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Iceland, Day 2
It’s almost nine thirty at night and the sun is still up and shining warmly. I’ve slid into a whirlwind of exciting sights, finding my way to the places I want to explore. I have worked myself out of a jet legged fog by listening to the violin soloist doing his magic at the symphony practice. I watched the faces of Icelanders in an exposition of Icelandic emigrants to America and Canada. Why did they leave? Opportunity? Adventure?
I speak with younger people, millennials. A nurse from Hong Kong tells me about her choice between travel and putting money away to own a too expensive flat. I agree “travel!”. An Iranian researcher, originally from Shiraz (yes the wine!) working at Max Planck institute in Germany tells me about wanting to find a professorship at a university in a couple of years and live a “good”l life. “Just simply teach at a university?” I ask, “you obviously have a lot going for you.” “Yes, why not?” He can marry whom he chooses, the new deal with America has eased tensions at home. He is happy with a life without war, with some freedom of choice. I feel pushy in my demands for him. A female judge in juvenile criminal court from Berlin shares her strategies for retirement. We all laugh a wry laugh as we talk about Trump. They’re scared that the Donald will get to power and change everything for them. A Belgian waitress tells me about winter in Iceland.
“We read, we stay at home, you can’t go anywhere, we listen to music”, she tells me. “Yes, winter is “boring”, chimes in another Icelandic waitress. And the winter is LONG!.They know strong women with choice are commonplace here, they can walk in the streets late at night and be safe. Family life is the going thing. There is hardly any crime, there are opportunities to work and travel. I think of the beautiful long legged bodies walking along streets, running, bicycling, with little make-up, natural living and it’s not good enough for them. They believe in elves and trolls here. The ticket salesman at the window looks like one....Ahh, such conditions, such choices.
The landscape reminds me of Eastern Oregon, of the high mountains of the Himalayas. Yet here I am, smelling the salt of the sea and tasting fresh caught fish in all forms. Tomorrow I will get up early for a hike to bubbling hot springs, hike and soak, sounds like a good combo.