The work begins....getting to know the group...

Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2007

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Sunday, September 2, 2007

Monday Sept 3
The end of the first weekend....our first task - putting in a trail of volcanic stone in the driving - seriously driving - wind and sideways misty rain , like you're always in the middle of a cloud blowing about 60 mph....I'll be getting good use out of those rain clothes....i guess the wind travels a long way...all the way from Long Island, across the Atlantic and then up this wide valley on it's way to us...while in the could I saw this enormous Viking woman....there's a bunch of horse people here, and largeness seems to be part of the genetic composition here...substantial folks...anyway, I was fixated on this woman, like an apparition....large, sturdy, long trench coat, long blond braid, a helmet and a whip and a big smile..she says something in Icelandic with that big smile and, in response to my questioning look, she says - "slave" - guess it had something to do with moving big rocks in the rain for hours....but she was so pleasant about it - and then off to her horse...her appearance reminded me of the Viking stories I read as a kid and my image of them.  She fulfilled it totally. 
Same evening the horse riders return and are partying like crazy in the next room...lots of drinking and toasting and loud yelping and all sorts of carrying on...a robust group...we're in the attached sauna attempting a peaceful moment but with only a thin wall between us, we're really a remote part of the party....
So I really like my work group..I believe there's 17 people in all....9?different countries...Lisa and I are the only Americans...the two group leaders are women from the UK and Portugal, mid 20's and with a great presence.  Lots of characters...we're playing a few get to know you games, all very cool...environmentalism is the central theme ... and intercultural connection....perfect for me..
Sunday's the day off - weather is better - but need to sit in the "hot pot" or hot tub as we call it,  to soothe those aching rock-moving muscles....the hot pots not so hot but it's spring fed and hot enough to enjoy....
And then the work starts again...Im focused on building these steps into a steep trail....not that I've ever done that before but Oddur, the guy who seems in charge of the camp - he's called the warden (at first I thought he was making a joke, like the warden of a jail and we were his prisoners for 2 weeks, but then I realized that's what they call a forest ranger sort of person)...anyway Oddur is all very cool about the work....totally handing it over to my judgement about how to do it and all....which I don't generally expect from a man when it involves construction....much appreciated....anyway here's a few photos of the people- they're a huge part of this experience....
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