22 August 2007

airport whiplash

Back in KEF again, en route to Oslo. As far as airports go though, it's a pretty nice one to hang out at, thanks to the free wifi and clean n' shiny just-updated looks. With a sandwich from Kaffitár in hand and a Víking at my side, all's right in the world. It may seem like a rather tiresome life what with all this airporting, but I'm the sort of person who loves taking off, seeing places from above (always the window seat for me), having a chat with someone I'd never be next to otherwise (like the 12 year old girl next to me en route to Boston. G'ahead, ask me about what's the most for middle schoolers in Rhode Island), and always, the vivacity of a new city. I keep wondering if it's going to wear off and I'm going to be all "not again!" when I am packed off for the umpteenth time. I think if it were Cleveland I was going to all the time instead of a new country it might not be so interesting, and if the airport wasn't so shiny and scandi-mod it might be a different story.

I also had a nice long chat with my taxi driver on the 45 minute drive here. I love talking to cab drivers- they're almost always of a certain age that brings slower enunciation and lots of jájá-ing. Perfect for polishing the Icelandic, and since the conversations almost always start out the same ("hvaðan ertu?"), I sound way better at the language than I should.

It's kind of a requirement to talk to the cab drivers here, since the norm is to sit in the front if it's just you. The cab I took this time was so certain of this seating arrangement that both front seats had been pushed back as far as possible, leaving only a briefcase-wide space as "legroom".

Cabs are often Mercedes if you get the small ones, shiny on the outside and polished clean inside, never smelling of a strawberry tree-shaped air fresheners. It sort of feels like your granddad is driving you, what with the polite chit-chat with a grandpappy-aged man, the sitting in the front, the nicely tended car, and the minimal extras to indicate it's a cab (just that Euro-look tiny "Taxi" sign on the roof and a small fare meter). I'm hoping grandpa wouldn't charge you a hundred bucks to go to the airport like they do here though, but at least there's no tip to negotiate.


tsduff said...

So, how did you find the perfect job, living in Iceland, traveling every other month to beautiful places, and simply affording it all? Still living vicariously through your words... :-D

Maya said...

Excuse me, I found your blog via the expat blog site b/c me and my b.f. want to one day several yr.s from now live in Iceland, and I must tell you I really enjoy reading your blog writings, they have a lovely voice to them, and a real appreciation for life's moments. I hope you are having a very happy day.

Anonymous said...

Okay - settle a bet for me? We named our son Gunnar, as you know, and we pronounce it "Gunner" here in the states. The problem is that people keep telling me that the "correct" pronounciation in Europe is "Goo-nar", but I say that it's "Gunnarr" (with the "r" pronounced as they do in Iceland). My reason for thinking this is because the "u" doesn't have an accent over it to make it a long "u". Am I right? Do they pronounce it differently in Iceland than they do in, say, Denmark? (Obviously, I know full well that the "Gunner" pronounciation is "wrong", but I do think that some things need to be americanized for ease of use, no? Especially when it comes to children's names and sounds that don't appear in English)

Thank you!
Sarah :O)

sb said...

Hey E, I thought you'd find this interesting if you go traveling again around the island in search of warm ponds to splash in ;)


The original pronounciation of the name Gunnar, is the Icelandic one. The Swedish/Norwegian/Danish have evolved much more than Icelandic. Makes sense, since it was isolated for 1000 years.
I'd say try and stick to the original pronounciation (GuuhnnaR)not goehnner

Anonymous said...

The "a" in Gunnar should be pronounced as the "a" in the word "bath".


ECS said...

tsduff: gotta say I mostly stumbled upon it. Happenstance works sometimes, I guess.

maya: glad it's been of use for you! I hope you have visited Iceland already so you know what you're in for :)

sarah: I think I am going to have to write you an email about this topic. I've been thinking about it since you posted this comment, and the best I can say is that the U is a schwa sound, kind of like the sound in "potato". It does not sound like someone who mans a gun (a la "rear gunner"). So your guess about the lack of accent is correct, at least for the Icelandic pronunciation. There is no "goo" in your kid's name!

SB: cool site! I have a friend who was talking about doing that exact thing. I guess he didn't know about this listing.

Pétur: thanks for the Authentic Icelandic assistance. I hope you agree with my analysis further up here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all of you who responded! I'd still love that email from you, though, E!

-Sarah :O)

Anonymous said...

Ah the traveler. Done it. Tis the lonely life. Yes the cabs are Mercedes and clean and yes you sit in the front and talking with the cabbies becomes a high point of the outing. It still feels lonely when it's this far in the past.


'Goo-nar' is not correct as there is a double consonant after the 'u'. Making the 'u' a short vowel.

Neither is the 'a' as in 'bath' what I know. You only hear that in Denmark and Finland.

What's important to remember is all vowels are important and you don't swallow the 'a'. It's 'Guhn-nahr'.

If you want to roll your 'r' it's up to you. No 'accents' needed. It's not about consonants - it's about vowels.