I wasn’t feeling too bright on Tuesday, so here’s a post for today from the same date as last year.
Iceland is a nation of somewhat eccentric people, which is not that surprising given that Bjork comes from there. I’ve met several Icelanders, and they were all mildly but delightfully bonkers. I include here the veterinary surgeon whose standard mode of transport was a three axle, six wheel Range Rover painted black with huge pink polka dots all over it. Also I’ve met more Icelanders in the UK than I have people from Cornwall, which has a population not far short of twice that of the whole of Iceland.
There’s a prodigious amount of volcanic activity in Iceland. Nearly all their electric comes from geothermal energy, and a lot of conurbations have centralised heating systems where it’s hardly worthwhile billing people, except for maintenance of the distribution networks. Which is good, but has the downside that you might wake up in the morning to find your back garden has disappeared and been replaced by a geyser and a couple of boiling mud pools. This is one reason why, despite the name, there’s actually precious little ice there.
They have the highest rate of drunk driving in the world, but the courts are so stretched it can take three to four years for the case to be heard. There’s another odd aspect to their driving, too. The landscape naturally makes for some very exciting offroading, and Icelanders are at their happiest when overdoing things in a massively powerful nitrous fuelled 4×4, and subsequently tumbling end over end for several hundred yards down vertical volcanic scree dotted with fumaroles. Unless that is they’re driving across a lake. I mean that literally.
The 4x4s are equipped with tyres that would not seem out of place on a small earthmover, a bit like the paddlewheel tyres you can find on mud or sand drag racers in the US. They soon discovered that if you hit standing water on a track, these 3 ton, 850 hp behemoths would skip across the surface like giant pondskaters. Naturally, some lunatic thought, ‘Hey, I reckon I can drive acoss a lake if I can get a runup down a really shallow bit of bank.’ I’ve seen it done, and it is truly mad. It gets worse. They do the same thing on snowmobiles. I’ve seen that done too. They even have snowmobile vs 4×4 races. Yes, I’ve seen that done too.
Before I forget, in Iceland cloudberries are highly prized. They taste a bit like soap, but do make a decent schnapps type of drink. Then there’s that weird rotting shark stuff that they regard as a delicacy. Let’s put it this way. Nobody eats it indoors. It’s strictly al fresco, because not too surprisingly it smells really bad. I mean really bad. You’re not allowed to eat it in a hotel.
Bonkers but nice is how I’d sum them up.