Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Icelandic Sagas, Part 1

I remember when I finally made up my mind to head off to Iceland. I had wanted to go for years. It was such a burning desire, but I had neatly tucked it away in the recesses of
"It'll never happen".

Part 1, Scene 1: The buying of the ticket and such like.

So, when I finally bought my ticket, I thought I must be mad.
Mad or not, I was going, and I had a ticket to prove it! I spent time looking on-line for a hostel. I found one which seemed perfect, way out in a remote wee fishing village, near the west fjords.
Part 1, Scene 2: Getting there is half the fun?

I'm at the airport..where the very efficient check-in person asked me if I was going to the hot springs. Hot springs? Huh? I had no clue what he meant...well, whatever, it was insignificant. But, boy did he seem excited slash jealous. "But Why?", I thought.

Part 1, Scene 3: All about the Americans!

I'm now on plane number 2, heading for Iceland. I'm surrounded by American retirees...from Georgia. Good times! It's a little hazy, but it goes something like this: the Americans start asking me questions, where was I going, how long..the usual...I mention the village I was headed to, and they promptly whip out a map. And then it hits me, I start to mildly panic, which went something like " Dear lord," well more than likely, " Dear Green Tara," I quickly think,
" I am not a map-carrying or map taking type of traveller, but please assure me that this trip will be ok." I start to show the Americans my destination, well sort of, it's not really on a map, it's a wee village after all, for this I was actually pretty grateful. I think I was really selling this village. I'm not even in sales. But the next thing I know, they started mentioning that they wanted to try to get out my wee fishing village during their trip. Lucky me. Next up, the steward started chatting with the Americans, and asked them, and I was semi-included in this, if any of them knew any Icelandic. I hardly held my breath for their answers. The answer came from the American lady in the row in front of me, or us, who happily chimed in that no, of course she didn't speak Icelandic, she was from Georgia, so they spoke American. Fun!

Part 2, Scene 2 : And the fun continues.

I will remember this particular scene fondly, if we can use such a loving word here. I often times order a Kosher meal when in the air. It's not really for the food, as much as it is for the prayer. I like the prayer. I feel safe, looked after. Ok, I'll admit, I don't speak or read Hebrew, but for me it's calming all the same. To be given food that has been not only blessed but presented with it's own prayer , sometimes in English, more often only in Hebrew, and 4 layers of hard-core saran wrap. All specialty meals are served first. This is just common practice. My Kosher meal was served to me first, while my American seat-mates tried to politely avoid me, giving me a chance to eat.
It's always awkward when you are the only person eating a special meal and all the people around you aren't and so they stare while trying to make it seem as if they were looking out the window at a super fascinating cloud. Yeah right, after having been in the air even for 10 minutes, there are no truly super fascinating clouds, they're all just big and fluffy. But I digress. My American seat mates were absolutely no exception. I knew I seemed too bizarre for them to resist..and then I heard it, whispered just loud enough for my ears to not have had to strain, but quiet enough to still be a whisper:
"She's a vegetarian!" The word vegetarian was emphasized with both disgust and a sort of self-congratulatory air, as if the speaker had found the cure for cancer. Ok, maybe not that much, but more like....mmm, like she'd just solved a very puzzling mystery. The speaker was none other than one of my female American seat mates, just off to my left. She made her announcement cum discovery to the group, as it were.

I tried really hard to not laugh out loud. I thought, " if they only knew, that I'm not vegetarian, but, (gasp!) Jewish, eating Kosher..well, let's just say they probably wouldn't have been all that interested in my goings on....

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