Icelanders hold the world record in the following:
- Credit card usage
- Cocoa Puffs consumption
- Use of electricity
- Sponsoring children in Third World countries
- Internet penetration
- The number of rules for writing poetry
- Going to the cinema
- Subscribing to Walt Disney picture books
- Sales of the computer game Championship Manager
Yes, dear readers, YT is still preoccupied with the shocking bits of information gleaned from yesterday’s How Do You Like Iceland documentary.
JUST DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE DRIVING…
One thing I was not surprised to hear foreigners rant about was the Icelanders’ appalling road manners. After almost 11 years of living in this country, I still cannot get over the complete and utter irreverence exhibited by Icelandic drivers. One of the interviewees commented that driving in Italy is a picnic compared to this place, something that YT has no trouble believing.
- Park wherever they feel like it: in handicapped parking spaces, diagonally across sidewalks, with their rears sticking out onto the road
- Drive at whatever speed they feel like, slow or fast
- Use indicator lights very sparingly, if at all
- Are always right on your ass, making parallel parking virtually impossible on busy roads
- Will slow down and stop in the middle of a road if they feel so inclined, irrespective of the speed of surrounding motorists
- If two people who know each other are coming from opposite directions they will almost inevitably stop their cars in the road to have a chat
- Ignore zebra crossings and green pedestrian lights
- In fact, ignore pedestrians in general
Was talking to a foreigner myself not too long ago – a guy who works at a foreign embassy here in town. Evidently the ambassador of this particular embassy refuses to drive in Iceland because he’s completely and utterly paranoid – and this is a man who has been posted to places like Greece and a couple of African states in the past (good thing he has his own personal Icelandic driver). The guy I was talking to – who happens to be French – claims that the most dangerous aspect of driving here is that it all seems so organized – but once you get out there it’s total chaos. ‘They think they’re alone on the road. They don’t see anybody else, and they don’t care. They just do what they want’. Precisely.
Incidentally, YT is particularly sensitive about this issue, having suffered whiplash injuries on two separate occasions since moving here. And whiplash injuries are a bitch – as anyone unfortunate enough to have experienced them will tell you.
OK, LET’S HAVE SOME WEATHER SHALL WE?
Ventured out into the open air on two separate occasions today. First went out for a run as soon as it was light enough to see where I was going and boy, what a run it was! Headed down to my customary route along the seashore, but the waves were crashing over the embankment so wildly that running was impossible – had to keep to the opposite side of the street, about 15 metres from shore – and I still got sprayed! Unsuspecting motorists were getting their vehicles doused bigtime (rust alert!) – which was fairly harmless, considering the Big Rocks that were being tossed forth by those muthas. (youch!)
Having made it back safe and sound, I ventured out a little later to assess the damage. The whole (previously manicured) shore was all mangled – filled with seaweed and rocks and such, making it virtually impossible to get close. Bloody cold it was, too, and we’re in for a wicked storm tonight according to Mr Weatherman. People on the West Fjords are being evacuated due to avalanche threat and others are advised to stay indoors (in their warm inviting Icelandic homes, natch). Temps are currently –4 Celsius (24.8°F) with slight wind. Daybreak was at 9.44, sunrise at 10.59. Sunset was at 16.27 and nightfall at 17.33.