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Wednesday, June 17

Please, some 99 Cent soup

It seems that when we go on these abroad/documentary trips, we don't allot sleep time. Right now, we have been awake for 30-something hours and probably wont hit the sweet soft cushion of bed until midnightish in Iceland time.

Hit back to pre-departure. Eileen calls for an iced coffee and we meet at Manic for iced espresso. Once our coffee bellies are happy, we pick up Steve, and head to the open lands of Toronto Airport. After eating a deep fried veggie burger (ack), sushi and fries, out comes the camera equipment to compare lenses. Steve brings out his fancy lighting toys and I am all too impressed.

We are all separated on the airplane. I got stuck beside a mole-ish looking man with grey dreadlocks that smelled funky. Every now and then, he'd flip 'em, and I would inch closer to my window. We take off at 9:30pm, the flight will be 4 1/2 hours long, arrive in Iceland at 6:35 am.

Icelandair has this great touchscreen option where you can watch different facts about your flight. For instance, 2 hours in, , we were going 875km/hr at an altitude of 3,400 m high. The screen displayed this groovy contour coloured, and range respecting map of our route. Over the heads of Montreal and Newfoundland we did go. Greenland too; an eye-captivating view.

The closer north we got, the wider and brighter the horizon became We are heading to a region that is staring at the sun dead in the eyes. The sun isn't supposed to set in Iceland during our stay. Eye-masks are a packing recommendation. Greenland has these fine detailed mountainous peaks interlaced with silky cloud ribbons. Cumulus clouds overtook the space between the land and plane until water was visible. Once the aisle seat passenger in my row left for the washroom, I jumped over sleeping dreadlocks, receiving strange looks from the other passengers. With a shrug, I found Eileen and suggested we trade spots. Totally worth it. She managed to get this amazingly long still image sequence of the sky turning from cloud to water, to coast, to runway, to Icelandic landscape.

Making it through the Keflak airport was a breeze and we come across our kind driver who has the sign "Wilma's Wish Productions." I always wondered who would be looking for a sign like that at airports. We load into the van and drive on the Ringroad to reach our hotel. The drive was amazingly peaceful. The land literally expands everywhere into these epic hills and waters. Pavement uncurled before us as if it would never end.

We find our hotel at Hotel Viking. After figuring some logistics out, we are welcomed for breakfast. Perfect. It was buffet style with all these natural foods, such as homebaked bread accompanied with sweet jam or marmalade. This orange marmalade was good enough to eat, wear, and body soak in. Yum. Coffee or Kaffi, comes in two options: Regular or Strong. Strong coffee is a good choice.

At 9:30 am, with our gear in hand, we take a cab to the downtown where Prime Minister Johanna will be speaking to honour Independence Day (Iceland had just gained it's independence from Denmark in 1944). We managed to squeeze into the press arena without passes. Among other reporters, photojournalists and shooters, we engage in the game of "getting that great shot." Everyone was fluid: Steve got crisp and idiosyncratic footage, Eileen manouevered between still images, sound and camecorder work, while I balanced mini equipment tasks and observing the crowd. We spot a threesome holding black flags. We watch them. And as the formal ceremony wrapped up, this trio began to shout at the officials leaving. They were so impressively loud and expressive in their chants. We felt so lucky to get it all on camera.

Eileen and I recall our conversation with Kristin, Inga's daughter. She told us of a woman that we needed to meet; she usually has a turban around her head. Here she was, carrying a black flag. Eileen runs to catch up with her when the group leaves the ceremony. The woman with the turban said that she heard that we were coming, and that yes, she would talk to us. She scribbled her number on scrap paper and Eileen promised to call.

We are left wondering who this woman really is and why a small group was protesting at the Independence day event.

We trek home, taking turns napping on the other's shoulder. We come to our hotel right in the middle of a Viking festival. Little ones play as viking warriors, with capes and wooden swords. Once slain, each young one would collapse in feigned agony. Steve hung back to catch the drama on camera. Now I am here updating you all back at home. Eileen has joined Steve to film the festivities. It's a big thing, apparently.

I've lost my camera here, already. Maybe some mini viking warrior will return it?

I think a nap time is in order. A Viking battle, by professionals, will be taking place in 2 hours. Rest eyes, so you can see.

37 sleepless hours. Happy/tired.

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