Monday, June 18, 2007

Iceland: Day Ten (Bláa Lónið and the flight home)

Last night, all I could think of was how much I missed New York. Michael had found a radio station in Reykjavík that was playing a rap ditty in Spanish, and we were both filled with pleasant memories of home. This morning, I woke up early, thanks to my first good night's rest the entire trip; I'd been so tired that I'd passed out with the blinds open to the midnight sun, and hadn't so much as stirred when Michael came back from his walk, ate a midnight snack of pear Skyr and Fig Newtons, and fiddled around before going to bed. This morning, I took my time over a massive breakfast, packed my suitcase and loaded it into the car, and prepared to say goodbye to this island, of which I'd had my fill.

On the drive to the Blue Lagoon, where we were going to spend a few hours (our flight didn't depart until five), we recapped. I told Michael that people would ask me what I thought, and that my answer would confound them: I would say that I'd had a good time, that it was very pretty at times and also very ugly in places as well, but that I wouldn't ever go back, and that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I expected him to be offended, but he actually agreed on every point, particularly not recommending it to anyone, even a hiking aficionado. We decided that whatever one's preference: rugged countryside, different cultures, geology, history, or even just the weird-factor, other destinations were better on every account. He wondered where he might want to go next, being as this trip had somewhat disappointed him. I already know my next trip—India in January '08—but he has no interest in going there.

The lagoon was as good as the last time, though interestingly enough, this time the waters were sort of empty (it was early in the day), but my Finnish sauna was packed to beyond full capacity (15 people; standing room only?!). We swam and steamed and whatnot, I all the while hoping the pain in my right shoulder would dissipate, though passing up a massage because of (surprise) the outrageous costs (twice what I pay in New York, which is already more than people pay in the rest of the US). I made do with pummelling my upper body under the waterfall and eventually relaxing in the snack bar with a Carlsberg. People-watching was better than the last time, and, oddly enough, a TV crew was filming, literally inside the lagoon (yes, the entire crew was in swim gear and in the water, carrying the camera and sound equipment in the steam over the pool.)

Soon enough we had to leave for the airport, refill the gas tank, and whatnot. Begin drudgery; the drive to Keflavík is ugly, the gas station rejected my credit card as usual (nearly all stations require payment at the pump, and require the entrance of a PIN. I have a PIN only for my ATM card, not my credit cards), and we had trouble finding the right spot to return the rental car. I did, though, find out upon returning our little Nissan that I had driven a total of 1,498 miles during the trip, and remember, I only had the car for seven of our 10 days. That means that I did, pardon the expression, a fuckload of driving. No wonder my shoulders are killing me.

With time before the flight, we wandered the airport. We ate lunch/dinner (cheeseburger and fries for me, cheese pizza for Michael. Hopefully the last junk food I see for a long time), Michael bought some cologne at the duty free (I managed, somehow, to refrain; they had three scents I could have happily splurged on), and I attempted to spend the last of my kronur: exactly 150, in assorted low denominational coins. We went, of course, for the chocolate (I couldn't even buy a cup of coffee with it, which would have been Kr260). After enough calculating to make Michael totally annoyed, I found a combination of three chocolate bars that left me with only two remaining kronur, which I pawned off on my abused travel companion. I then began munching on the Bounty bar (do we have these here in the US? I don't know. It's like Mounds, but with milk chocolate. Mounds is better), saving the other two—a Snickers (it was the only choice that made the money work out!) and an unidentifiable mint thing, that I haven't yet tasted—for later. I still haven't finished that massive Sirius double bar.

Iceland Air took way too long to get us onto the plane, but once we took off, the flight was smooth and fast. I read Kundera, wrote my blog for yesterday (I'd been far too tired to do it last night), and read Kundera some more. Then the plane landed. Wow. It took way too long to get off the plane, and the line for customs wasn't so very pleasant (neither was the wait for the luggage at the carousel), but I made it out alive. Michael and I decided to be cheap and take the airtrain/subway back to our respective homes, and although there was a bit of a wait for the A train, I had no trouble connecting to the 1, and got home right at nine. Considering that our plane had been due to land at seven (we'd landed half an hour early, believe it or not), this wasn't so bad at all. Of course, we hadn't even left JFK when we remembered all the things about New York that we hadn't missed—in fact, I felt as though I saw more people in one place just in the greeting area than I'd seen the entire trip. Being home is good, though. My doorman asked where I'd been, and I told him Iceland. "Is it true," he asked me, "that there's a lot of blond girls there?" "Yep," I told him, "But the hottest girls in Iceland are actually Swedish tourists."

Outside my window now, it's dark. I haven't seen darkness for awhile now; it will be strange to turn out the lights.

1 comment:

F3 said...

Welcome back.
Too bad you didn't get any shots of the pretty Swedish girls.