Posted by: jeanne | June 27, 2014

first day in iceland

At the moment, neither my phone nor laptop are connecting to the internet.  Wifi is everywhere here, but usually it’s password protected.  I have been able to connect to several open networks in various places, but  not here in the hostel where i’m staying.

Another great trick is that I left my european plug converter in my luggage, so i’m going to run out of battery, but hopefully not before I charge my phone off my computer.
Is it still the day I got into town?  So much has happened, and i’m a bit confused.

I had a bad night on the plane.  I always get sick when I travel, for the past ten years or so it’s been this way.  Maybe not the flight over, but always within a couple of days.  This time it started at the airport.  I put a bunch of things on my stomach and nothing digested, and I realized sometime after the flight started that I was going to have to throw up and have diarrhea.  Which was unfortunate, because I was in a window seat.  Fortunately, the other two seats were occupied by a brother and sister traveling alone, and they didn’t mind my going to the bathroom 5 times during the flight.  Or at least were too polite to object.  I really should have let them move over and take the window, but I really do love to look out the window when i’m flying
When i’m being sick, I go thru mental and emotional hell.  I so don’t want to be there.  I want to be home.  So I sat there and watched myself go thru hell.  Arguing with myself (no, I didn’t have the energy, so it wasn’t arguing) about how I couldn’t actually go home, and how these discouraging thoughts went with being sick, and how I would feel better later.
But the illness lasted until after the plane landed, so I sat in my seat until everyone was off the plane but the crew, and then I dragged myself to the back of the line for passport control, which took forever, an entire plane disembarking to stand in a glacial line that went down stairs and thru corridors.  But the guy who was shepherding the incomers took pity on me in the end and swept me thru security, and I got my luggage and did not lay down in the airport and go to sleep.  That was what would have been ‘best’ for me, but I kept going, paid for the bus to town, got on the bus and lay down on the back seats until it started.  Then I sat in the front and looked at the really interesting land between the peninsula we landed upon and the capital city.  Everything’s volcanic here, and you can just see where the first settlers came ashore and built farmsteads.  And I mean that literally.  The foundations are still there.  This is like tundra, this land, and the scars of humans remain forever, so every little alteration can be read.

We passed vast lava fields on our half an hour ride to town.  Like some construction site abandoned and grown over after the bulldozers had been there.  Piles of rocks.  Everywhere.  And often it was apparent that people had been active out there in the lava fields.  Piling rocks on top of each other to make goldsworthies, or temporary organic sculptures.  Maybe I will get to ask someone.

We got to the bsi terminal; they’re the people who run the airport shuttle (one of the), and I opened all my luggage and switched everything around until I had only my backpack and laptop, and everything else went into the big case and got stored.  I will pick it up when i’m ready to go to olafsfjordur.  But of course, I left my converter plug in my suitcase, so now I have to go get another one tomorrow.  Wee hah.  At least I know where to go now.
I took my regular clothes out of my bag and put them on, and stuffed my summer weight salwar kameez back into the suitcase.  I won’t be needing them until the temperature goes above 80 again.
At the bus station I bought a phone sim card and asked the guy to install and configure it for me, so I now have an icelandic phone number and 5 gigs of data for when I don’t have access to a wifi connection.  And I also got a welcome card, which lets me take the local busses, get into museums for free, go to the pools for free.  Which I neglected to do today, because it’s so damned cold and windy.
The wind.  I was warned about the wind, but had no idea.  It never stops blowing.  Of course, that’s just the first day, so I don’t know.

I had to go to the local mall to get my sim card, so I used my bus pass and rode to where I correctly intuited it was.  Good.  And on the way out I grabbed a pastry and coffee from a bakery; my first food since the plane.  Then I got back on the bus and came to hafnarfjordur, another section of reykjavik at this point, but a port town in its own right.

There was a party of disabled kids and their minders on the bus with me; not autistic per se, and not mongoloid either, but some developmental disability that left them with few social inhibitions.  Which I really enjoy.  The older boy kept up a running commentary in icelandic and english (!), the younger girl kept holding hands with her minder and talking about i’m not sure what.  And then the bus passed hellisgerdi, which I already know is the elf park, and the girl got so happy and animated that I had to laugh out loud.  Kids can see elves and this girl was clearly able to as well, because it seemed like her favorite place to go.

I left them to get off the bus and rode down to the harbor, just because.  And then I had to stop and fish my down jacket, and put it on top of my already atlanta winter weight clothes (leggins, skirt, long sleeved tshirt, fleece vest, scarf).  The wind.  Then I walked up to the hostel, a good mile or two, I should have gotten out at hellisgerdi…

i’m in a room by myself at the moment, with 4 bunk beds I took the one that had the open window.  The heat is off, of course, because it’s summer… I put everything up and went to the grocery store for food.  I got some smoked lamb salad and bread for tomorrow, coffee pads and milk, and a ready to heat dinner of fish balls, carrots and peas, and potatos, and a bottle of fruit juice so I could start rehydrating.  Then  I took the long way home, wandering thru hellisgerdi, which is so cool – turned into a public park back in the 1920s, it’s full of trees and lava rocks, and it’s really peaceful and happy.  I am supposed to look up the elf seer, but with my internet connection wonky at the moment, I may just have to stop by her shop in the morning.  She knows i’m coming, so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock, but I hope she’s not too busy to talk to me.

What did I do after that?  I was really tired at that time, so I made dinner at 2 pm and ate half, and talked to my sister for a few minutes on facetime, and then went to sleep until 5.  and went for a walk thru the lava down to the shoreline, which is large smooth rocks.  When I came back it was 7, so I made coffee, tried to get the internet connection working, then heated up the second half of dinner, and now i’m finishing up this blog post hopefully in time to beat the battery on my laptop, which only has 15 minutes to go.  However, my phone now has a 60% charge on it, so it’s not all bad.

There are several people in the hostel tonight.  Mostly speaking german.  Some of them are camping out in the field behind the hostel, and some aren’t.  Nobody but me is trying to use the internet, and the office manager keeps rebooting the server, but I can’t get anything.  I had internet this afternoon, tho, so i’m not too worried that it’s my problem.  I mean, it is, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

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