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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Whale watching & dinner with my new friends

ICELAND | Friday, 15 June 2007 | Views [1640]

While I was whale watching, my hair was messed up and I saw no whales

While I was whale watching, my hair was messed up and I saw no whales

            Today was my 3rd day Lost In Iceland! I woke up at 7:00, and I at least got some sleep last night. I’m still not completely over the jet lag. I washed up and then went downstairs for breakfast. I had three bowls of cereal and toast with jelly. I told John about my travels in Greenland. He is from Tasmania and I’ve seen him here for the past few days. He’s been to Greenland and all over Europe. He showed me his passport stamps. After eating, I asked about where the geothermal pool was, and I found out it was up the street. I tried to call Ísak, but he didn’t answer. So, I went for a nice, relaxing walk around Reykjavik. I walked up the streets called Túngata and then along Hofsvallagata. After about 15 minutes, I was at this black sand beach. There was a light drizzle, but I didn’t care. I relaxed up there for a few minutes and admired the bright colors of the city. The area was way off the tourist tack and was largely residential. I was so in love with this place and I felt like Jack Skellington as he admired the beauty and peacefulness of Christmastown. There is good feeling all around! I then walked back to the Salvation Army and relaxed for a few minutes before going to the Internet café. Mr. Hanley wrote me back with advice on how to beat the 24 hours of daylight. I saw that the San Antonio Spurs won their fourth NBA title. I feel like I won my fourth title when I landed here. I then cashed some traveler’s checks, but I didn’t realize that they charged a fee here. Next time I’ll just go to the bank. I walked past the big chess board, but no one was there. After that I went back to the Salvation Army and relaxed for a bit. I then gave Ísak a call and he said we could meet at 5:00 PM. He said the other day that we could go to Þingvellir today. I walked up to the whale watching kiosk to find out about the next tour, and it was at 1:00. The girl told me to come back at like 10 minutes before. So I went back to the Salvation Army and after relaxing for a few minutes, I realized that I had forgotten to pay for the Internet earlier. I was really upset with myself and I went straight away to the café. What happened is that when I was cashing my traveler’s checks, I was in line for like 10 minutes and I got frustrated and I just forgot. I paid the girl and she thanked me. I’m a very honest person. As I was walking, I saw these Icelandic girls performing some type of dance. Their faces were painted black and they were all dressed in black. They would not talk however, when I asked what they were performing. I then walked down to the whale watching kiosk and got my ticket, which was 3,500 kronur. John the Aussie was going on the same tour and I walked with him down to the boat. I was really hoping to nail that postcard shot. At 1:00 we set sail were headed away from the harbor. It was mighty cold out! I heard the other day that it has been very cold for this time of year; both here and in Greenland. About 20 minutes into the boat ride, we stopped near Puffin Island, and we saw heaps of puffins nesting on the island. Puffins appear to some people as a possible relative of the penguin, or perhaps a “marine parrot” but they are members of the auk family. I took some pictures, including one with the puffins behind me. After a few minutes there, we were off. I couldn’t stop snapping photos of the mountains. Down in the cabin, I got a blueberry muffin and I was talking to this family from Connecticut. They also brought their children to Iceland, and I showed the children my Greenland passport stamp. After sailing out into the open sea for awhile, we stopped at the spot where the whales were said to be. The instructor told us that when we spot something, to think of the ship as a big clock (12 o’clock is the front, 9 o’clock is the port side, etc.) and say like “whales at 12 o’clock.” She also said to look for a black hump and a dorsal fin. Right after that, we saw a Minke whale, but I didn’t see it clearly and I didn’t get a good picture. I was really hoping to see a humpback whale or perhaps the great blue whale, which is the largest creature to ever live on Earth. After that we saw a gannet, which is one of Iceland’s largest seabirds. The Icelandic word for gannet is súla, and is what the ship is named. It was biting cold out and I felt like I was going to get sick, so I went down into the cabin. I felt terrible; like I was going to throw up. I fell asleep for a few minutes while we headed back. After the long boat ride, we were back at the harbor. I said goodbye to that family I was talking to and then got some pictures with the various boats in the background. I started walking back to the Salvation Army and I was absolutely freezing! I booked another night at the Salvation Army. I must say that I really love the Salvation Army; I meet people from all over the world and the atmosphere is so warm. I sat outside and waited for Ísak, but he didn’t show up until 5:30. He was kind of upset with himself because he’s very punctual, but I told him that I didn’t mind. With me, if you’re late, don’t give me an excuse; instead just smile! There was a change of plans because Þorbjörg had to work until 7:00. Ísak suggested that we got get dinner. First, we stopped at the bakery that Þorbjörg worked at. We sat down and I got a croissant and a soda. Þorbjörg had to work tomorrow, so Ísak decided that just he and I could go to Þingvellir tomorrow. We talked about how Americans don’t understand the concept of hospitality. We left after about 15 minutes and Ísak wanted to go to Vín Búð to get some beer. Inside the building where Vín Búð is, I noticed that there was a palm tree! That’s funny being this far north and seeing a palm tree. I’m currently at about 64°N, which is one of the highest latitudes I’ve ever been. (Kulusuk is the highest at approximately 65°N). Ísak got beer at Vín Búð and then we drove to the grocery store. We agreed on getting lamb for dinner. As I was walking around the grocery store, I was surprised at the wide range of fruits and vegetables in the produce section. They even had tropical fruits like kiwano melons and pineapples. In Iceland, many different types of produce are grown in greenhouses, including bananas. Ísak and I got lamb, vegetables, and Coca-Cola Light. After our food run, we drove back to the bakery to pick up Þorbjörg. We then drove to Ísak’s house. An interesting thing I noticed on the door is the names of all the people living there. You don’t see that in America. I took my shoes off at the door and I met Ísak’s mother, Lovísa. I got to check my email and relax for a bit, while Ísak barbecued the lamb. It’s extra special to be with the locals in a foreign country. Someday I’d like to be with the locals in Africa or South America. Now that would be quite an experience! After the food was ready, we all sat down to eat. We had barbecued lamb, baked potato, and steamed carrots. A lamb dish at a restaurant out here would cost about $40-$60. It was super good! After dinner, Icelanders have a ritual of saying thank you in Icelandic (takk fyrir) for the food. Ísak’s friend came over and I was invited to his house. I was getting really tired, so I decided to pass this time. I’ve got to get over this horrible jet lag. We all piled into the car and started off. Ísak’s friend dropped me off at the Salvation Army, and I told Ísak I’d see him at 11:00 tomorrow. I agreed to walk to his house in the morning. I got my backpack from the luggage room and then went to my room. This is my third night on the third floor. I met my roommate, Michael. He’s a science teacher from New York. He’s been all over the world, and he said that Iceland is the most expensive of the 22 countries he has been. The only thing I don’t like here are the prices; other than that, everything is beautiful! Michael and I talked for like a half hour about our travels, and he also went to Kulusuk a few days ago. Well, I’m exhausted, and I’m off to Þingvellir tomorrow. I’d better go to sleep. I’ll see you after another adventurous Icelandic day!

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