Well, worse shit has happened on trips with Jonica Xtemperaneous. Sure, in Legoland and Hamburg I suffered two days of relentless, tear-filled allergies during which I was cranky as fuck. I was finally cured by typical over-the-counter allergy medicine bought at the only open Apotheke (pharmacy) in Hamburg on a Sunday evening. This was after scouring several square miles of the ‘burg at the advice of the person working the counter at Generator Hostel. (Hint: it’s in the fucking giant train station in the center of the city just across from the hostel!) Now Jonica has got some sort of cold that’s causing her face to leak precious bodily fluids while sapping her energy.
Two years ago there was the infamous, perilous perengrinations of the #hantamouse2013 road trip and all the illness it wrought, real or psychosomatic. Surely the deer mouse bedding in the car after camping in the Grand Canyon, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks and Red Woods State Park, as cute as it was, wanted us to die by breathing in its fecal and urine spores filled with the deadly virus. Now–Iceland–allergies and a nasty cold? We can manage this. Right?
Today’s excursion was an all-day entry we paid for The Blue Lagoon Spa, a unique attraction heated by geothermal energy and filled with white silica that will bond itself to hair, stiffening it if conditioner isn’t used to coat one’s hair first. We managed two hours before getting too hot and hungry. I was wiped out from the previous night’s sociological studies of Reykjavik’s night life on their national holiday celebrating their independence from Danish rule, abolished in 1944. I wasn’t going to argue about skipping out for a nap, a discussion had only after partially consuming what our respective diets allowed, Jonica vegan, me akin to “paleo plus”. This late decision was unfortunate because we could have eaten better food and not paid locked-in tourist attraction prices if we’d realized we were ready for the 40-minute coach ride back into the city.
Tonight I find myself selecting dinner from the local Reykjavík convenience store, a prepackaged delight known as Sweet Chili Kjùklinguy Med Wasabihnetum, or Sweet Chili Chicken with Wasabi Nuts. I’ve finally pulled myself out of bed for this pre-packaged food. Surprisingly it was tasty and satisfying and I specifically bought the one sans the syrupy chili sauce I saw in the other package. I’ve eaten enough sugary crap to wrack my innards on this trip. I choose well.
My point is that European folks have a lot of lifestyle similarities as the U.S. folk. While I could not bring myself to eat at French (or any) McDonald’s, their quarter pounder is indeed a “Royal with cheese”, confirmed visually. (Thanks Quentin Tarantino.) And here in Iceland is a version of 7-11, called 10-11, and my local option says 24/7 for its hours. I brought my own canvas big, which the clerk appreciated, proudly telling me about improvements in Icelandic recycling, which is encouraged by monetary rewards, like in some states. He is cute.
On the topic of convenience stores in Europe, 7-11 in Denmark is truckloads nicer than the U.S. version. At almost any American 7-11, people hang out in front of the store, or inside, because apparently U.S. suburbs are shit at creating public spaces in which people are comfortable gathering (and occasionally begging for money). Plus, one doesn’t enter an American 7-11 and find shelves of paleo options. That was odd and refreshing.
Meanwhile back in present moment Reykjavík, my meal is concluded, entertainment by Simon and Garfunkel, which seemed a necessary aural accompaniment for my mood. I tried recording some app-based voice messages for a few folks who claim I have a great phone sex voice, but was shushed by my sickly, rainbow-haired companion. I hope she feels better in the morning. Driving this island in a rental car won’t be as much fun alone… I am not a rock, though this is an island.