checking out shortly, heading to airport in two hours by bus

now that I know how far Keflavik is from Reykjavik, of course.

Our tour guide outlined everywhere we went on a tourist map of Iceland; I’m going to transfer the info with a pronunciation guide onto a much bigger map.

Last of the postcards in the mail. I will be home long before them of course.

I’m waiting for my computer to be fully charged, and then I’m going to head downstairs to wait for the bus indoors until the last minute. Then I have to cross the street and stand in the wind and rain for a while until it actually comes. Cost of the bus is ten times less than the taxi – but it’s reasonable at least.

Forgot to put the Do Not Disturb on the door so poor housekeeper got flashed, not that Icelanders give a shit about stuff like that. I assured the desk that I took no permanent hurt although who knows about her.

THIS IS ICELAND.

Lost my taste for photos

Realizing that I’d wrecked a borrowed camera took much of the fun out of snapping pics, so I don’t have a lot from yesterday. ALSO IT WAS BLOWING RAINING SLEETING FROM SUNUP TO SUPPERTIME. I stayed on the bus for the Gullfoss and everybody else was back on the bus in minutes. Weather cleared at sunset, as it often does.

After a quiet night in a hotel room I barely slept in, breakfast IN A FULL CONTACT DINING HALL. Apart from the bus staff, we were the only pink (and brown) people there, and so we dozen attempted to get breakfast in a room where there were 150 Chinese tourists, who couldn’t form a buffet line, changed direction constantly so you ran into them constantly, spilled, drop, broke and emptied things and stood in front of various food items interrogating them in Chinese as if comprehension would drop from the sky and in general made me long to return to Vancouver where the Chinese know how to form a fucking queue. Ten people let themselves into the line ahead of me. The bus staff all had that look to them; not even trying for a gimcrack hospitality mask.

As one, we said, “If this is a taste of what Iceland is like in high summer we’re so so so so fucking glad we came in May.”

Spent the rest of the day one step ahead of those three tour buses. We were on the bus by 8:01 since we were so anxious to be out of there. Never ate such an indifferent breakfast so fast. (Still another hour before I get brekky here.)

The black sand beach was beautiful.

Callie Hills made me a cute little wristlet with threads of reflector in it. This item blew off my wrist (see above noted mention of BLOWING) AND THEN FORMED ITSELF INTO A WHEEL AND ROLLED AT ABOUT 10KPH UP THE BEACH, WITH ME IN WILD BUT NERVOUS PURSUIT AS TOURISTS DIE ON THIS BEACH ALL THE TIME. Tour guide says never ever turn your back on the ocean here. At least two of my tourmates watched me do this and when I turned around the buggers were howling, entertained by my abrupt turn of speed.

Just before we got on the beach, it hailed. I said, “Cool, it’s graupel! It only lasts a couple of minutes.” The second it slacked off I jumped off the bus, which made me the first person off the bus ever (I sat in the same seat the whole time, second last seat on the right – WE CANADIANS PICK OUR SPOT AND DIE DEFENDING IT JUST ASK ANY INDIGENOUS PERSON).

The graupel shone in the footprints of previous tourists like diamonds – the sun came out. You have to be ready, aye ready.

Then we drove like hell to a waterfall, and then another one. Then the Thingvellir and then back to Reykjavik.

((Taking parentheticals to abyssal depths.) Shit, somewhere in there was the Geysir. You know how it is, off bus… trudge to tourist trap …on bus …drive to next one. I was in a good mood yesterday, but still, I’m high functioning autistic and a week of two few hours of sleep every night, sensory overload, enforced sociability (I think I managed okay) and I was at a bit of a low ebb, plus I was dreading breaking the news about the camera to Mike (he doesn’t read my blog, which is prob’ly a good thing.))

WHERE WE WENT TO KEX HOSTEL. I’m thinking why is she taking us to a hostel.

CHEAP FUCKING BEER that’s why, first time I saw beer in Iceland south of 1000 krona so yes I had some (I’ve been monitoring my digestion and so far so good but I’m not taking up drinking again in Vancouver, those days are gone) and ARCTIC CHAR WITH PISTACHIOS AND MUSTARD MASHED POTATOES. For half the price of an equivalent meal anywhere else. I’d been meaning to eat char all week and I AM SO FUCKING GLAD I WAITED. mOm it was better than the lightest salmon, fresh, cooked to perfection. And it was HUGE it was an IMMENSE SLAB of clean protein and my body thanked me with every bite. If you’re ever in R. don’t miss it. There isn’t much on the menu but it’s all good.

Today the Saga Museum in the morning, late lunch with a twitter pal I’m meeting IRL, and then THE PENIS MUSEUM. This is R.

Tomorrow a soak in the public thermal pool 12 minutes’ walk from the hotel, then check out and home. I think I’ll be nicely decompressed and ready to go.

Home. WHERE THE SEASON FINALE OF SUPERNATURAL BETTER BE WAITING FOR ME… naw, not really. I am looking forward to the Expanse though….

 

 

later….. no penis museum for me. Met Ger∂ur and she is WONDERFUL she took me to the ONLY SCIENCE FICTION STORE IN ICELAND. But now I have walked for about 1.75 hours today and as charming as this town is in the sunshine I am in for the evening, except to step out and get some pad thai across the street later.

apparently I was checked out of the hotel when I came back. Just paid 139 Euros for another night…. I’ll have a chat with my agent when I am back. It’s possible she told me I was supposed to arrange my own last night, but I don’t think so. and you know

 

I don’t care. Life is fucking awesome right now, even if my feet are singing.

 

The pics I should have posted earlier

 

The above noted mini volcano is no more than four stories tall.

 

Above, the lake of midges, noted bird paradise and film location.

The young Torontonian in the picture above climbs everything. I wouldn’t have climbed that for beans, the Dark Forest is full of cracked piles of rock. He climbed the last waterfall we went to and the damned things 192 metres.

Where I got heartburn.

It’sa Me Fumarole. That’s the noise it made. The stench is best left undescribed.

 

 

embarrassed (the previous day)

Jesus, what a buttload o’ driving we did that day. Back really took a beating.

Anyway, after a fucking brutal amount of driving we were in a Martian landscape with fumaroles. Pics including video when wifi stops barfing. Stench appalling, colours weird – off kilter. Don’t know how else to describe it really.

Then a briefer but still brutal regime of driving and we were at a waterfall or foss as they say in these parts. Pics to follow. I can’t remember what the hell it was called, and I don’t have to, we’ll all get a map with a pronunciation guide at the end, so I’ve been told.  It was big, it had multiple parts, I bought stamps to go with the postcards I acquired from the night before and jesus that reminds me I should post those two I wrote out and stamped.  Wonder if I’ll remember, I doubt it. Anyways it was compared to Niagara Falls and all of us who have seen Niagara Falls laughed our asses off because Niagara Falls would pick it up and love on it for being so goshdarned cute.

Trip to north of ghastly WC, avoided spending any more tourist money cept for stamps.

Then we went to a farm to table restaurant and I paid forty fucking dollars for a very small fraction of a humanely slaughtered and lovingly raised cow nestled in a tasty goulash that gave me an eyewatering case of heartburn. Or maybe it was before the fumaroles. Only the roll of digital pics will give me the gooooddddammned timeline here. I’m just trying to move it along here so I have a minute to repack.

In the middle there somewhere or who knows really it’s all the most excellent blur, we saw FALSE VOLCANOES. These are formations which happen when a certain viscosity/composition/density of lava rolls out over wetlands. You get these miniature cones which are … well, miniature. I loved them. Pics later, relax.

Okay I’ll try.

Nope, barfed again.

Then we went to a real forest. Some enterprising farming family planted trees on their property overlooking The Lake of Midges for the best part of half a century and when the old lady died she deeded it to Iceland. FUCK I LOVE ICELAND. Short hill, nice view, incredibly tame birds and there will be pics, yeah whatever.

Then. The Darkwood.

I had a really really really bad feeling the entire time I was there. The landscape is effin’ creepy. I took pics, including one I think is the jewel so far, but anyway, it’s not a wood. It’s crumbling towers of evil looking stone, as if ogres and trolls had really been frozen in place and then were subject to ten thousand years of weathering. Another kind of formation from lava on wetland. I could not fucking wait to get out of there and felt much better the second I was gone. The equivalent of Santa lives there but in Iceland the Santa’s Mom will eat you if you’re naughty so I guess…. well anyway things are a little less scary in Iceland now since the government asked people nicely to stop telling stories that made their kids not want to leave the house in December. Wish I was kidding.

Then another foss, including a closeup of a piece of ice melt the size of a school bus, long freaking walk in the wind, unpleasant trek to a WC which the guide said was the worst rest stop in Iceland (ten portapotties, five a side back to back ) – cheerfully – and after viewing the digestive output of a hundred strangers at much closer range than would made any but the most scatologically devoted happy, I was forced to experience something I’ve never had to before; the sensation that some mofo was trying to tip the loo over. I was so terrified I braced my hand against the wall, always the worst possible idea in a port a potty, but it proved that the violent rocking motion which so disturbed my attempt to commune with nature was merely what happened when a two hundred fifty pound man bounded up onto the wooden walkway surrounding the loos.

Imagine that despite my description…. there was virtually no smell. THAT WAS HOW HARD THE WIND WAS BLOWING.

I slunk back onto the tour bus last, kinda wishing I could be hosed down in Dettol first.

Then a long long long long longass drive and we climbed a mountain and took pics and we saw a thousand migrating birds and then came down the other side good god my tummy and came to the city of Elves and saw puffins. SLEEP.

Anyway it was a long day, long driving, much walking and many definitive Experiences.

 

 

where am I? outskirts of Akureyri

I woke with that moment of disorientation but I’m at

Countryhotel Sveinbjarnargerdi

All of us laughed when she said it slow. We’re still not going to get it to be able to say it.

I mean to post pics of the south end of the fjord from the west and then the east.

Oh shit that means I have to get out of bed and find the camera blerg.

120 degree panorama, front of restaurant in Akureyri

There was blue in the sky – it was 10 degrees and still and quite nice for Northern Iceland.

Am I evil for missing my musical instruments more than brO and grandsOn. I miss Rowena and Otto so much my breastbone hurt just thinking about it.

I finished and posted another fic today (of course I’m going to post fanfic if the bus has wifi I ain’t missin’ that opportunity)  and it already has more than 300 hits and it has 33 kudos and people even commented for once.

Nice, and ferociously expensive dinner last night in Akureyri, the miniature Reykjavik.

Folks on the tour are nice. AND YOUNG, LIKE THEY’RE ALL KEITH’S AGE. There’s one older Canadian woman. The only person of colour is an Indian travel agent. He described with a straight face not being allowed to book his family into a resort someplace in the Pacific because they CHECK THE MEDIA PROFILE OF VISITORS and he wasn’t high tone enough. He didn’t have to tick the racism box, none of us were that stupid. I merely said, “An educated global traveller is somebody they don’t want? What a hell hole it must be.” We gave each other pained smiles but I could tell he was genuinely pissed but not wanting to ‘go’. He said that being an Indian global tour travel agent is the art of finding the first ten people willing to go. He says you struggle; Indians are herd animals, he said. But once ten people are willing to go the other 45 seats immediately sell out. He said it happens time and again.

I allowed myself a Viking brand beer with about half the tour in the lounge last night and we talked about the impact of Iceland volcanoes on global history IT WAS AWESOME. Also no lie that beer helped me sleep.

Well, as much as the prospect appalls, I should get dressed and slip out for a walk since it doesn’t appear to be raining. Apparently our hotel tonight is in an elf village, and we’re going to see a big ass waterfall today.

Of course I really don’t want to get up. This bed and comforter are making plans for me to stay.

 

 

I did not make it to the saga museum

This is mostly because tourist maps in a high wind are a pain and nothing in this remarkably low rise metropolis is set on the square.

Walked past a church outbound and didn’t even notice it; it’s just a plain white box of a building.

There’s no place to sit down anywhere. Why would there be? The weather doesn’t support it. Funnily the sun is just blazing down now, as it was for most of my walk. At one point the sun vanished and it blew a gale and five minutes later it was glorious again.

Kids under ten on bikes by themselves.

NOT A SINGLE CIGARETTE. NOBODY SMOKING IN CARS, ON THE STREET. I was looking.

THERE ARE CONSTRUCTION CRANES EVERYWHERE it seriously makes Vancouver look like nothing is happening.

I walked around about a tenth of downtown R to the point my feet hurt, although that was on top of all the airport walking-while-laden so…

I wanted to eat something but it became obvious that unless I had something to drink I was going to keel over so I got some really nice orange pop. It smells like orangina, fizzes like Fanta Orange and has about a quarter of the sugar. Very nice, local business and all (Egils). I also picked up a gluten free chocolate caramel brownie, and it’s really quite good. I’ll wander out later for takeout, I guess.

Missed getting into the post office by about two minutes, so I still have no stamps.

There’s a bird in Iceland whose call sounds like, “Hey there!” followed by a mechanical sounding Bronx cheer. Or maybe it was two birds singing at the same time and I mixed them together.

Oh Jeff I forgot to mention that just before we turned into the street for the hotel a cat crossed four lanes like a boss just in front of us.

I suppose if I felt like walking I could go to the Phallological Museum. It’s walking distance from here. But maybe I’ve been enough of a dick today so I should stay here in this bright cozy room.

 

Meal last night plus other stuff

Heather dropped by Jim and Jan’s, and how lovely to see her! They talked and I listened about the nature conservancy efforts locally and how very political it can be.

Last night’s meal consisted of lamb sirloin, fresh steamed pea pods from the garden, fresh greens from the garden, homemade salad dressing, new potatoes boiled in their skins, a simply stunning home made mint sauce with mint from the garden, and all washed down with a growler of Gladstone IPA.

I want to curl up on the sofa like a rescue cat and NEVER LEAVE.  But it’s okay, I’m coming back for another week in July. AFTER the wedding, obvs. Because I have to see the Morrison Headwaters for myself.

I’ll be seeing Mike and Nita today, yay, yay!

Also I’ll be nipping off to see Unca Garry and Ontie Diane for an hour before the funeral.

 

 

I’ve been here since noon

In a couple of minutes they’ll call the flight and I’ll find out if I’ve been sitting here like a fucking idiot for no good reason for the last day. Fort St John is not a fun place to fly to on passes.  PAUL WANTS TO TAKE THE SKYTRAIN HOME.  On April 4.  With no Compass card. My feelings are simple.  He can do what he likes, although with no Compass card he’s not likely to get far, as I laboriously explained to him.  I’m going home in a cab; it’s hours after my normal bedtime and I have hours to go before somebody offers up a bed for me.

later….

Home.  What a fucking waste of a day.  Three flights came and went and I’m not going to FSJ unless somebody pays for my return flight.

Some man was shot dead a few blocks from here.  I don’t think I want to live on this planet any more.

 

 

No progress

However I’m in Victoria for a couple days so I’m hoping to get book one through the edits.

Victoria is beautiful as always and Dan’s has Nanaimo bars for a buck.

Travelling to the ferry was disgusting, as always.  I had a half hour wait at Ladner Exchange -if I was older or more infirm I’da had a hell of a time during the wait as I got quite chilled.  Every other part of the trip moved along reasonably well. I treated myself to the Pacific Buffet and prevented a Muslima from accidentally ingesting shrimp, always a win.

I am hoping Jeff’s home when my aboriginal art comes.  It’s a storm trooper helmet with a great blue heron across it done giclé.  Yeah.  I was blown away by the thumbnail so I’m hoping the real thing is as awesome.

Woke at three, left the house at six-thirty, got to the ferry about 8:30 and so easily caught the nine.  I debated not bringing the mando but I want to play When I Go for mOm.

Got some phone calls to make and then I’ll get into it.

Pride

Paul’s presentation to the Restorative Justice conference in Parksville yesterday went off without a hitch.  I had advised him to run short rather than long on his presentation.  The other two panel presenters work professionally as criminologists, one on the Island and the other in Lower Mainland, and their presentations were much more academically oriented, so Paul’s stark and brief words elicited a lot of questions.  This allowed Paul to shine, as he speaks with assurance and smoothness when he’s not reading off a tiny glass screen.  To ease the times he had to consult his notes on the tablet the version I sent him had a simply monstrous type face, and he was grateful for that.

I don’t know much about anything, but I know that middle aged men want a damn big serif font.

Paul picked me up at 7:30 am (I’d  been up since 2:30, sigh), I drove us to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry, we broke fast on the ferry, we got into Nanaimo and drove right to Parksville in the glorious sunshine, got oriented and parked at the hotel, went for an amazing walk along the spectacular boardwalk fronting the hotel, found (and walked) the painted and decorated labyrinth on the concrete end of the boardwalk (which I had researched more than ten years ago but forgotten about – I put together a list of all the labyrinths in BC as part of a service yonks ago), came back and had a wonderful lunch in a quiet restaurant overlooking the water, listened to the end of their Annual General Meeting, and then Paul made his presentation.  He tried to call me up and I just laughed and said I was there to take notes.  As expected lots of people approached Paul afterward for further comments, but we’d built that into the schedule.

Then we drove to his Cousin Ruth’s place where she and Garry fed us the fresh wild caught spring salmon of wisdom, the taters of sustenance, the homebrewed beer of amber glory, the carrots of nom, the salad of little bits of things from the garden including nasturtium and borage flowers, the last corn of the season and unsweetened gluten free pie with whipped cream which I didn’t eat because at the point all I could think about was “the tragic and explosive death of Mr. Creosote”.  This meal was served to us on less than two hours’ notice, so there’s that to add to the pile of amazeballs it truly was. The garden tour yielded a bag of heritage apples and a pocketful of fresh basil.

Then a quick and easy 20 minute drive back to the ferry, where our reservation awaited and we had an uneventful trip home and I was in bed by 10 although I was too buzzed to sleep right away.

It truly was a glorious day, and I’m glad I was there.  I am so proud of Paul I could burst.  And doesn’t he have the nicest relatives??

Fml

I can’t sleep.

We’re going to pick up half a lamb with Tish and Terry tomorrow – we’re in Cornwall – and then go see baby Malcolm who is breathing on his own and nursing like a champ.  Yay!

I have had lots of major and minor irritations about the trip so far but can’t provide details.  The femicides in the Wilno area and the utter incompetence of the OPP in policing and the CBC in reporting merely added to the things that make me sad.

The saddest thing of all is how badly I want to get on the plane and go home. I’ve never missed Jeff so much.

Some things are good, the amazing mushrooms and the canoe jaunt to the falls and Shadow cat and no bugs and pleasant fall weather.

I can feel some interest in writing coming back. The characters are talking to me again.

As is standard the table last night had all manner of lovely fare; Patty pan squash and ribs with home made barbecue sauce, eddo (which is a starchy corm yes Jeff I hadz a corm) and taters and home made salsa.

Mind you the veal stew Sandra cooked night before last was spectacular, along with the lovely cheese and rice. I ain’t starving.

 

Saw my editor

She is so very awesome.  Plus cats.

The fOlks and I took a really nice long ride around Saanich.  They fed me at Sassy’s.  Honestly, I am so frikkin spoiled.

I am going to make coffee and do laundry.  I underestimated my pants requirement.

No writing, but just getting the manuscript handed over has made me feel much better.