Day One and a Half: Airport and Flying to Iceland

The D’oh!
I carefully packed 4 Kg of food to take with me to Iceland. As a budget traveler and vegetarian, this is a good idea. Pick food that doesn’t require refrigeration. You are allowed about 3KG or $180 of food, per person, which ever comes first. But, unlike me, don’t leave your carefully packed bag of food at home.

TSA- Taking Stupid Articles
Pack all your food in check-in luggage. Don’t presume you understand the TSA’s rules, you probably don’t. The TSA wants all your food and toiletries so it can throw it away. Don’t believe anything else. TSA was on my shit list for stealing a can a soup, now they are on my shit list for stealing a jar of peanut butter. Why the terrorist don’t start using the TSA as a weapon I don’t know. If I was a terrorist, I’d start using underwear and bra bombs, so that travellers would have to strip before boarding any plane. The resulting TSA policies would so demoralize the west, we’d capitulate to the terrorists in weeks.

TSA style security has also arrived in Iceland. On landing, they also want to check your shoes and liquids. Why terrorists who need to build their bombs on planes using eight ounces of water don’t just drink it and then piss it out on the plane, I don’t know. Next the TSA will be watching us to make sure we piss out enough water to fly dry.

Flying Iceland Air

Effortless. The food was good– an Indian curry. They also had some low fat Icelandic butter, which went nicely on the roll.

I discovered that you can offset the carbon you create while flying by giving money to the re-forestation project on Iceland. Very elegant solution to global warming. Then once you are there on the bus from Keflavik to Rejkyavik, you can pass Alcoa, which uses geothermal and hydropower (clean energy), to mess up the views of the wilderness and releases fumes that exacerbate global warmin in the process of turning bauxite into aluminum. Or something like that. In any case, Iceland could use some more trees.

Guest House Pávi

The FlyBus ticket seller didn’t recognize the name, and said we’d have to get off at the main station and hike. The key is to immediately ask if you can go to a more famous hotel next to your obscure guesthouse. When you get to the FlyBus main terminal, they will drop off some people and may transfer you to a smaller bus, but you will get delivered eventually to the reasonably famous hotel of your choice.

We made it there to find out the door was locked and we had to call Danny. But my Korean phone didn’t want to talk to the Icelandic phone system. My Finnish Nokia phone had no problem last year. Sigh. So we hiked to the bus station, got ourselves a yellow card (I asked for a “Gula kortið” and the cashier didn’t understand me, so I switched to English. A pattern that is still repeating– I keep messing up the endings of words) And made phone call to Danny.

Danny picked us up and said that the room we reserved didn’t have any hot water due to construction, so we got a free upgrade to a location closer to downtown, with free internet access and we got to check in 3 hours early. This was an issue last year– Iceland Air arrives about 3 hours before check in time, so you have about 3 hours to deal with some bulky luggage before you get a key. Since we are traveling off season, the room was already ready & vacant.

The new location is just a stones throw away from Háskoli Íslands, Tjörn and the Alþingi. And we are close to the mysterious ‘black line’ which is the streets where many, many bus routes all overlap. The Rejkyavik bus system has blue-green-red lines that combine to form additional colors on one map.

Food

So far, my son and I are surving on Icelandic dairy. Cheap, lots of calories and mmmmm. Bonus is my 3 star restaurant when I’m in the city.

Books

After searching the internet for like half an hour at home, I couldn’t find Donald Duck comic books in Icelandic. Once on land, I found them immediately. The key to buying books in Iceland is to find the used book store. A cheap new book runs $15 to $30 and up to the stratosphere. A used book is half that- $5-$7.

Jet Lag

Jet lag left us both cranky. (My son angrily denies that he is cranky) We arrive with about 2 hours of sleep on the plane. We used top notch pillows and blindfolds, but two hours +/- is still not enough. Last year we took naps and didn’t really try to adjust– i.e. we stayed up late every day. This year, I’m trying harder to adjust on the first day so that the remaining days we aren’t so far out of synch with the tourist industry’s schedule. I’ll report on how the experiment goes.

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