Vagablond Views

A Travel Blog with a Twist

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Upside Down in Iceland

Whether you're a fair weather driver or an experienced Icelander, spinning out can happen. While driving north today, we passed a car upside down in a ditch. A small crowd had gathered, and as we ran over to see if we could help, the driver, a woman, emerged from the car, unscathed.

(Also, some beautiful Icelandic horses came over to check out the action.)

When the paramedics arrived they told us that even if the temperature is above freezing in general, in the valleys, any moisture on the road will freeze, and the slightest tap on the brakes can send you out of control, off the road, into a ditch, and flipped over.

Hákarl -or- The Other, Other White Boy Meat (Me at the Airport)

On The Melodic Baboon

Hákarl

I’ve only been to Iceland once, and I’m not sure it counts: In the 6 hours I spent there, I never left the airport. However, I did spend enough time inside the small, but free-flowing structure to enjoy the uninterrupted views of the intimate and unique township surrounding the International airport at Reykjavik through some of the many windows lining the corridors, bathing the architecture with their austere northern light.

I was traveling with a group (for a change) just heading back to West-by-God after a two-week sojourn in France. I was constantly getting grief from everyone in the group because, while I fancied myself a brave, free-spirited-world-travelling-troubadour, always willing to try anything once, I had spent the last couple of weeks trying to quit smoking cigarettes and gorging myself on nothing but wine, French bread and fois gras, not to mention picking up a few extra pounds along the way. I mean come on! Who ever heard of anyone not smoking in France!

To be fair to myself, I do travel a lot and I have done my share of eating strange foods; and I do have a method, albeit a simple one: if I see someone eating something, and it’s obviously an authentic food (and not some random dirt-eating-fool-attempt-at-strangeness), I just eat it. No thinking, mostly no regrets; I simply put the food in my mouth, chew it (or not) and swallow. Sometimes I taste with my mouth, and sometimes, with the other end, I regret.

I grew up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia and so of course, as I’ve described my technique above, I’ve had the full array of rattlesnake, frog legs and all manner of mountain oysters (and if you don’t know what those are, make sure you find out before trying them). However, I’ve also eaten a variety of insects and grubs, deep fried earthworms, monkey’s brain (as well as a lot of other kinds), cat, dog, dehydrated balls of curdled yogurt, crazy cheese and insane haggis. I’ve even eaten the pure fat from the brazened-by-blowtorch backside of freshly slaughtered goat on the streets of Kandahar. And when I say fresh, I mean it was killed just seconds before, right in front of me.

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