05 December 2005

Open flames

It is now 11:40 and the sun has juuust peeked over the hillside outside the window. I can remember when it rose out of view to the left of the window frame, and now it is rising in the rightmost third of the pane. This Christmas light mania REALLY makes sense now, and it has been getting better and better the past few days. This morning Hamborgara Búllan was sporting a tree on the roof, as well as a light-outline of Santa on a bicycle (Santa in Iceland is of a fitter sort than the US one) and then at the bus corral near Laugardalslaug, the illuminated bus Jared had promised would appear was there. They had outlined every seam and corner of the thing in red lights, including the rear-view mirrors, and added some internal multicolored lights as well.

There were a few under-construction buildings we passed on the way to work, and those also were outlined in lights. I was the first one in the office this morning, so all the lights were off, but I found that while I was away last week (more on that later) my co-workers had been busy. I now have two gold wire trees next to me, and the columns of the office are trimmed in red lights (these seem to be a popular color here) and blue and white lights, christmas balls, and light-up stars finish the look. Before everyone else got in, I had turned all the decorations on but left the flourescent off- quite a cozy look. The view from the kitchen window here is a sea of apartment buildings with trimmed balconies (they are all so organized in the apartment buildings here! The lights alternate colors on each floor the whole way up most of the time) and illuminated trees.

Not all of the lights are of the plug-in kind though. Candles and fireworks are also making a regular appearance. For example, yesterday evening I heard booming, which we figured was our neighbor redoing his bathroom until we went to the window. For the second night in a row, Seltjarnarnes was celebrating something with a 20-minute fireworks display. Candles are also a new essential part of many meetings at work. On Friday I was in an office full of male programmers, and when we had our weekly meeting, someone had lit the two candles in the corner of the room. On Saturday at the Árbær pool, there were candles at the counter where they sell sandwiches. I keep thinking of how the firecode business we have in US offices must not apply at all here.

Finally, when I was flying in over Öskuhlið on Friday, I passed over a cemetary on the water, and in the dusk I could see that most of the graves had lights on them. Apparently cemeteries are popular destinations on December 24, and you can pay the cemetary groundskeeper to put a light on the grave of a loved one. Christmas comes to everyone here, I guess.

Ship sighting: While I was flying in, I went over the home of the sand-dredging boats that are always hovering around the mouth of the harbor. One of the signature yellow boats was tied up along the side, and I could see several huge piles of sand next to all kinds of sand-moving equipment. Maybe they’re putting all that sand to good use somewhere else.


ECS said...

yesterday when we passed one of the ubiquitous construction sites on our way to work, J mentioned that it would be funny if someone lit up one of the cranes that loom over the skyline here. We had a nice chuckle about it and forgot about it until this morning when the same crane that had inspired the though yesterday was outlined in red lights. Watch out what you wish for in this town...

The Prima said...

"apartment buildings.. alternate colors on each floor the whole way up"

That's crazy, hard to believe!

Sirry said...

Wow, I miss it! I wish you guys would sometimes take some pics ;) wink wink

I just love reading your sites, makes me miss home and love it more than ever before.

Mind you when I suggested to have a lit candle at work during the holidays here in Beantown, they all thought I was a bit cookoo
To me it's normal.

Oh, and isn't it nice that it's called Jól, not christmas. One never needs to be pc about christmas tree, holiday tree....happy holiday....merry xmas, like Seinfeld would say yada yada yada

It's just plain old jól, (sug.der. sól - hjól - jól, round forms ref. to the sun) so no christian influences in the name of the holiday.
There's been a big discussion on whether to call the trees, christmas tree or holiday tree. Mayor Mennino says it's a christmas tree. I wonder if he's yet another catholic Bostonian

Holiday tree....! That's closer to Jolatre