I recently went solo to Iceland, a small island nation in the North Atlantic ocean between Greenland and Northern Europe. This was the first time I had ever traveled outside of U.S territory and it was a hilarious journey of unknowns & the unexpected! I think most people who have traveled to another country will tell you there are plenty of funny little surprises along the way. When you land in a different country and exit the aircraft after a long flight you are exhausted and excited all wrapped into one awkward mood swing. I got off the plane and knew I was supposed to find the line for customs and passport checks… what I had not thought about was how every sign would be in a different language other than English! I laughed and realized my only choice was to stalk the American couple two steps in front of me and follow them through the airport in hopes they knew better than I did. I got through no problem so a shout out to Gary and Patricia for talking loudly so I could hear you were American and secretly follow you!
After getting through the security checks necessary my next step was to try and get from the airport to my hotel 10 minutes down the road. I was on a very tight budget and a taxi was out of the question so I found a very tall lanky gentleman who looked like he knew what was going on and I asked him where to get a bus ticket into town. He spoke English as do many Icelanders and instructed me to go over to the Dunkin’ Donuts and ask for a bus ticket. I probably stared at him with a blank face for too long because he seemed to look confused as I was very confused. I told him I had never purchased a bus ticket from a donut shop but not to worry I got this! I wandered into the Dunkin’ Donuts and asked for a bus ticket and it worked! I thought it was a bit odd but hey I had my ticket, which was just a really tiny piece of construction paper with an iridescent strip and I mean tiny like the size of my thumbnail tiny! I was instructed to “walk over there” as one of the employees pointed to a parking lot with warehouses and a hotel behind the lot. To me, he was pointing to my horror film style death but he seemed really sure of himself so I started walking. Yeah, I had no idea what he was talking about so I ventured into this parking lot and walked in circles a couple of times before getting embarrassed and hunting down another person to ask for instructions. I finally was given solid instructions that I was to cross the lot into a hotel lot and look for a small covered bench on the side of the road and wait there until bus 55 arrived. After waiting and meeting one Canadian and two other Americans my bus finally showed. I arrive at my hotel and check into my cozy little room. The first thing one does when arriving at a hotel? Check out the bathroom. I look at the toilet and it’s different… the shower is different too… I examine the buttons and knobs and try to figure out how I am going to flush the toilet or take a shower. After googling and you tubing for a few minutes I finally figure out the shower! The toilet was a little easier but when I flushed it for the first time gushing water starts flying up and into the other side of the toilet, I thought I had broken the thing in my first 5 minutes of being in a foreign country! I discovered the toilets simply use one big gush and that is just how their toilets work, loud and proud!
The coffee machine was an entirely different story. I saw little coffee pods sitting next to the machine and figured it was similar to a Keurig. Wrong. I tried to put the coffee pod into a little door that opened at the top but when I put the pod in I heard an echoed dropping sound. Yup I had lost the entire coffee pod somewhere in the unknown inside of this machine that supposedly made coffee. I run down to the front desk and ask how to use the machine. The lady gave me good instructions but as soon as I got back to my room I had forgotten the specifics. I finally fish out the pod and try again. Success! Well, almost a success… I pushed the brew button twice and it started spitting out espresso streams before I even had a chance to get my cup under there. So basically I almost broke and then flooded the little coffee pod machine first day. Good.
The only other thing that shocked me on my first day was when I purchased my food and the total was 2,240. Yeah in America that is a car but in Iceland, it is about $18 bucks. Standing at the checkout station with my food and very tired from my 8 hour flight when that sweet girl looked at me and said, “okay your total is 2,240” aaaaaand then my heart dropped down to my feet for half a second before I realized I needed to rain man myself out of this situation and figure out how much money to give her stat! Nevertheless, I made it out alive and with some funny stories of some very different things like toilets that sound like they are bringing the second Noah’s ark size flood and coffee machines that hate you and want to spray everything with espresso! Until next time,