I thought I was ready for it. As I stand right outside of KEF, though, the north wind is harsh.
My rental car company never mentioned on the email that they were off-site, so I waste an hour getting on a shuttle that drives around the airport dropping people off at Alamo and Hertz, only to be dropped off back at terminal. Fortunately the company is quick to respond, end up sending me a couple of high-schoolers in a van another hour later. The errand boys can barely drive a stick, and struggle even to get out of the parking lot. I get dropped off at some Honda dealership, their "temporary location.” The main man seems to know what he's doing, but the pale-faced understudy of his cannot turn on the mobile wifi that I'm about to rent.
Then again, I'm not all that together myself either; not only did I forget to bring an international driver’s license, I didn’t even pack the Californian license. Hence they're legally unable to give me a car unless I show that I CAN DRIVE. I admit that I was ill-prepared for this part of my itinerary. Frantically go through my cloud files to see if I had a capture but no luck. Lucky for me, my roommate is still home and able to take a snap of it which is sitting on my fucking kitchen counter.
Phloe, the powerful creature who lent her talent to do my first album cover, has been gramming like a champ from all over the globe including this volcanic island I stand upon. I give her my itinerary, she hits me with the list to make my 16hr layover the best it could be. I just need to stick to it. So I start on Golden Circle in my little Peugeot.
The things you see on this drive is beyond description. Pingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss…all of which just BEGS at least some skill level of photography which I do not possess. One shot that still killls me that I didn’t get to capture, on a hopeless attempt to describe, is of this massive green meadow with silver streams and small ponds with these tall mountains standing behind like goddamn Olympus, with massive cotton-like clouds just dancing around these dieties. #canteven It’s my double rainbow moment, and then the intense shower starts to fall upon us and, what do you know, a fucking rainbow. All the way. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN.
I get back in Reykjavik where I have their Bourdain-approved hot dog and love it so much, that I go back to get another after a few beers. Partly because kitchens are closed by the time I arrived, but also the hype is true; this is some tasty hot dog #jules The crunch comes from the fried onion that's hidden underneath the wiener, and the sauce packs in so much of the highly addictive sweet flavor. Thumbs WAY up. The girl that's manning the stand says she's been working there 10hrs and has quota to make before she gets to go home, which I don't quite believe but sure wish I could help, by stuffing more of these hot dogs in my face.
This might put me to sleep I thought, so I get into my Peugeot which I need to put gas in. As I try to locate the best gas price (since everything in Iceland comes with a hefty price tag) I find myself in some waterfront village, a local church and its cemetery. In the quiet of everlasting dawn, I look down a number of tombstones with names I cannot pronounce, underneath the moon floating over Greenland sea, and reflect on the fact that I know so little of this land, these people, and of anything outside of the borders that I put myself within. I regret that it’s taken me this long to do this, but also feel grateful that I’ve come this far and psyched that I’ve got much further to go. Many more things to eat.
So just to compensate, I hit the bar at the KEF terminal and find a shot of Brennivín with a side of shark meat, hákarl. Topher has informed me of its"particular fermentation process" and I have to say, I wouldn’t have tried it any earlier than when I’m just about to board on a plane. Wiki says it "contains a large amount of ammonia and has a strong smell, similar to many cleaning products.” Also says "Those new to it may gag involuntarily on the first attempt." Honest to Thor, though, shit is refreshing. Especially with Brennivin which almost neutralizes the stinging aroma of shark piss. I'm craving for another, but you usually don’t get the second because, as the barkeep says "you shouldn't eat too much of it. It's basically a poison." Great, I insist. The barkeep is taken aback, gives me another around for the price of a double and says "You're the first one I've ever served that actually enjoys this." Well, maybe you hadn’t met a boy from Toyama, shrimp-shell-eating unshaven son of a refugee.
Now I’m officially wasted. WOW, take me to Berlin.
Soundchaser and a two-time Independent Music Awards finalist. Show me the receipts of your donation to @dwcweb @ltsc.cdc or @la_littletokyo Small Biz Relief Fund and I'll gift any or all of my recordings.