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Monday, June 29

Grab your attention, vona

We are home now, in somewhat unfamiliar-scapes. Let us reflect our last three days.

Thursday, oh busy day.

After trying to *#&%^# figure out a way through this shopping center (our last hotel is in a concrete wasteland, highlighted by bare neon signs) to the bus, we take a taxi cab. At Café Paris, we meet a gent from Iceland's Ministry of Ideas.

Ministry of Ideas?

When presented with a crisis, change is synonymous. Required are generators, facilitators and make-it-happen-ors. Through surveys, group collaboration and thoughtful task segments, a new society design is possible. A touch socialist, thankfully erring on the edge of optimism.

Noise takes us out of the cafe and nearby the North West harbour to a raw warehouse. Offices developed on one side, white walls everywhere else and toes echo here.

Grateful for the interview, we shake hands with designers, thinkers, artists and general playmakers. Next, to Gogogic, a video game development company.

Lovely lady greets us and offers us water: sparkling or pure? Both varieties are dispensed from the same spout which clues us in on how high tech these people are. Our interviewee, CEO Jonas, is held up in a prolonged meeting so we get a tour of the Mac infested space. We meet a beefy gent with a combed blond mohawk. He is working on the designs for a brand new viking game set for Facebook. As the images flick through his computer, he explains characters, amenities and the supreme goal of the player, which is to create the greatest viking empire on Facebook. This is called Vikings of Tule. It. Is. Awesome.

A great interview with Jonas is followed by another excellent interview with Iceland Review Online Editor, Eyglo. She was endearingly nervous for the camera, and super eloquent in her observations. This marks six straight hours of interviews and $35 in cab fare. Food please.

We do some hotel stuff to meet a very Transylvania-esque hotel manager. I saw a white lab puppy that I wanted so badly to scoop up and run for the hills with. TV dinner time lulls us to sterile sleep.

Breakfast is the usual - toast with orange/blueberry marmalade. So yummy that complaints aren't necessary. We do a fair bit of hotel business before trekking downtown for a day off. Eileen and I munched and hung out on a third storey patio doodling in our haggard sketchbooks. So many memories to retain, hopefully not lost in story-telling.

With lava beads in hand, we realize it is our last night. Night life in reykjavik is a must-do. So we chat with a handsome barista and sit on benches with strong capps in hand. People watching. There is a girl wearing happy yellow heels, drinking fine wine from a bag, looking up and trailing a ciggarette to her friend. Live music is everywhere and pours between round/angular geometric architecture. There is no exclusivity here. Warm faces and hearty drinks makes for a fine time. Blink and Atlantic reflects the sun at eleven in the evening.

We watch a horrible reality television show with a lady sign interpreter in the bottom right corner of the screen. My insides clenched as we watched her make facial expressions in jest of the television host. Oh, priceless.

Michael Jackson.

Last day in Iceland.
With heavier bags due to gift baggage, Steve, Eileen and I wait for our friendly shuttle bus driver, Conrad, or Konni. He offered to drop us off at the Blue Lagoon as a complimentary detour on our way to the airport, which is very much out of the way. This helps make it much more affordable for us to see a part of Iceland's natural assets. Otherwise, I'm not sure if we would have gone. As we drive, we see clouds of steam hovering over black lava rocks. The water IS blue. The name is not joking. It is relatively empty; whew, less tourists.

Konni leads us into the Blue Lagoon desks and before we know it, he had signed off a visa. "Have fun kids and see you at three!" A quick scamper and our heart-jaws are wide open. What amazing generousity.

It was lovely geothermal bliss. It is a pool of naturally hot seawater that is considered to be one of the world's top ten medicinal spas. The steam coaxes your eyes close and the water holds you at ease. Clay on your face (facemask), waterfalls, cave-like saunas and a juice bar. A worthy relaxation. If you can avoid the busfulls of tourists, stress is absent.

Oh friends of Iceland, we were sorry to board the airplane. But your words and generousity have inspired us. Until we come back...

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