Being original has always been more of a falsified mantra for me rather than a true testament of my lifestyle. After all, I am the Chinese guy that got a dragon tattoo on my arm cause I thought I didn’t look like that Chinese guy that would have a dragon tattoo on my arm (when I actually do). So when it came for me to choose my first international trip to any part of the world, I chose Iceland to be, well... original. Ironically I found myself smack-dab in a bustling destination hub visited by Europeans, Asians, and this one ugly American. Suffice to say, Iceland has been on everyone’s radar for some time and I just didn’t know about it. Rookie traveler status yo.
Welcome to the city of Reykjavik (make sure to roll that “R”... Rrrrreykjavik). The largest and busiest city in all of Iceland with a population of only about 120,000 people. Even as a whole, Iceland adds up to only about 320,000 people, which is comparable to the amount of people living in Riverside (CA).
From the naked eye, Reykjavik seems all too familiar. Turn to look down the street and the view is almost comparable to something you can find in Lake Tahoe. Turn your head the other direction you’d swear you were in Minnesota. At times it almost felt like I never left the US.
One of the bigger surprises of this city is the onslaught of graffiti that seems to be almost everywhere. I tried to put two and two together but the influences of hip-hop culture was almost non-existent here, whether it be the music or even the fashion. So where did this all come from? I think in its purity, this is all just true vandalism. Getting up for the sake of getting up and strangely it didn’t even tarnish the city at all. Tags and pieces seem to fit in its proper spots where the rest of the town still seemed almost unscathed. It also helps that there literally are never any cops around at all.
But what Iceland is known for, as far as tourism goes, is its monumental sights and landscapes. From the waterfalls to the glaciers to the natural hot springs, there are really only two ways to seeing it all. It’s either rent a car with GPS and a map in hand, or saddle up in one of these huge buses on a daily basis and let the bus driver be your guide.
Psychologists say the mind projects what you see with what you feel on the inside. So is this a four-man band or do you see perverted stuff like I do? Maybe it is just me.
Beer seemed almost as important as the coffee here. The vast amount of cafes sprawled around the city were all equipped with your native stouts and IPAs. I wasn’t too keen on their late night eats as most closed precisely at 10pm, but on weekdays, you can find most bars open all the way till 4am.
I know they say when in Rome, but my stomach just couldn’t handle whale meat. A few bites in and it just didn’t sit well like the processed chicken and slaughtered bullshit-fed beef we have at home in the states. I kept telling myself that it was just steak–my butthole said otherwise later on that night.
As a recommendation of sorts for Iceland, this is a country you can definitely experience and conquer in only 5 days. It’s quite gratifying to know that as much as I’ve loved this trip from beginning to end, that I practically will never have to come back ever again. You really can’t say that about a lot of places. I think the bug is in me though, as I now set my sights on somewhere hotter. Maybe it’s time to finally step into the jungles of Africa or pee in Mediterranean waters. We’ll see where we go later in the year.