21 April 2006

in the good old summertime

Yesterday was a day off work, to celebrate the first day of summer, in spite of the snow squall the day before. I woke early and walked down to where my parents are staying to eat breakfast with them. The sun was out, and as I walked along, coat fully unbuttoned, sunglasses on, the rays highlighted the fat buds on the hedges and made the single patch of daffodils I saw glow golden. Maybe it was summertime after all, in spite of having no plans to dig out those kicky sandals anytime soon.

Later in the day, J and I did the obligatory walkaround downtown. Most people had the day off, so there were activities planned, at least according to the ITR website. It turned out to be a game of dodgeball in the main square, and a bunch of people sitting around eating ice cream. A few people were making brave attempts at springtime outfits, so there were a few bare inches of leg, some brief flashes of bare arms, but the clouding-over day and rapidly dropping temperature hid many of them quickly.

Something about days like this here make me a little sad. Everyone's out on the street looking for the party or event, but the event IS going and seeing who else is out on the street, since even new arrivals like me and J found people we knew prowling the pavement. I wonder how much of my gloom stems from an American "entertain me now" additude, and how much of it is that days like yesterday highlight the tiny town nature of Reykjavík that I forget in the midst of the routines of daily life here. In general this seems to be a place where people take entertainment into their own hands, rather than expecting the city to provide- parades are one to three actual bands or dance troupes, followed by the hordes of people that came out to be part of the day. Fireworks at New Years are not put on by the city, but are the accumulated celebration of the thousands of residents here. Want music? Chances are the guy playing is the cousin of a friend, rather than some dude from Cali you've never met and never will.

Still, a free day off work is nothing to complain about, and as J and I sat in a chic café on Laugavegur, I remembered why I love it here. There we were, sitting in the middle of this place that would fit in perfectly in New York or Boston, eating beautifully prepared food, and at the table next to us toddler was taking tentative first drunken steps to the amusement of the supertrendy waiter guys. The crowd in the place ranged from pretty people drinking beer to this family of all generations, and nobody was angry that the presence of the child ruined the fabulousness of the place, or that his poor mind would be corrupted by being around people having a late-afternoon beer. He was a well-behaved little kid too, and while he peeped curiously over the tables at a few people, he didn't interfere with anyone's meal. It's not so bad being part of this tiny place, I guess.

Ship sighting: not sure when I'll get to the rest of the Northern story, so I'll share the photos from Akureyri now. J and I did a lap around the harbor when we were there so I could inspect the boats and the piles of nets and boat parts. The location of the harbor is so great, with the towering mountains all around (and why am I always so enchanted by fjords?) that it's almost making me question my loyalty to the Reykjavík harbor. Maybe J and I should move to Akureyri, just so I can rename the blog "Akureyri Harbor Watch".

1 comment:

tsduff said...

Each time I read about your adventures, it just pulls me closer to Iceland. Your descriptions always sound so wonderful - even the bad weather sounds inviting :-)