Tag Archives: Iceland

Sitting at the airport

Well, I have less than an hour until the wheels go up. Six hours to Reykjavik, then another three to Stockholm. I’m dreading the flight but excited about the trip. I’ll be covering an event dealing with clean technologies. Before you dismiss this as some tree-hugger shit, keep in mind that we live in a country beholden to oil, and some alternative will be needed soon. Think about it from a perspective of diversification. With all our eggs in one basket, we’re taking on a hell of a lot of risk. I think I know the angles I want to cover, so I’ll be able to hit the ground running.

On the road again

img00089I’ll be hitting the road again in a few days, with two major trips coming up. On Sunday night, I’ll be heading to Stockholm, Sweden (stopping over at Keflavik Airport in Iceland) for a short-burn, three-day trip. It’s a cool press trip. I’ll be looking at some “green” initiatives, from a travel perspective. I’ve never been to Sweeden, though this will be my second trip to Scandinavia this year (and ever). Then, I’ll be home for two days before heading out to Scotland for a week. I’ll be covering both for my weekly column in TraderDaily.com.

I’m pretty excited about getting out on the road again. I haven’t done any serious travel since heading out to Montreal in July, though I guess my August trip to Florida for Internext kinda counts, like my September trip to Washington, DC. However you add it all up, these are new destinations for me, and I’m psyched.

Funny New York Signs

I’m an equal opportunity offender. Since I’ve had funs with street signs in Canada, Finland and Reykjavik, it’s time to put my hometown on the chopping block! My wife and I went down to the East Village for breakfast on Saturday, and on our way home (barely missing getting stuck in the rain), I stumbled upon these gems.

They’re not all that clear– apologies– but I only had my blackberry camera handy.

I guess they do it all. “All types of hair cuts” and watch batteries … what else is there? Well, the real question probably is: who’d go for either?

If you stand right beneath this awning, you’re in the middle of … oh, never mind.

Thai Me Up! I suspect it’s just food, but if they ever need to expand, they’re ready.

Some of my favorite graffiti displays

I like graffiti that sends a message. There’s one wall decoration that I still wish I’d captured, but I never got around to it. I used to go to the Peace Club, a dive bar outside Camp Casey in South Korea– back when we still had troops that far north. In the bathroom, they had a piss-trough instead of urinals. I remember it well. The wall over the trough was littered with graffiti; there was barely room for anything new. After all the time I spent there, removing consumed beer from my body, I read most of it. One “exchange” is still crystal clear.

“I used to believe in the common decency of man”

“I still do”

They were written by two people, the second below the first. After a while, I used to pick the spot at the trough that would put these two lines at eye-level. In some ways, I still miss that wall and these two comments. I doubt it’s there any more. Last I heard, the Peace Club was no more. I do hope that management kept that wall intact.

Ever since then, I’ve been extremely interested in graffiti. The first, up top, is from a small covered walkway in Old Quebec. Yeah, some people still aren’t crazy about being French-speakers in an English-speaking country.

Iceland is such a sanitary country, but they are developing a graffiti problem. This wall just struck me as the antithesis of what one expects to see in Iceland.

Tallin, Estonia had some good material as well. The tagger below, it seems, was hungry. I guess he (or she) likes Italian.

The next one, though, is my favorite from Estonia. It sends a pretty powerful political message, and indicates the importance of open dialogue in a free society.

There was clearly a taggers’ debate going on here. First, someone wrote “Fuck Fascism!” I happen to concur. Next, someone put “anti” in front. Since I’m not a fascist, “Fuck AntiFascism!” doesn’t exactly resonate. But, a third person joined the conversation and crossed out “anti,” and then a fourth person crossed out “Fuck”. So, we wind up with the message, “Fascism!” Of course, I could have the order of events a bit screwed up, but we can see clearly where the discussion ends. Such a shame.

Also political was a bit of graffiti I saw in  Paris metro station. This was during the Sarkozy/Segoline election, which got pretty nasty.

Wow, I guess this guy doesn’t watch Fox News!

I love hot dogs

They may be foreign; they may be domestic. Either way, I am a big fan of the food nature could never have produced on its own. You’ve seen me eat a hot dog in Reykjavik, Iceland, and you’ve heard my thoughts on dogs served in Massachusetts and New York. Well, I have finally added a new delight to the list.

I stopped by a dog shop in Montreal, yesterday. I have to say, it wasn’t bad. From what I understand, this was the best Montreal had to offer.

The verdict? Montreal offers a good dog, certainly far above average. But, it does have a way to go before it can compete with Swamscott, MA’s Popo’s or the crazy shop in Reykjavik.

Yeah, it looks like I’ve been busy

I’ve had several new articles come out in the past 24 hours. But, they were written over the last two months. So, it looks like I’m much more productive than I really am. It turns out trader published a good chunk of the articles I submitted. So, I guess they won’t be weekly after all. Check out the following on TraderDaily.com:

Crack in the Continents (Iceland) >>

Push Yourself into Tight Spaces (Bonaire) >>

North Korea >>

Face-to-Face with a Polar Bear (Canada) >>

Also, I have a new article out on Nelson Diaz’s $1 art auction “grand experiment.” You can check it out at DigitalJournal.com >>

Deprived of my aisle seat

Airlines can’t even be nice without screwing up. My wife prefers window seats; I like the aisle. So, if we decide to sit next to each other, one of us suffers—which is the only way to describe a middle seat on an international flight. Generally, we try to sit in the same row, with my wife at the window, me at the aisle and possibly a stranger between us.

Retrospectively, it seems IcelandAir does not approve of this arrangement. When we tried to choose our seats in advance, the airline’s website automatically “upgraded” my aisle seat to a middle seat next to Laura. IcelandAir supports the preservation of the family and does not want to split couples. But, if we reserved seats in separate rows, the computer got the hint. So, one of us was to sit in row 18, the other in 19.

When we checked in at the IcelandAir desk in Helsinki, my wife and I confirmed our seats, telling the clerk that we were quite happy with what we had. I looked forward to a four-hour flight from Helsinki to Reykjavik with room for my legs. Of course, airlines are a cure for happiness, and my luck took a southward turn.

At the gate, the clerk printed slips of paper for my wife and me when scanning our boarding passes. Having noticed that we weren’t sitting together, the computer reshuffled the plane. My wife and I were moved to row 7, much further forward than rows 18 and 19. But, I knew immediately what this meant. I was relegated to a middle seat. I would lose my legroom.

The fucking Nordic oaf sitting in front of me felt the urge to recline, despite sitting in an exit row and having plenty of space in front of him. I responded by driving my knee into his back and shifting it frequently, causing him to look over his shoulder often … though failing to change his behavior. Meanwhile, the arrangement worked out for my wife. Laura still had a window, and there was no seat in front of her; she could stretch out her legs.

Of the many ways an airline could screw up, this is by far the most creative.