I was supposed to go to Trinidad tomorrow. I say "supposed to" because scheduling called me up just as I was fantasizing about tropical beaches and said "no, not for you." I shall instead be in Fort Lauderdale. Umm... Yay?

In honor of the fact that I have no air conditioning in my apartment (as I'm not here enough, I've decided to sweat it out rather then cry tears of emo!pain over my electric bill) I've uploaded a a few more of my Iceland photos. If I can't be in the cold, at least I can think cold thoughts (excluding the tropical beaches thing, which scheduling has absolutely WRECKED for me).

Anyhow, as I am a complete and total glutton for aerial photography and tend to weasel my way into the cockpit at every opportunity (better windows means better shots!) I have a selection of Glacier photos for your viewing pleasure. Remember, it's the middle of summer: Think cold thoughts!

Öræfajökull


This is Öræfajökull. The largest active volcano in Iceland, or at least this is a picture of part of it: as it is massive. I love that it's a volcano covered in snow. Ice wins! Woohoo!

Want more photos full of Icy goodness from 34,000 feet? )

I really should go repack my bags and get my apartment ready for my 9 day flying extravaganza. I really, really should. Really should... Any new fanfiction out there...?
The Blue Lagoon


It's normal these days that you plan to go somewhere, you list out what you want to see, you consult travel guides and websites, you book a hotel that's convenient to where you want to be, you arrange transportation, you do all the things you can to make a trip go as smoothly as possible whilst having the maximum amount of fun you possibly can.

I don't operate that way. I do all my trips on the fly (literally) and its only when I actually cruise into the hotel, rolly bag in tow that I can get down to the dirty business of figuring out how I'm going to manage my time and how exactly I'm going to get from point A to point B. Trust me when I say that this is not an efficient way of doing things.

There had been no time to buy a travel guide and usually I don't bother unless I'm in a country long enough to actually put it to use. As my stay in Iceland was looking to be a good eight days long I was hoping to pick up a guide in one of the bookshops in JFK, and just my luck, they had every Lonely Planet guide known to man EXCEPT the one to Iceland. They even had the guide to Antarctica: I ask you, how many more people are flying out of JFK to see Antarctica then to see Iceland? Seriously?

I was fortunate enough to bump into a co-worker who had lived in Iceland before, she gave me a few pointers such as: go see the Puffins (didn't do it), eat a fish called Ysa or something like that (didn't do that either) look at the rock formations (I did do that) and go to the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon. Okay, not sure what that was, but I dutifully wrote it down on the back of an envelope. It may not have been Lonely Planet, but it was a start.

Fortunately our hotels are taken care of by our company, we just never know where we're staying until we're there. That can lead to some interesting situations and circumstances. I've found that when all else fails and you don't know what there is to do or even what's going on, the best course of action is to either just start walking or rent a car and drive. Seeing as how we were out on the moon in Keflavik (a tourist booth operator in Reykjavik actually described it that way) we hedged our bets with a rental car and a stack of tourist brochures from the booth in the airport.

Everyone we'd talked to had mentioned the Blue Lagoon as the thing to do. The brochure looked promising enough: laughing, happy people basking in mineral rich waters in an ancient lava field. That worked for us, and hey, it was actually the closest thing to Keflavik besides the airport. Finally, something was going my way.

The five of us that went figured that as long as The Blue Lagoon wasn't some Icelandic version of The Polar Bear Club, all would be well in our world. As the point of us being in Iceland was to work (3 days of work, 5 days of play) and we actually had to do earn a paycheck later in the evening we swung by the Blue Lagoon just as it was opening which proved to be an extremely good idea. Apparently if you show up early you practically get the place to yourself. Show up later and it's all lines and crowds.

The Blue Lagoon, we found out, is a geothermal spa. While the air might be freezing the water is warm enough that it doesn't matter. It really is happy smiling people basking in warm, beautiful water. You get in and you really don't want to come out. The water is inundated with silica, algae and other minerals. I'd heard that it was good for your skin, but I didn't believe the hype until I experienced it for myself. It was amazing, it does wonders for your skin, I left that place thinking "damn!"

Hair on the other hand, is a completely different story. My skin may have felt like a million bucks from all the lounging and relaxing and mud facials, but afterwards it felt like someone had replaced my normally fine hair with cardboard that was ready to go up in flames at any moment. Tinder might have been the best word to describe the state of my hair. Get a match within five feet of me and it would have been POOF!

And of course the photo-ho in me had to have pictures and lots of them. Watching the cockpit crew slather their faces with white silica mud is great and all but it's even better when you can look at the photos afterwards and laugh. So there I was in my itty bitty bikini trucking along with my Canon Rebel desperately praying that I wouldn't slip as dousing the camera would be tantamount to just chucking it in the garbage. Other people have significant others and babies and cats and dogs to dote on. Me - I have a camera and a serious shutterbug complex (the cat lives with my mom in Texas so apparently my affection has been transfered to the camera in her absence). The lifeguards at the Blue Lagoon were wearing thick coats and warm hats and heavy gloves and I was stumbling around the area in a bikini, and to top it all off I already had a cold to begin with. Not my brightest moment, but my quest for pictures really makes me throw all caution to the wind (and my clothes too apparently - but in a bathing suit freezing kind of way)

The Lifeguard


The most amazing thing about the Blue Lagoon, to my mind, was that compared to everything else in Iceland, it really was decently priced - about 1,400 Kronur for admission and you could stay as long as you wanted.

It was so completely worth it. Even the cardboard hair.

More photos of Blue Lagoon loveliness are here
At the beginning of last month I had the good fortune to spend eight days in Iceland, with about five of those days on the ground doing whatever I wanted. Whatever I wanted turned out to be quite a bit, to the point that my bank account is crying for mercy. Every time I look its way I think I hear my wallet weeping.

And me, silly girl that I am came completely unprepared, I blame part of this on the fact that I tumbled off a commercial flight from Munich, Germany crammed myself onto a bus and went home for a grand total of five hours. Just five. I didn't even bother changing out of my uniform, except for the knee high navy blue stockings and the ugly navy blue heels that make me feel like the 80's have come back to devour me alive. I had a few hours of quality time with my slippers, changed out the luggage and then and the heavens opened and the rain poured down and it was off to JFK... again. You know you're loaded down and looking pathetic when people help you onto the bus and then strike up a conversation with you - this does not happen in New York! It breaks the cardinal rule of how to interact with people in NYC and yet there seems to be something about my uniform that says "Talk to me!" Argh. The fact that I resembled a drowned rat probably wasn't working in my favor either: my umbrella, as it happens, is seeing Germany without me.

umbrella-less I was not be daunted in my quest to reach the country of Iceland )
Every time I go somewhere cold, my body goes "hey, cold! That's a good idea! Lets get a cold!"

Regardless of my sniffles, I am in Iceland and happy as can be - even though almost everything I've done here, I've done alone. Prices are insane and most of my crew is suffering from a bout of sticker shock, which is completely understandable. But where I can be a complete shrew about hoarding money in places where they would blow it (shopping) this place is pretty much geared towards making me spend wads of cash. Outdoorsy things suck my money dry.

The day I arrived it was driving around in a rental car, the day after that it was a relaxing day at a geothermal spa in an ancient lava field, yesterday it was horseback riding through another lava field and today it was taking a guided tour around the countryside of Reykjavik so see all the sites (mountains! waterfalls! rivers! lava fields! geysers! volcanoes! tectonic plates!). Tomorrow it will be whale watching and I'm hoping on my last day I can make it to Reykjavik to go through the city itself before I have to leave.

And the thing that boggles my mind is that I'm here for work. I'm getting paid for this. Not much mind you, but every hour I spend here is another couple of dollars in my pocket.

But I'm okay with doing things on my own though. I go out and make new friends. Yesterday I tooled around with three random Aussies I met horseback riding - we went out for dinner and drinks and lost track of time. (It was still light out at 11 in the evening which threw me off, meaning I missed my bus and had to beg the gentleman at the bus station for help - wonderful man that he was, he arranged a ride for me, and the guy that drove me was awesome, we exchanged e-mails...)

Today, it was tooling around with a lovely British lady, two enthusiastic entomologists in Iceland for a fly convention (seriously) and three guys from New York over on a whim for a day. And a wonderful couple from San Diego.

I also walked from from one continent to another today. In the space of a few minutes I went from Europe to America. I'm still mind boggled over it. Just standing beneath the towering wall of rock that is the North American tectonic plate has blown my mind.

I love this country. If you're into outdoorsy stuff (and don't mind the cold) it's the best place on Earth. I'm already planning what I want to do if I ever get the chance to come back.

I've also got a gazillion pics...

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elleflies

December 2011

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