the magical self-cleaning streets of Reykjavik

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Friday night, just sleep. Our entertainment was limited to our increasingly hostile argument whether Y. could, in fact, taste the difference of our respective eye secretions. (Background info: Y. eats his disposable contact lenses every day, and claimed he could discern between his lenses and mine, which are the same make. No effing way.) We never did fully settle this one.

But Saturday was a ginormous festival, “Culture.” Crowded. It was mostly a whole bunch of amateur performers scattered throughout the city, with free coffee at select locations. (And yeah, in case you were wondering, that free coffee dictated our schedule. The caffiene crash was catastrophic.) The performances weren’t particularly good, but they were charming in the sense that local kids got the chance to show their chops to easily-impressed audiences. Lots of fried food everywhere. Obscene amounts of children. Dangling potatoes that we repeatedly bumped into. (I think it had something to do with a scavenger hunt…?) A group giving free hugs. A graffiti artist. Etc., etc.

The event ended with a big-name Icelandic concert, some totally respectable  fireworks — I’m inclined to disbelieve the “largest display in Europe” claim — and then, the mayhem of Reykjavik’s Saturday night. Thousands and thousands of very young, very blond people gather, drink, smash bottles, make ruckus, dance, drink, and smash more bottles. (The main downtown street is nearly carpeted in glass shards.) This goes on until well past 5am. A tip, for all those inspired to come here and seek love: All those pairs that look like siblings are in fact couples. The people we met were friendly — sometimes too much so: a male passerby ball-tapped me, because, I think, I flinched at a loud bang — and very intent on having fun. Three guys wearing velvet blazers made reparations for all anti-Semitic crimes — with tequila shots. A very tall Icelandic-French woman bought me Brennivín, which is Iceland’s signature drink. It tastes like sorrow and rage.

And we saw a kipah! (On a head, that is.) Upon further investigation (i.e., running up behind him and saying our very Jewish names very loudly, which elicited nothing, so we just tapped him on the back), we found out that he wasn’t Jewish. This 18 year old worked in a hotel, found the left-behind kipah, and now wears it when he goes out. He was very excited to meet two Jews who appreciated the coolness of the kipah. And his friend started singing Haveinu Shalom Aleichem (she was in a choir that apparently loves different ethnic music).

The next morning, the streets were totally spotless. No glass. No cigarette butts. No bottles or cups. No candy wrappers. No drunks. No vomit-piles. Like magic, Reykjavik returned to respectability.

Written by menachemkaiser

23 August at 13:49

Posted in rants

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