Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I feel like I've forgotten how to write. Does that mean I've forgotten how to reflect? It seems to me I've been moving, moving, moving, and the present keeps me there, and isn't that something to strive for? After the movie wrapped (did I mention I flew to NB and swam naked in the Bay of Fundy in October off of one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen?) I came home, dragged my suitcases up four flights of stairs, unpacked, slept, ate pho, woke up, re-packed, and went back to the airport to take off for Iceland. Watched "Juno" on the plane. No comment. Landed exhausted and non-verbal and turned upside down by the stark and bleak lunar landscape. It takes some getting used to. It's misty and gray and desolate out by the airport, and you can't have your little "I'm jetlagged, poor me, where am I" attitude getting in the way of the experience. Day one 1 I slept for a few hours and when I woke we walked to the outdoor pools about 15 minutes away. Here you will find the cure for what ails you, because the air is like Nova Scotia: dense, salty, refreshing, a bit too cold, a bit too wet, getting in your pores and bones - and then you slide into the heated outdoor waters and the top half of you is beaming and alive, while the bottom half is relaxed and relieved. These two halves make an incredible whole, and you might just cry over the beauty of it all. We stayed for a few hours, catching up and lazing about under man-made waterfalls, heading to the sauna for a steam, getting chilly on the deck, and finally rinsing it all off in the shower before heading home. The change room is a great place to be in Iceland on the first day of your trip, because you get to see the babies and the mommies and the grannies and their nude little bums and their traditional sweaters hanging in lockers. And you can't front because you're stripped down too. You might notice your facial plane is smaller than theirs, and wish it were bigger and rounder. The rest of Iceland is like a dream. Reykjavik is so pretty. We ate a lot of fish, a tiny bit of whale (dark purple and bleeding, like liver in every way, not at all my fave), and lamb (3:1 sheep to human ratio); visited the public pools daily, spent millions of dollars, drank Brennivan - the caraway-flavoured Schnaps. Renting a car is a good thing to do. Within 2 hours we were in an alternate universe - landscape dotted with Icelandic ponies who have thick and shaggy blonde manes, so many sheep on so many cliffs, mountains covered in deep spongy moss. There were waterfalls and glaciers and black sand beaches. Tiny towns with wooden churches and fairy huts with grass rooves. Geothermal hot springs that had little stations with buckets of clay for beauty masks. We drank champagne in the water, like a bunch of jerks. And did you know? Iceland's hot water has sulphur in it and so every time you take a shower it smells like rotten eggs. But in a good way. I got to spend time with people I didn't know that well, which is usually kind of hard for me - but sharing landscapes and lobster soup and most of all sitting around together in bathing suits - it helps ease social anxiety a lot. I loved looking at my companions' faces in the steamy hot springs, so pure and clear and a tiny bit vulnerable. It was a time I won't soon shake loose.

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