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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Disneyland or Mykel's Journey to the North Part 5

Mykel's Northern Exposure
Fifth Entry: Hell Is Other People
by Mykel Board
Hell is other people. --Johnny Sartre

Hell is other white people who take over foreign cities and think they know more than the locals. --Mykel Board

I write this waiting for the bus to the bus to the Reykjavik airport. As in most cities, the airport is far away from the center. As in several cities, it's expensive to get from Downtown to the airport. As in Iceland, a bus is not a bus, but a bus TO a bus that may either go where you want... or... to another bus.


Now I'm in the actual plane on the way to Nuuk... Greenland Air. There are 9 of us on the plane, including the stewardess and the pilot. It was pouring rain... wind... Faroe weather when we left. As I look from the window of our propeller plane, it's a solid mass of clouds beneath us. 

This morning, Google told me the weather in Nuuk was 3 degrees Celcius. That's about 38o in real temperature. The plane's bucking like a humpback whale.... hold on... immigration forms are coming now.... not immigration, just customer survey-- you may win a free ticket. The survey? Basically... why the fuck are you going to Green-fuckin'-land.

I'm glad to be out of Reykavik... an ugly city... too full of tourists... expensive... with no benefits that I could see... except THE PENIS MUSEUM and BAD TASTE RECORDS. More on them later.


Reykjavik is Disneyland... without the rides. There are twice as many tourists as “natives”... and I don't even know what a native is. The people working at the bars, hotels, and souvenir shops are all Eastern Europeans. (I'm getting the feeling that East Europe is the Mexico of Scandinavia.) Signs are all in English. Every car is a rental. From what I saw last night, the most popular bar in town is THE AMERICAN BAR. Excuse me while I puke. 

I'm staying in the ODDSSON Hostel, a bit away from the center of town... by the port. As an island-person myself (first Long, then Manhattan) I like seascapes, boats, land that goes into the sea. Oddson gives me that.

It's a newly-built place... with the last floor (the 5th) recently added on to accommodate the increasing hordes. The elevator only goes to FOUR.

The hostel is huge... anonymous winding halls. Reminds me of that Tom Hanks movie THE GREEN MILE (I think that's the name), where the convict has to walk past jail cells on each side... cell after cell... just closed green doors... until he gets to the electric chair at the end. 

As you walk you hear the wind whistle through the windows like a banshee howl. The dorm rooms open with easy-to-forget key cards... tap and open. My room has 8 beds. The first nights (Friday-Saturday) they're all filled-- mixed genders... at least two, anyway. (Genders, that is. The are 8 people.) After the weekend, it's only me. You think it's the farts?

Almost a dozen years ago, Marilyn gave me a pair of flannel pajamas. I hate long underwear-- too tight around my legs-- but I need something to wear under my pants when the weather is cold enough to drive my testicles back where they came from. Since I'm going to Greenland, I brought the pajamas with me. In the hostel, I wear them at night when there are others in the room. I may be old... but still.. in the mornings... I … er... show myself off.

It's lucky I'm wearing those pajamas when the urge (not THAT urge) hits me and I have to run to the single-gendered bathroom in the hall. You guessed it. I forget the keycard... So downstairs to elevator to the fancy lobby I go... in my pajama bottoms and Heattech® t-shirt.... begging for another card.

The clerk, probably of Slavic origin (Icelandics don't work in the Hospitality Industry, except one per job as required by law.), does not even crack a smile as he computers another keycard and sends me... barefoot... on my way back to the room.

Two nights later, I'm the only one in the room. I have the luxury of sleeping in my somewhat soiled boxers. The urge hits again. I make sure I have the card with me when I run out in the hall in my underwear to take care of the need. The hallway is freezing... Everywhere in this hostel is freezing... except the rooms.

Running back to the room... I fish out the keycard to let myself in... the keycard is not the keycard. It is only the FOLDER for the keycard. The keycard is... who knows where. I'm out in the hall... in my underwear... locked out of my room... Five floors above the reception desk. And it's cold.

Half-naked, I walk through the Green Mile... then down the stairs to the cold elevator... then down to the cold door to the lobby.

It's closed... locked... No way in... I'll; just curl up... sleep at the threshold... arrested later in the night... or found frozen stiff in the morning... full body hard-on.

Then I see it. LATE NIGHT: RING BELL FOR SERVICE... and a button. I lean on it. The same Slav with the same this-happens-everyday face comes to the door and lets me in. He sees me standing there in my underwear... and asks.

Can I help you?”

Could you send room service up with an order of Eggs Benedict and a mimosa?” I don't say.

I locked myself out... again,” I do say.

Without laughing, he makes me another key card. In less time than it takes to campaign for the US presidency, I'm back under the covers... in my pajamas.


I have the worst meal of my trip. It's a vegan restaurant, recommended by the only Icelander in town. I shudda known! The last vegan meal I had was a free one... and it wasn't worth it. Prepared by the political group FOOD NOT BOMBS... bombs would have been better. At the restaurant, they say you have a wrap choice... veggie, or veggie with salad. Just the wrap would be enough, I thought. The salad is $7 extra.

Can I choose what's in the wrap?” I ask the girl behind the counter.

Of course,” she says, “these are what's in the salads.”

She shows me different combinations of green things, grainy things, some onions, and a few tomato pieces. It all looks barely eatable, but I choose three. for the wrap... I thint. Nope, the whole $18 kit and caboodle comes... a huge wrap, plus three mounds of salad. The wrap itself is barely edible... the salads are not as good.

Trying to Linda Lovelace my gag reflexes, I manage to down the wrap. The salad... I hope they compost.

Redeeming a bit:

The Penis Museum has dozens of phalli ripped from their animal roots and displayed in formaldehyde. And yes, there's a human one... once attached to a male of the species. They also have a penis phone, a penis lamp, a penis hatrack, a penis candelabra, and a penis bottle opener. I felt like a dick going there. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

Besides the museum, the only other great place in town is BAD TASTE RECORDS-- further down the main walking street. My pal Jan Sneum told me about it. Bjork (can you name TWO Icelanders?) invested in it. It's got a great vinyl and CD selection.

AND, ______ one of the proprietor is someone I “met” in 1983 when I was putting together the WORLD CLASS PUNK CD. He was the owner of the label for the Icelandic band PURKUR PILLNIK. He signed the contract allowing the band on the CD.

At the store, he gave me a bunch of CDs, a few records, took me to a cafe... a cool guy. But that's it. The only Icelander I had social intercourse with on this whole trip! I did meet a cool Brit couple from the Northland-- both of whom hate Jeremy Corbin.. and (in the same Irish Pub) a Turkish Communist who loves soccer. Go figure.

At Oddsson met a really cool girl, Amana, I think her name is... from Sierra Leone. Smart, well-traveled, in Iceland from for 2 days on a Ł90 deal from WOW! airlines.

“It's my birthday!” she tells me.

I buy her dinner. Curse this cold sore!

Reykjavik itself is one souvenir stand after the other, punctuated by Irish Drinking Bars, Italian Restaurants, and American Sports Bars. For this I had to go to Iceland?

I took two trips out of the city. One to ________ on the recommendation of the hostel staff lady (the only Icelander working in the place). When I get there , I get out of the bus, and follow the signs to the INFORMATION CENTER. That there is an INFORMATION CENTER with a sign in English is a bad omen. That there were street signs pointing to THE VIKING VILLAGE is a worse one.

The information center looks like a bank with travel brochures. At each teller's window is a computer screen. The tellers, however, are not sitting at their computer screens. They're congregated around a table chatting about something in Icelandic. They're surprised to see me.

I walk up to the closest window. An attractive local breaks herself away from the coffee clatch and walks behind the computer.

How do I get to the Viking Village?” I ask.

It closed on September first,” she tells me.

'Then how 'bout the natural history museum... or the art one?” I continue.

“Closed,” she said. “Everything closed September first.”

“It's like the city closed?” I ask.

She nods.

There's a hotel where the Viking City used to be,” she says. “You can look at that. It's called The Viking Village

Yeah, that's a thrill.

My next trip is a 6 hour $200 Golden Citcle trip. The bus driver/guide complains about the Icelandic Government, the falsehood of global warming, and the excessive amounts of speed bumps in the country.

The tour is okay. Nice scenery-- but not as exotic as the Faroes. (You can see picture from the Faroes one here.) Yeah, it's pretty, but not $200 worth of pretty. I do not go to the Blue Lagoon. From what I hear, it's a tourist trap. I've been to onsen in Japan. I love 'em. But in this one, you have to wear a bathing and just soak hot water with a bunch of other gringos. No thank you.

Greenland, here I come. (Here I am.)

--To Be Continued

[Extra note: In order to catch up, from now on I'm going towork backwards and meet in the middle. You WILL want to hear about the BEND OVER BOYS... my big adventure in Aarhus. I promise.]

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