"Iceland 2000" story # 5

Landmannalaugur          June 15, 2000

Hello, all, from sunny Iceland, where the sunīs been shining 28 of the past 30 hours.
     For the most part, things are good - except that "The Hip-Hop Queen of Iceland" (Sóley) has a new boyfriend, while "The Drag Queen of Iceland" hit on me recently at the club.
     To continue the trend of people with nicknames, I called "The Worldīs Strongest Man", Magnus Ver Magnusson, yesterday. I challenged him to an eating contest. He had this to say: "Sometimes I can eat a lot, and sometimes I canīt." He rejected my offer because he watches what he eats. I considered taunting him and calling him "The Worldīs Strongest Chicken", but itīs a small country and Iīm worried about running into him later.
     What are the people in Iceland like? ...Compared to the States, they heavily enjoy four main activities: drinking, working, having money, and keeping up with fashion. Almost everyone in Reykjavik works 40+ hours a week and goes out on the weekends, dressed in expensive black.
     Now, for the important question - Whatīs the ice cream like in Iceland? Am I able to maintain my all-ice cream diet? ...The ice cream here is quality, despite the fact that one brand has the un-appetizing name of Mjúkís (pronounced, basically, "mucus").

I hitchhiked to the middle of the island on Tuesday. I was trying to visit Landmannalaugur, a hot spring.
     A truck-driver hauling lava rocks dropped me near Mt. Hekla, the worldīs largest active volcano. I asked him if I could drive his bull-dozer, but he wouldnīt let me.
     Mt. Hekla had recently erupted, so the mountain was the darkest of darks, making for a bright contrast against the snow on top. The eruption had also killed around, meaning I was the only living thing for miles.
     Cars came by at a rate of two an hour. I was shocked when the first three sped by without picking me up. I donīt know what their motives were for leaving me in such desolation. Iīm surprised they bothered to avoid hitting me. I could almost picture them stopping the car, waiting for me to run up excitedly, then picking up a handful of rocks and throwing them at me, only to drive off laughing.
     But never fear! I made it to the final camp before Landmannalaugur. Unfotunately, the roads to Landmannalaugur were flooded and cars couldnīt drive them.
     "Press On!" I said, and I set off on foot for the 36-kilometer walk to the hot spring. The park ranger gave me some advice and a map before I left. In a way, I think he admired my stupidity because he offered me a job.
     For three hours I hiked. Because none of you could be there, Iīll provide an extensive list of the nature I saw: mountains, boulders, rockpiles, stones, slabs, slate, rocks, pebbles, small grains of rock, and rubble, and some grass. Finally, I saw two birds. Then, I saw some cars.
     I consulted my map, because I wasnīt supposed to see any cars on my route to Landmannalaugur. As it turns out, Iīd made a dreadfully wrong turn somewhere.
     Did I turn around and head back for Landmannalaugur!? "Press..."
     No way! I hitchhiked back to Reykjavik. I suppose it was a good thing I made that wrong turn, because I calculated the speed Iīd been walking at and it wouldīve taken me 15 hours to reach Landmannalaugur!
     My 17th driver (a new record for me) and final one of the day was the funniest:
     The driver, Erickur, said, "Where are you working in Reykjavik?"
     "Club 22."
     "Oh, thatīs the gay one, right?"
     "So, whyīd you come to Iceland?"
     "I heard the girls were the prettiest in the world here."
     "Ahh. I see you found out you didnīt like them!"
     (Ha, ha, ha. Everyone makes fun of my job.)

later, Justin

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