Saturday, April 29, 2000 6:40 PM
Atli and Jóhanna took me to a swimming pool. It was an interesting experience. There is a single small pool inside which leads to the lap pool and jacuzzis (which are outside). The lap pool isn't heated, so you'd have to break through the ice to swim it, but there are three jacuzzis which are heated: warm, hot, and simmer. It made me think of a modern adaptation to a common children's story, this time it would be about a girl with blond hair and a few young urban professionals of the Ursus arctos horribilis species: Goldilocks and The Three Yuppie Bears. A classic in the making.
We tried two of the jacuzzis, but I wouldn't enter the third, based solely on the appearance of those people who were in it - bright red. That can't be healthy. Instead, we tried one of the saunas, but I found it to be too hot after the jacuzzi, so I didn't stay long inside. Outside, there are three showers, cold, colder, and freezing (Goldilocks and The Three Masochistic Bears, perhaps). There should be a sign near the freezing shower to say that one shouldn't stand under it after leaving the sauna, in case one's teeth should crack or, worse, exfoliate, as a result. I don't know if teeth would exfoliate, but if they did, it would certainly be worse.
An e-mail arrived, instead of a note on my desk: "we [the company] are going to a Japanese sushi [that word again - the Icelandic one meaning 'table piled with stuff'". This time there was food for me. I was in heaven. It was a self-oneself affair, and I served myself five times. Atli joined me in consuming most of the entrees on offer, and Jóhanna assisted me in consuming most of the desserts. It was a temporary victory, but fun anyway. The food was replaced when the level became low (ie after we returned to our table). The main course was merely a "breathing space" between the more interesting food. Truly, I was an Icelander that day. :-) The food tasted excellent, but was somehow insubstantial - after a short time, I was hungry again. It reminded me of the quote about Chinese takeaway: it tastes good at the time, but an hour later, you've forgotten that you ate. Certainly, my normal fare is in far smaller quantities.
Easter eggs appeared at work. This year, I was careful to open and empty the egg before I ate it - last year, I started to eat the egg whole, since it didn't rattle to indicate that it might contain things (it had been sitting for some time and the sweets inside had melted and stuck to the chocolate), but I realised my mistake when I found myself chewing on something with a distinctly papery texture. Sure enough, it was a piece of paper on which was (probably, since I didn't feel it necessary, or particularly savoury, to unravel it and look) written a pithy quote (judging by the papers from some of the other eggs).
Fortunately, though, the paper was the only surprise in that egg. At least none of the sweets was wrapped in foil (which some of them are now). I don't have any fillings in my teeth, but even so - foil on teeth bothers me in ways that some people are bothered by fingernails being scraped along a blackboard.
Atli, Jóhanna, and I, went to Akureyri for the Easter weekend. Akureyri is a country town about 400 kilometres north-east of Reykjavík, and, more importantly, about 400 kilometres away from the office. On the way, we stopped at the base of an extinct volcano, and Atli and I walked to the top. The wind there was so strong that we had trouble standing still. Had we opened our coats, we would have sailed over the edge to the plain below, and it was a looong way down. It would have been briefly amusing. The wind was also so cold that my hands were frostburned in my pockets. My thumbs hurt for hours afterwards. It was an interesting diversion, but not recommended unless it's a much warmer day.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. It became dark soon afterwards, but as Atli drove through a valley, the sky was more white than black, and snow filled the air. The tops of the snow-covered mountains was indistinguishable from the background. When the snow settled, the sky was so clear that the mountains appeared unreal to me. I was reminded of the "blue screen" effect that one sees in some movies, where the background is filmed separately from the foreground, and they don't quite blend seamlessly.
During the next day, the flags in the town were flying at half mast. My initial reaction was "Who died?" before I realised that it was Good Friday.
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