Friday, July 13, 2007

Off the plane..into the Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon was a little more green than blue. But, man, was it spectacular. The water was beautiful and invigorating, the perfect temperature for a two hour bath with hundreds of your closest friends.

We got off the plane from Gatwick with little problem and found our way to the Blue Lagoon. After dropping our bags into lockers, Sonja and I met in the water. I cannot describe how opaque it was. Just two inches beneath the water and one would lose all sight of, well, everything. This point was reinforced when, as we were leaving the Blue Lagoon after being there for 3+ hours, we overheard an Icelander telling a visiting friend to “do what every Icelander does – take off your shorts once you are in the water. No one can see beneath the surface.” I wonder how many Icelanders were in the Lagoon with us…

The outdoor “spa” had steam rooms, saunas, a pounding waterfall, and full on silica mud face masks. Sonja and tried them out – it was fun but I don’t know if it can help this face.

So far, Iceland consists of dramatic contrasts. Very barren. Excellent English. Weird Icelandic language. A Subway and a Quizno’s – which was disappointing. Coming in from the airport (which is about 60k outside Reykjavik), it was stark and volcanic – very little life outside moss. But as we approached Reykjavik, grass and trees sprung up and there were many little colourful houses (and some encroachment of American franchises). We have a tour tomorrow of some of the more well known geographic sites within driving distance of Reykjavik, so we are excited to see more of the country. I will also be brining my camera with me during the race, hoping to capture some images and maybe some video from the run.

Speaking of which, I got out for a quick run tonight (39:52, cruisey like TomKat) around the waterfront near our hotel. It was eerie. The run was beautiful and serene, but I can imagine that when the winter comes around, and there is very little light, people like Bjork come out and make music by throwing pennies at rocks to keep everyone else from thinking that they are going insane. Seeing her reminds them that there are crazier people out there! The landscape includes jutting mountains and horizons that stretch on forever, The tap water is unbelievably good and air is pure – so much so that I wasn’t sure what was wrong with my lungs for the first part of my run. The run felt very good and while the body was a little tired from 4 hours sleep last night and two hours in a lukewarm bath, the legs responded nicely and I had to keep from running too quickly.

This evening we were quickly reminded that we cannot do the conversion here, either. Our meal at the hotel restaurant tonight consisted of a $25 dollar cheeseburger and a $40 veggie lasagna (luckily they were both excellent). A little ridiculous, but they were some of the cheaper items on the menu (we are gorging ourselves on the complimentary breakfast buffet tomorrow morning). It is beginning to make sense why there was such an extensive duty-free shop right before you picked up your bags. In fact, it was so close, you could shop AND watch for you bags. Iceland must be conspiring with England, deciding to be the most expensive places in the western hemisphere (my 4km cab ride on Saturday morning – at 4:15am is going to be about $40. I thought about running over to meet the race bus, but after 6 months of training and lots of money getting here, I am not going to ruin my race for $40).

Saturday consists of me being on the bus that leaves for the race site at 4:30am. At least it will be light out when I get up (I am writing this at 10:30pm and it looks like it is 7:00pm out – they get 23 hours of sunlight here right now). The bus ride is about 2.5 hours to the race site. We begin the race at 8:00am and if everything goes well, I should finish about 1:00pm. After the race ends there is a BBQ, a geothermal pool, and the awards ceremony. The bus leaves the finish area for its return trip to Reykjavik at 8:00pm, which puts me back here at the hotel close to midnight (I will NOT spend forty MORE dollars after the race – I am walking home damn it!). Internet is available here, but it is costly. I am not sure that I will update the blog Saturday evening as our flight leaves early on Sunday morning – but I will do so for Sunday evening, London-time, when we are back at Anna’s.

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