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Iceland Is …

… a country that should rightfully be called “Rockland”. There are way more lava rocks – entire fields of them – than ice. At least as of October 2010.

… a country that knows about water. You can be assured of a hot shower anywhere on this island as all the hot water is geothermal. I’d be surprised to learn if there is a hot water heater anywhere on Iceland. The slight downside is the odour of sulfur that comes along with the hot water. After a while, like when you are standing under a waterfall at The Blue Lagoon, the hot water pounding down your back and neck, one ceases to notice the sulfur odour. All the buildings – all of them- are heated by hot water rads with water FROM THE GROUND.  Oh, and the cold water? They have cold springs, too. You can be assured of completely cold, tasteless, wickedly perfect cold water right out of the tap. Which makes me love this country.

… not sure what to make of a bunch of loud, funny, energetic, smiling, laughing Canadian dykes and dyke-loving womyn. After a few seconds, they “get” us and laugh along even if they don’t completely understand. Icelanders have been welcoming, accommodating, helpful, amused, and generally good-humoured sports. Except for the bitchy, bizarrely-dressed flight attendants.

… certainly not suffering from over-population. During the truncated Golden Circle tour on Thursday, there were moments on the road out in the countryside in which we could see for miles and miles. And there was not another vehicle or a house in sight. It is baffling to imagine that a country the size of Kingston (population wise) has the extensive infrastructure that it does. One does wonder how a population of 318,000 can have several tv stations, multiple airports, including a domestic airline, an extensive highway system, and all the other trappings of a modern European nation. Interesting … and it makes me a bit frightened for its future as the global recession deepens.

… quirky. And I mean that with affection. As accommodating as they have been, there are some odd bits. Like the switch in the hotel room that cuts off power to the entire room – even the outlets. Like the cleaning staff who smilingly informed us that we didn’t get clean towels on day two because “all the rooms are full and we have run out. Oh well!”

… beautiful in places. And not, in places. Photos of the beauty may follow. Then, there was the moment on one of the tours in which the Icelandic tour guide drove us around some desolate looking industrial sites with endless single-storey aluminum buildings. The tour narration went something like: “And this building on the right, it was a fish plant. But now it is a Viking museum. And this building on the left, it was a fish plant. But now it is a library. And this building, straight ahead, it was a fish plant. But now it is a monastery.” There are no photos of this part of the tour.

… the female population – at least the ones we’ve come in closest contact with – are as follows:

  • tall
  • blonde
  • young … apparently, one opposition player is 13 yrs old. They are all approaching or over 6 ft tall.
  • strong … So, there I was in front of the net with my stick on the ice. Soon, it was up to me to go into the corner for the puck. I turned and skated – boom! – directly into some tall blonde creature who was like a brick wall. Maybe it was the 13 year old.
  • momentarily taken aback when they first are exposed to our team and our on and off-ice antics – which include dancing and laughing at inappropriate moments, wearing De Valkyrie horned helmets, and using a 3 ft length of garden hose as a trumpet – but soon quite willing to “play” along with us. They soon were butting into our team photos and videos, laughing along and generally getting a kick out of us.
  • really going to develop into good players. Turns out that we were playing members of the Icelandic Olympic team in every game. Each team has coaches, some imported from Russia. Keep an eye on Iceland, people. Some of our laughter was sort of reckless hysteria, like during the game we lost 8-1.

OK – we are about to watch the video of our games over take-away burgers.  Some might watch such a video for skills development. This team is in it for the yucks. Although there was talk of the team starting dry land training IMMEDIATELY upon our return so that we can at least keep up next year.

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