Friday, October 02, 1998 8:16 AM
part 9

One of the pizza shops had a special offer - 15 inch (about 40 centimetres) diameter pizza for a low price. The company bought 15 of them and, within two hours, 30 people had consumed all of them. I expect that there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the other pizza shops here, of which there are many.

I found the American Embassy. It was very difficult to identify it, blending in as it doesn't with all the other buildings which fly from the roof a large American flag, are surrounded by high fences, thick walls, and barbed wire, watched by cameras from all directions, have no parking zones in the front, and white vans with black windows and many antennae... the only thing that was missing is the men in suits and sunglasses, no matter what time of day.

At this time of year, the sun goes down about 10 minutes earlier *per day*. For the first couple of days, I wasn't convinced, but on the third day, it was obvious. During winter, the sun comes up for only a couple of hours, though I doubt that Iceland is known as the "land of the midday moon". Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

The August edition of Playboy was devoted entirely to Icelandic women. Of the 30,000 copies on sale in Reykjavík, nearly all of them were sold. Of the nearly 120,000 people who live in Reykjavík, many of whom are children... hmmm. One of the staff bought a copy, and was most popular person during that day. The first problem was that by the time someone thought to tell me, she had left already for the day, and refused to bring it back to work. The second problem was that of the unsold copies, I couldn't find one! Oh well, some things are best left to the imagination, but that's not one of them. ;-)

When I am coming home from work in the early morning, and there is no wind, I can smell the sea. There is something about the smell of the sea that I find extremely pleasant. However, when there is wind from a particular direction, I can smell the fish processing plants. Strangely, there is something about the smell of rotting fish that I find extremely unpleasant. At least I don't have to work in one (neither a processing plant, nor a rotting fish).

Some of the graffiti here is exceptional, especially when considering the probable temperature in which they were produced. It's hard to blend colours when the paint freezes on contact with the wall, and it's hard to add fine detail when you can't feel your own fingers. There is one artist here who has a style that I have not seen before. He does not use definite outlines, but blends the edges with the colour of the wall. The effect is something that I cannot describe, so I should probably have not mentioned that.

I found a tree surrounded very closely by a wrought iron fence. Trees are rare here, but they're not *that* rare, so I suppose that the purpose of the fence is not to stop theft. However, I have no idea what its purpose is, since this tree looks like many others, and Iceland's oldest tree is not in Reykjavík.

Of the many different examples of architecture here, I think that the churches are the most diverse. While I was walking during the weekend, I could see in the distance a building that appeared to have slid partway down a hill - the roof is parallel with the slope, and the top of the hill is higher than the top of the roof. It's funny because it happened to someone else. :-) When I got close enough, I was able to see that it is a church whose design is such that it has been sunk into the hill, and the roof is sloped like that on purpose, covering almost the entire building, except for the front door... a triangular prism with a two metre hole in it.

The appearance of the world outside gives no indication of the temperature of the world outside. Thus, when I see that the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, and there is no wind, I am tempted to go for a walk. However, I nearly lose that temptation in the moment after I open the door and I am hit by the invisible wave of cold that rushes in. I have images of a frozen world, where one could take a hammer and shatter things like lamp posts, as though they had been dipped in liquid nitrogen. Of course, it's not *that* cold. Hmmm, then again... :-)

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