fimmtudagur, mars 02, 2006

double-barrel in keflavík

Last Sunday I made a suprise (but ultimately expected) trip out to Keflavík*, home of Our International Airport (KEF) and Our American Base (also KEF), to pick up E, who was on her way back from Amsterdam. To spice things up, I went a little early and checked out the Keflavík swimming pool.

It was difficult to find this pool after the boys down the street in Njarðvík confused and bewildered me with an ill-placed highway sign advertising what is perhaps a different swimming pool entirely. Like a typical male, I drove all the way from Njarðvík to its twin city of Keflavík without seeing the mythical first pool, and then up and down on the main drag in Keflavík center a couple times. Finally it occurred to me that if I can survive a 5-hour dinner party in Icelandic, I can probably ask directions without sounding like a fool. And so I stopped in at the local 10-11 (tíu-ellefu, for those of you studying up) and asked the bored-looking late-teens Keflavík-based cash register girl, and she spiked up her tone a bit upon hearing my flawless "Góðan daginn" and then gave me the route to the pool, which was only blocks away.

(She used an Icelandic phrase "fara yfir ljósin", literally "go over the lights", that I hadn't heard on account of it being my first time asking directions in the Land. But it means the same as "go through the nextsettalights" in Massachusetts directions-speak.)

By the time I got to the pool, I had precious little time before the Amsterdam flight. So it was a rush-job. I raced through the locker-room procedure, showered up, raced outside into the cold rainy air and dashed into the main pool. I had about 20 minutes before I had to leave, so I swam fast through 20 laps, which might be 500 meters, and might be more. (The pool seemed to be an odd length, more than 25 meters but less than 50.) A strange man was watching all the swimmers, sitting cross-legged at the side of the pool, underwater.

After the swim, I dashed to the nearby nuddpottur (massaging hot tub). I think that the nuddpottur is the real hidden gem of the industrial town of Keflavík. This one has pressure so high that it has chest-straps for holding yourself in. Other pools, like Hveragerði and Kópavogur, have this high-pressure-with-strap feature too, but this one is special because the jets are always on, and they are double-barreled! That's right, twin barrels of back-blasting, high-pressure massage-action. The added symmetry of the two jets really made for a special nuddpottur experience, and would make a second visit to this pool almost de rigeur.

I made a quick stop in at the gufubað (steam room) and then it was back to the locker room to get ready to go to the airport. While I was showering and getting dressed again, a tatooed American serviceman was yelling at his kid, "Can you please dry off your butt and stop standing around?" Some things never change, I guess. But it struck me, because it's something I never hear among Icelandic parents, who seem patient with their kids to the point, sometimes, of spoiling them. So it's good to know the authentic American blue-collar Winnepesaukee experience is available right down the road in Keflavík.

*pronounced KEP-lavik, if you want to sound like a pro. Otherwise, just go on saying it how you would. It don't matter to Jesus.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

When I went to Boston for 4 day's back in 2003. One thing that Ella pointed out regarding kids and there Parents. How Parents just let kids scream there lungs out in public, and ignore them as a solution.

I don't see parents walking through Icelandic mall, with there kids screaming for longer then 1 min. Without some kind of damage control. In a form of disaplan or something else.

AS

2.3.06  
Anonymous SB said...

Kids in Holland are even worse. Dutch are known to be EXTREMELY LOUD, and their kids are hell to be around.
I also vaguely remember mentioning how kids in general in Iceland are really well behaved before you moved there. That's why it'd make a great place to have kids and to raise kids ;D
So get busy guys, while you're there hee he heee

Now, who 'dis Jesus guy, does he come from Kebblavik?

2.3.06  

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