Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bless bless

Fearful of running out of time, we got out of bed early to say goodbye to Reykjavik and drive our rented Hyundai back across the fields of harsh black lava half overgrown by mosses and tiny plants to the airport in Keflavik. We had packed the night before, and we were even able to stuff into our well-traveled backpacks the additional clothes we had shipped to Iceland.

The last time we flew out of Iceland, the airport counter was mobbed and we barely made it on the plane before the doors closed. This time, we had nothing to worry about. The airport was virtually deserted, and the desk clerk, with nothing better to do, fell all over herself to wait on Darien and Antonia while I struggled with returning the car -- either my Icelandic or my credit card failed me, for I was unable to use the self-service option to refill the tank. The shuttle driver who took me to the terminal explained a bit about the history of why the airport was built at Keflavik, extolled the 70 degree heat wave we were suffering, and told me that vik means "bay." I hadn't known that, or more likely I had forgotten that.

We ate a little, drank some dark coffee, and Darien purchased a fifth of Brennevin for a friend. Evidently, some people actually do choose to drink it. I had my sunglasses repaired at an optical shop that had already opened and Antonia spent twenty minutes dousing herself with perfumes in the duty free shop.

We were finally ready to board.  We still had several movies to look forward to on Icelandair, an eight hour layover in Boston (napping on vinyl airport chairs, pushing Antonia around on a luggage carrier, lunch at Legal Sea Food, scoring handfuls of free samples of beauty products from a maid in a hallway at a neighboring Hilton, Antonia and Darien becoming so airport-stupid that a barista mistook them for foreigners and kindly showed them how to count out American money), and Peter and Jonathan almost making it to the airport in Richmond on time to pick us up. That was the future. The present had us looking through the window of the gangway, waiting to board. Across the tarmac, 115 kilometers distant, Snæfellsjökull's white ice glimmered in the morning sun. That the mythic mountain across the vik is usually obscured, and was now revealed, could only be explained by the influence of the dancing huldufolk on its ley line. Bless bless, Ísland.