Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Protest and An Ocean

Beyond the City Walls
The day started at 7:00am when six other people in my room all got up together. Then I slept. The day started at 9:00am when my alarm went off. Then I slept. My day started at 11:00am.

As I was a hungry traveller, my first step was to find food. Sure, I had the stale old cake that I bought at the store the day before – but it was stale, and awful, and cheaper than bread (which should have been a clue to avoid it – but only 300ISK!) It was time to embrace the Icelandic culture and get something that one could only find in a country such as this. Today I ate whale.

Let me tell you, whale? It's awesome. It's really amazing meat. That's about all i can say about it. Every review I'd read had me prepared for the worst – I heard it was too salty, too tough, more of an effort than an enjoyment. This couldn't be further from the truth. The meat was tough, this is true. But it was that perfect toughness that let me feel a sense of carnal pleasure from ripping through the flesh. It's the same sort of pleasure than I get from tearing the meat from ribs. I'll embrace my carnal side, I have nothing to hide. After all, I ate whale.

It's salty, but not too salty – it's amazing. I encourage everyone to embrace their dark side and seek out this, potentially endangered, treat.

Save the Square, Hate the Shadow
Outside the restaurant was the public square, with posters reading “Bjorgum Ingolfstorgi & NASA.” It turned out that there was a protest concert about to begin. Authentic Icelandic music all for the betterment of – something. But of what? Eventually it was discovered by finding one of the many bilingual people in the crowd, that a contstruction company was going to build a tall building by the square, and that the building would cast a shadow over the common gathering place.

Yes, this concert was in protest of a shadow.

Good enough – the reason didn't really matter. What was important was that I was about to see a number of live bands, for zero cost. And what bands they were. The first act was a combination lounge singer and Rickie Martin. It was awkward and made me quite worried about what I'd just signed up for. But, the second act was far better. It included a long haired bearded man (not as much a rarity here than it is back in Canada.) And after him was a guy who seemed to have taped his pickup into his acoustic guitar with masking tape.

The final band was, however, by far the best. I do so love my loud angry punk music. The singer was stomping around the stage, and the drummers orange haired perm was flopping around to the beat. The two songs were fantastic – the only problem was I couldn't tell if they were singing in English or Icelandic. The thing about Icelandic (all Scandinavian Languages I've been told) is that it sounds like English – just strung together in non-sensical ways.

“You father! See you! Tomorrow I see you! You father! See you! See you as I come!”

Now normally I would assume that this was Icelandic, as the sentences didn't make much sense to me. However, as this was hardcore music – not making sense wasn't really that much of a drawback, or a rarity. Truly it was a cross cultural experience – broken up only once by a man who was dressed as Borat, in the most terrible way, holding up a sign that I could not translate.

Outside the City
After the concert, I headed – with the Aussie (not Ozzie – apparently) from the night before. We started walking towards a mall of all places, but the rain kept us away. Instead we headed down to the ocean, and started walking, and then continued to walk. We then noticed a building out on the point, so we continued to walk out there along the rocky shore.

Finally reaching the destination, sculptures began popping up. It seemed as if I was standing in a sculpture garden, with a number of abstract pieces spread around a property. A man made pond was also constructed for the purpose of displaying the art – or as a piece in and of itself.

As I walked through the exhibit I realized that I was actually on private property, and that the building I assumed was a gallery was a private residence. Still, people were driving out from the city (why they would ever drive in Reykjavik is beyond me – but that's another story and there are already too many rambled tangents here) to see the pieces.

Not only did the walk allow me to visit the sculptures but it allowed me a beautiful view of the city's skyline. From a distance the city looks just like any other – with buildings towering above. It's only when you get closer that you realize that the tallest of these are only about four storeys high. Still – it does make a beautiful sight from Sculpture-Point.

Stepping in the Ocean
The beach in Iceland is... not pleasant to walk on. I feel a need to take a picture of my feet in every part of every ocean I visit. Normally there is sand. Today there was rock. Lots and lots of rock. And every step was full of god awful pain. But I got my picture, stepped in the cold water, and that was that. Time to walk back.

Along the way I stopped for a box of Coco Puffs (namely because I hate them, and as such the food will last much longer). And then I was introduced to football hooliganism.

Parading by me was a group of Norwegian football fans, all decked out, and chanting their cheers. They began standing on benches, banging on – things that were bangable – and creating all sorts of chaos. Fantastic.

I've been in the hostels common room – ever so slowly writing this post – over the last two hours, normally distracted by conversation and trying to figure out how to upload to youtube. The football fans just walked by. Apparently the final score was 1 – 1. Therefore no one is happy. Ohh football.

Doms Tale
An interesting post note – we finally reconnected with the Brit that we lost last night. When asked what happened to him he told us he didn't know. Apparently we vanished, he knocked over a tray of drinks, and then ran.

And then? Nothing. Blackness. When he woke up he was beside a building trapped between two bicycles, covered in beer.

Today he saw a “giant wave coming towards him” which caused him to run three intersections to escape.

What fun these British people are.

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