Monday, July 17, 2006

Day ten -- Arrival in Iceland

Day ten found us spending a lot more time in the airport than we had originally planned. Our flight was to leave at 11:15, but was delayed until after 15:05, almost a four hour delay. In spite of this, it didn't really bother any of us. I was able to catch up on the Internet finally with a Wifi hotspot in the airport, and Icelandair gave us six £10 vouchers for lunch (this is over $120), and we had a really hard time spending it.

It was amusing to try to use them at the food court in the airport. Since one cannot get change from the vouchers, the clerks at the counters found it their personal challenge to try to help us spend every pence of them. I was trying to buy two orders of fish and chips for the boys, and that only came to six pounds. So the lady asked me if I wanted more chips. Sure. Only seven and change. How about three bags of crisps? Eight something. I tell her that's fine. No, she says, you can get two more bottles of water. Great. Nine pounds eighty five. Perfect. The only problem is that I've only spent one of the six vouchers!

After everybody had eaten, and we had bags full of crisps and water, I still had one voucher left, which I used to buy a pint of Tennents, a water, a Coke for Eddie, and a Chocolate Yazoo for Luke. It was to be my last pint in Scotland (for now).

Then, we finally made the plane and, after a short 1.5 hour flight, landed in Iceland. Because of the number of people we had, and the amount of luggage, we had to hire two cabs to take us to the hotel. Becky and the boys got in the Mercedes cab, and we got stuck with the most sullen Icelander ever as our driver.

We're driving along, and he first points out the U.S. military base. "See that base?" he says, "they have a fence around to keep us all out, and though we have the freshest water in the world, they have to chlorinate it and put it in tanks."

"Uh, sorry," I reply.

Then later, "See that. That mall is an import of American capitalism. I hate it."

"Uh, sorry," I reply.

Then he mentions that Iceland is below its carbon emission quota, and it makes up for countries, well, countries like mine that are spewing emissions.

"Uh, sorry," I reply.

The cab ride lasted for 40 minutes, and it was about 39 minutes 50 seconds too long. But once we arrived at the Hotel Reykjavík Centrum, we were rewarded with a beautiful, modern and very luxurious set of rooms right in the middle of the old town Reykjavík. After a quick dinner (mine was miso-marinated cod and local mussels with coconut lemongrass broth) at the hotel restaurant, we strolled around town briefly before putting the much over-tired boys into the tub and thence into bed.

Tomorrow, we'll walk the city and see what Iceland has to offer in Reykjavík.

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