Monday, July 02, 2007


How many people do I know that ventures to Iceland or Norway on their own free time? None so far. Not counting that Oslo, Norway is the most expensive city to visit, and that either country out performs the US economy, making my hard earned cash more resemble Mexican Pesos than the almighty greenback.

So when the desperate plea for a travel companion came from the East Coast, by ways of a Tim Balconi, I piqued and inquired as to the nature of the trip. Apparently there is something he needed doing in Oslo, and flying Iceland Air, one can choose to layover at Reykjavik for up to 72 hours with no discernable penalties. E-mails were sent, and one answered the call. That’s where my un-fortune began.

fig 1. ice floes somewhere between Greenland and Iceland. The guy who sat next to me was so large, my tray table will not level because his tummy flowed into my side.

It’s 3AM local time in Reykjavik on Saturday morning. Instead of finishing last call at an Icelandic pub or laid out in a drunk stupor, I’m parked, ass down, on a stainless steel bench with some random Spaniard using my leg as a pillow, logging this.

“See Iceland, land of fire and ice, 24 hours of sun, hydrothermal swimming pools!” “Then onto Oslo and kayak with ice flows in the fjords!” “Wouldn’t it be great?!”

Turns out, logistics of simply travel is harder than it seems. There is a reason why UPS, FedEX, EGL and others make huge profit shuttling one thing or another from one place or another. Booking travel from Boston to Reykjavik to Oslo and back should be no problem, just follow Tim’s itinerary. Of course he flies out at 9:30PM, and the only flight I can get leaves at 2:30. To get on the later flight results in a cost difference of 2000 of the aforementioned US dollars – more than I make in the same amount of time.

So here I sit, a little over 3 hours into the wait. A Spanish family is here waiting also. I took some pictures of the empty Iceland Air ticket counter, wheel about for another shot of the sunlit outside, and the uncle of the bunch puts a duffle bag next to my leg. Few minutes later, the duffle crumbles. Deep asleep, this gentleman scoots up a bit, and I’m watching a slowly developing grease spot on my left thigh, where his balding head is rubbing against.

Getting to Boston was no small feat either. Every airline wanted somewhere over $800 for the late booking. United outright blacked out the entire summer month, reducing my mileage as meaningless numbers. Alaska gave me a deal – for 40,000 miles, I can travel from PDX to SEA, then to BOS with a total of 14 hours of travel time. 17 on the way back. And that’s leaving two days before I need to. Somehow I got to use my Alaska miles with American Airlines, but at 50,000, with first class seating. Not bad. Except that I land in Logan at 1AM and no baggage in sight.

fig2. Somehow I don't think Tim's power outlet is up to code.

It was almost 2 AM when the cabby dropped me off at Timmy’s place. 3 people were asleep inside, and I was wide awake. I settle down, sneak my way into the kitchen via a very creaky (and needing of some work) wooden flooring, and find myself a six pack of beer. A bottle of Anejo Tequila sits empty on the table. Looks like I missed out. Around 4:30 I get to bed…only to be raucously woken up by Tim…at quarter to 7.

3 more hours to go. I planned for a side trip to the Iceland Blue Lagoon for some hot spring spa, before we go to our hotel. I hope this works out.



Post a Comment

<< Home