Reykjavik

Dear Elly G,

It’s the ascent that gets me. Every time. That feeling when the giant metal tube you’re in careens down the runway and takes off, leaving your stomach somewhere between the earth and the sky and it feels like a lifetime of being at a 45-degree angle, just climbing. It’s always a while before I can breathe easy again.

Sometimes it’s easy. It’s smooth and uneventful, the plane cutting through clouds without resistance. Sometimes it’s hard. The ascent is choppy, like riding a skiff over rough waves, and I find myself wondering if that view of the city will be my last, wondering if maaaayyyybe I should’ve kept my shoes on in case the plane loses its battle with gravity and we plunge into the sea and I need to frog swim in the Arctic Ocean to save my life or at least prolong it, if only by a few minutes by finding a floating piece of wreckage and I won’t be able to do that if my feet are the first to go.

But I like ascents. I like the thrill. Humans weren’t meant to fly, and each time we take off, it almost feels like having a middle finger extended at the great wide cosmos: look at me now, Dad! I really should knock on wood thrice, because it feels like I’m mocking the fates. Unfortunately, there is nothing wooden to be found on the Airbus. I might try and find a catalogue to knock on, I suppose that will work. Paper coming from wood and all that.

There is a guy on this plane who seems to love that there is absolutely no wood to be found. A thinks he’s on something, very likely little purple party pills, because he keeps going up and down the aisles, just running his hands over everything. Everything. It’s weird. And gross – does he even realize how germy the interior of an airplane can be? He’s not running his hands over the passengers, at least. He’s doing it on all the surfaces of the plane he can touch, including the covers of the overhead luggage compartments. I’ve decided he’s some sort of shaman, blessing the plane’s interior with good juju. Between you and me, A is more likely to be right than I am, though.

Speaking of wood, we touched down in Reykjavik and the terminal is almost all wood. It’s warm, and cozy in that minimalist sort of Scandinavian way, all interesting angles and curves and mood lighting. I wasted no time heading for the mini grocery they had going on, to score some skyr. Passed a few displays of interesting salt. “Lava salt,” and all that, but I tasted it and it doesn’t taste like anything other than salt. Lies! I do have my eye on the cutest little figurine. It’s of a fat Viking, and it makes me happy to see it. We’re stopping over in Iceland again on the way back from England, so I’m sleeping on it for now. I didn’t get to buy the skyr, there were problems with my card or something. I’m hoping this is not a theme for when we get to England, because it is going to be annoying going around with le cash in le pockets. I have nightmares of a Dickensian London, with the Artful Dodger going around picking pockets willy nilly. Listen to me, sounding all first world Visa paywave and shit.

I could be a morning person in Iceland. It’s about 6:45 AM in Reyjkjavik, and it’s still black as night. We left at eight in the morning with no sunrise to be seen. I didn’t do a lot of reading up on Iceland, because it’s just a transit stop on the way to jolly old London, so that is going to have to be remedied.

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