13 July 2006

parking lot Tivoli

Summertime means carnivals. I remember going to the local fair with a friend for three straight days when I was about nine years old, riding the Ferris wheel into the balmy dark of a rural New England summer, our feet grimy in our sandals from scuffing through the sandy soil, and our pockets full of the ONE FARE tickets that was the currency of the place.

In Iceland, they call them "Tivoli" after the legendary Danish park(Who, I might add, stole the name from the original ancient Roman Tivoli in southern Italy). A few weeks ago, the carnival came to town here, a fleet of bright-yellow trucks emblazoned with "Taylor made for YOUR fun" and unfolded brightly colored scaffolding to support all kinds of two-minute adrenaline rushes for the kids. It's taken over the back forty of the oversized parking lot at the mall near where I work. The rides usually fire up at about noon, blazing neon lights and jumbled tunes of glee. It may not be beach-boardwalk weather, but the sounds are all right as the screams of the riders rise above the tacky music, audible all the way in the office kitchen.

Today as I walked by on my way back from lunch, I passed a mini-rollercoaster towing five cars. The last one carried a few teenagers trying their best to not look too excited, and in the front carriage, a twentysomething guy whizzed by in a baby costume. He sported nothing more than a diaper and bonnet, and waved a pacifier in his hand as a friend recorded his progress from the ground with a video camera. Perhaps a bachelor party challenge?

Further along, in the corner of the fenced area, a group of caravans have created a mini-village, complete with rotary clotheslines and trousers flapping in the crisp Icelandic air. This carnival apparently comes from the UK every year, bearing a load of honest-to-God British carnies to set up, announce, and run everything. Apparently they had problems with these fellows and the Icelandic guys a few years ago when the Icelandic girls found the foreign blokes so exciting. Summertime.. hot romances and the music of the fair.

Ship sighting: Another rainy afternoon bringing another load of soggy cruise-boat travellers. Today it's the Kristina Regina with its all-Finnish crew. According to the itinerary, they're headed to Ísafjörður tomorrow. These boats look oddly huge enough in Reykjavík's majestically large harbor. I can't imagine how dominating they would be in that narrow, deep fjord in the north.


tsduff said...

We watched the carnival ride which is a giant ball-like car strung between two rubber-band like cables from the upper story window of my boyfriend's Aunt's apartment across the street from the mall. They (his elderly Aunt and Mom) thought the contraption was a wrecking ball on a crane... imagine their disbelief and then humor when we told them it was a ride! Now they watch it every day as they partake of en kop kaffe og kageeat. We walked across the street into that mall - not a bad place, though I can't help but pronounce it "Hackup"!

cK said...

The description of the man in the baby getup is fantastic. Some odd moment taking place alongside the normal fanfare and living. It's the sort of thing that creeps into Denis Johnson's writing...only in his case, it's fiction or poetry.