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A House in Iceland

A House in Iceland

Sure it’s got nice views, but where’s the closest Starbucks?

06
Sep 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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“I don’t eat fish”

I took a tour of Iceland once.  Lovely people.  Beautiful country.  Other-worldly with all of its various landscapes.  Anywho, the tour went all around Ring Road, the road that circles the entire island.  We ate in restaurants around the country, as well as in locals’ homes.  And this one friggin’ lady on the tour, every time we stopped to eat, would remind our guide, “I don’t eat fish.”  Not because she was allergic, or for religious reasons, or because she was vegetarian and wanted to respect all living creatures—she just didn’t like eating it.  The woman’s in Iceland.  Iceland.  You know what Iceland has?  Fish.  That’s what they have.  They’re a tiny little island surrounded by an ocean full of fish.  And we go into a local’s home, where they have spent hours making a fish-based meal for us—because, remember, that’s what they eat in Iceland—and she doesn’t have the decency to stomach a little trout.

(I actually ate this in Buenos Aires, but Iceland’s fish was just as scrumptious)

You know how they talk about the Ugly American traveler?  A stick-in-the-mud tourist who is unwilling to adapt to a new culture while traveling?  This woman was the poster child of the Ugly American.  And “child” is a good word for her.  It was like she was refusing to eat her broccoli.  I’m getting a little too worked up over this.  Pump the brakes, Robert.  But seriously, when you go to Grandma’s house and she serves you crap food, you eat that food and lie and say it tastes great.  Just because you’re never going to see this Icelander again doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them the same courtesy.  And the craziest part was this was delicious fish.  It was caught, like, fifty feet away that day and wonderfully prepared.  Of all the times to give fish another shot, this would be it.  But nope, Ugly American Woman stuck to her guns.  All she ate was potatoes for the entire week.

Please, don’t ever be like her.  If you ever visit a place where the local food doesn’t meet your delicate sensibilities, for the sake of international relations, suck it up and eat.

27
Aug 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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What would Don Draper say about this?

I saw this sign at a general store in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Now, I know that Europe has heightened its efforts in dissuading people from purchasing tobacco products.  They put giant-sized warnings on cigarette boxes, and if memory serves me, they sometimes include hideous pictures of lifelong smokers’ lungs.  But Iceland, at least let a guy get in the store before telling him not to buy something.

I’m not a smoker myself, but I do recognize the odd place in society smokers now dwell.  They want to smoke, and tobacco companies want to sell them cigarettes, but now in order to do so legally, companies need to say how unhealthy their product is.  It’s like that waiter at a restaurant who, after you order the brownie sundae for dessert, condescendingly asks, “You’re actually going to order the brownie sundae?  Do you know how many calories are in that?”  No, waiter, I don’t know how many calories are in the brownie sundae.  But you’re selling it.  It’s on the menu.  So why don’t you just tell the chef and brace yourself for a crappy tip?

I don’t know how this turned into me defending cigarette companies.  That wasn’t my intention.  Tobacco products cause harm to millions of people a year.  And people should be aware of the dangers of smoking.  But if governments are so concerned about people’s health, why not just make smoking illegal?  It’s already banned from bars and restaurants.  Just stop producing and selling tobacco products.  But that’s never going to happen, because this vice is more acceptable than other vices.  Or, at least the money’s better.  But now Europe (and the World) face a bigger problem than smoking: obesity.  I wonder if one day will come when, on every dessert menu, we’ll see a picture of a morbidly obese person in a much-too-small jumpsuit with a written warning that “eating highly caloric desserts can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and rolls of fat.”

Oh, and I think I finally understand why an Icelandic store might put up a sign like this.  They’ve had enough ash in the air from all the volcanoes erupting.

01
Sep 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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