miðvikudagur, febrúar 01, 2006

the web cam pt. 3

I rode in the middle seat of the Toyota van with the stoic man driving. We first stopped around the side of the terminal building, where the driver got out and picked up a plastic-wrapped bundle that was handed to him over the airport fence. It was the day's shipment of the Morgunblaðið newspaper, enough for the whole town.

We drove around the end of the calm, ice-skimmed waters of the fjord and into the town. Even though it was close to noon, the sun hadn't cleared the towering mountains to the south and the light was diffuse. The steepest mountains I had seen surrounded the town on three sides, making me feel tiny and fenced in by a nature that was much bigger and more powerful. The driver dropped me off at my guesthouse, an old two-story house with a cozy sign. The name, Gamla Gistihúsið, just means "The Old Guesthouse" and even in these early days my nascent Icelandic knowledge was enough for me to appreciate the name.

After checking in at the wainscoated desk and leaving my luggage on a quilt-covered bed, I had just one goal in mind, and that was to find the web cam. The time was ticking down, and I had to be in the appointed place or the legions of fans back in the States would be staring at an empty screen.

I set off down the main road and within five minutes was in the heart of the town. Even though it was mid-day, the place was deserted save for one kid bouncing a ball by himself on a side street. It was cold, too, somewhere decently under freezing, and my breath showed in the quiet, still air. I found myself humming, "Hey Ah Ma Ma Ma" (Life in a Northern Town) to myself, unconscious at first of its appropriateness.

From the heart of the town, I was able to finally see the view I had been looking on for so long. The mountains were coming down at just the right angle, and I could see the water reflecting them up at the slate-grey sky. But instead of being a few square pixels on a laptop screen, the view was now everything, the mountains towering, the sky giant, and the sharp cold lending it authenticity that it never had in the comfort of a Boston cubicle.

There was only one building between me and the full view, the blocky grey Hotel Ísafjörður.

(To be continued...)


Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

When is the book out?


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