it was funnier than the "comedy" show I caught a part of yesterday. There's a good reason I haven't described that one: words utterly fail me. I'm sure Icelanders find it a scream. After all, there are at least 3 "best of" DVDs in the shops from this show. It took me years of living in Bavaria to start figuring out German humour; maybe I can decode the Icelander's stuff one day.

I went back to 22 to write a bit but as of midnight, I still had no word from Buttercup. Dammit! I spent the rest of the evening writing a few comments on certain Web sites (including providing a workplace-oriented haka for blixco) and generally putzing around.

I'll decide later whether to watch 101 Reykjavik again or another episode of Monk.

A blast from the past
Yet another Icelandic woman I know.
But before going home, how about one more quick beer at Sirkus which is conveniently catty-cornered to the now-closed 22? BEIG wasn't there and that's probably a good thing. I have a feeling I could've embarrassed both of us tonight. I got a beer and sat down at a table which had a couple free chairs and a feeling of recognition started nagging at me. I looked at the woman also sitting there and it dawned on me...

It was Gunny, from my first time here. The Barfly at Monako. The one who did everything in her power to score double-vodka grapefruits from whoever would pay for them. I asked her in Icelandic if she was Gunny. Yep.
"You forgot me."
"You've forgotten me."
"What do you mean?"
"We met already back in August. I'm the Yank who lives in Germany."
I went back to reading Vera. Within a minute she remembered me and then asked me if I wouldn't like to buy her a beer, but the attempt was half-hearted.

"No. I can't afford your double-vodka grapefruits and I spent my last 500 on this beer." A minute later she grabbed her coat and took off.

As I was walking home half an hour later I saw Gunny with a beer at another crappy bar which stays open late, turned with her back to the window and talking to someone who she'd no doubt convinced to buy that beer for her. I just shook my head and trudged the last couple hundred meters to my flat, where I poured myself a nice vodka and Egil's Mix (fruity soda that isn't sickly sweet) and tucked into the first and least innocuous of the Þorrablót items for review. I'm damned near ready to do one of the more horrible ones, but I have penis day tomorrow and need to be awake for that.

Footie note: The only thing on TV tonight is Premiere League with Icelandic talk. I have to say that Chelsea's goals against Portsmouth were sweet. Beautiful and elegant. Not that I really care about the league or footy in general, and certainly not about Chelsea. But the goals themselves were well executed. I normally only root for the keeper (having played the position myself), but those scores were just class.

I settled on 101 Reykjavík, and not just because of Teh Naked Icelandic Hottay towards the end.

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The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 6 | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Good heavens by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 01:53:09 AM EST
It's almost as though Latvian girl was just using you as an prop to keep her date at a distance, and had no real intention of going out with you!  What a thoroughly unexpected turn of events!

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Gee, do ya think? by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 04:06:24 AM EST
Granted, she and I both did have colds, as did so many there.


"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."

[ Parent ]
German humour? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 04:20:05 AM EST
The mind boggles, you'll just have to post some examples.

Ever laugh at things I write? by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 08:15:31 PM EST
That's Berliner humour in effect.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
Yes, but what of Bavarian humor? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 10:04:20 PM EST
Surely it has little in common with Berliner humor.

[ Parent ]
Very little... by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 07:02:59 AM EST
More along the lines of "...and then I slipped my penis in his beer stein!" and "The old farmer had three very randy daughters, but the youngest was so ugly..."

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
Informative Addenda: by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 07:09:40 AM EST
Ever watch Hee-haw? It would do well on Bavarian television.
Bavaria is Germany's answer to Texas, complete with Okie Austrian jokes.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 6 | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback