Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Blue Lagoon: Icelands Little Treat?

I'm Riding the Bus
Today would be a day of nothing. A fantastically wonderful day of nothing. I pulled myself from my slumber at 10:00, in order to meet my 10:30 bus outside the hostel. Of course, the bus didn't arrive until 10:45 but that's alright. After all, I had my hand full of chocolaty Coco Puffs to eat.

When the bus finally did pull up it was packed. There were two girls who were also waiting for it, but they were further back – and the door opened at me, so on I jumped securing the last remaining solo seat. The two girls had to split up their little friendship and sit with who knows whom. And sit they did, for one hour as we bound across the country to Blue Lagoon.

This was the first time that I really appreciated what Iceland looks like. Although now I'm associating this little chunk of country side with the would place. It would be like driving by a farm in Ontario and thinking the whole province was like that. We're not Saskatchewan after all!

What I saw was a barren landscape – reinforcing the saying “In reality Iceland is green, and Greenland is covered in ice.” Sure, this is true – but the green is moss covered rocks, not grass or plants or, anything remotely delightful. The country was nothing but rocks pushing precariously up through the soil, just waiting to be explored, causing falls, cuts, and terrible wounds to all that are drawn to their sirens song. It's beautiful in the way that the asteroid in Armageddon was beautiful – but it was not what I was expecting. Iceland: full of surprises.

Blue Lagoon
Upon reaching blue lagoon, the bus emptied and we all rushed towards the entrance eager to claim our space aged bracelets and get inside. The bracelets had a mag card in it that allowed you to do all number of things. First, you needed it to open the turnstile to get in. Then, once in the locker room, the bracelet functioned as the key for your locker. It also allowed for the purchase of food and drinks during the time spent at the Lagoon, and finally it needed to be placed in a special tray to open the exiting turnstile.

Bathing suit on, locker locked, shower - - - showered, I was ready to enter the thermal pool. Blue Lagoon has its water piped in, having originated two kilometers underground, where it starts its journey at 240 Celsius. By the time it fills the pool, and allows for air cooling, the water remains a consistent 98 – 104, depending on where you're standing, or better yet, floating.

Once in the pool there were a number of things to do, you could float, or uhh – wade. I believe that – no swimming wasn't an option – well you could walk or wade... in hot water, with hundreds of other people, all of whom are probably peeing into it at any moment. Doesn't that sound exciting? How can you resist one of Iceland's star attractions? I certainly couldn't. And I stayed there for four hours.

I started simply walking the whole pool, and then I found the waterfall massage – basically you stand under a waterfall, and the pounding water works your back in ways that mysterious women whose name could only ever be Olga, can not. And after that, I found the piles full of mud. Mud that was to be rubbed all over your face, and kept there for a number of minutes.

But not just any mud, oh no, that would be ridiculous! Ridiculous I say! This was mud that only exists in Iceland, and has things in it that cure all skin conditions, and make you look younger, and – I don't know – whatever other magical things one could attribute to mud. I don't know that I bought into that, but I was willing to cover the top half of my face for the prescribed ten minutes. I would have done the lower half too, but, you know – the beard.

Upon looking at my fingers, noticing that they had taken on brand new forms, I decided it was time to get out of the water, and let my body return to its normal elasticity. It was time to continue reading my book – my book that, every day it goes unfinished it adds weight to my pack. And where would I sit? In the relaxation room with chairs that – there is no doubt in my mind – were constructed to kill me.

Sitting down, they immediately flung backwards, into a “reclined position” but as it was on a swing mechanism I could figure out no way to shift my balance to return to normal. I looked around – why were none of the other guests as worried as I? I didn't want t spend the rest of my life truss up in this relaxation room. This was a horror, a nightmare, I kept trying and trying to move my weight, but there was nothing – I was trapped. I was over. My trip had met the most awkward end imaginable. What was I to do?! SLAM! The chair went crashing forward – sitting my upright, and causing looks of concern from all other patrons. I smiled, help up my book, and started to read – making sure never to lean, even in the slightest, against the back of the chair.

The book dragged on – back into the pool. This time I discovered a cave. A mystical mysterious cave, and inside it I could be alone. No one else came here, and I was able to simply relax. It was wonderful, floating on the water. A little push and I was set in motion, watching the ceiling move from my relative position. Each rock had a muddy hand print left by those who came before.

Splashing, splashing, other noises. I sat up from my horizontal position, much to the distress of the couple who had only recently encroached upon my perceived domain. “Oh! So sorry!” they exclaimed, and left immediately, her – securing her bikini. It seemed that I was not the only one who realized there would be a modicum of privacy available here. This, as it turned out, was where couples came for “inappropriate touching,” and things involving “erogenous zones.” This would not be the only couple whose nefarious plans I ruined – but I did remember to make noise and move, whenever I heard someone else enter.

And just like that my day ended. Not wanting to wait until six o'clock for the next bus, I scrambled to make the four o'clock one. And make it I did – just in time, the doors ready to close.

And that, in short (if you'll believe it) was my day. The Blue Lagoon – not to be missed.

Last Night, She Said...
The less said the better, but our tribe returned once more to the bar scene – this time thinking we were wise, heading out at midnight thirty after I had completed a Jungle Book puzzle (obnoxiously missing three pieces – though I was shocked it wasn't missing more). We were not smart. Things didn't get going until one thirty, at which point we returned to the Celtic.

And there, listening to the live band playing a mix of American tunes (including some Weezer) and Icelandic rock – which I'm beginning to get to know, we narrowly avoided being picked up by a couple of guys.

And when I say narrowly avoided, I mean – didn't avoid at all. And when I say got picked up I mean – well the less said the better. And we'll leave it as that. Some stories are best not told. After all, dancing is just dancing right? Right. We refused to leave with them though – at which point they became quite angry and that was that. Time to find a new scene.

On another note, our British friend swears that, at noon, he saw a giant wave threatening to bury the city in water. He ran three intersections to avoid it, wondering why no one else seemed terrified like he did. There was no wave. He's a good guy.

In Closing
I ate rotten shark today – Hakarl. Check it out. The first bite, all you taste is lighter fluid – but once you're prepared for it? It's not so bad.

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