The final days at Thorsmorck....the rains threaten

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

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

 Today is Tuesday, Sept. 11....been working on my steps for what seems like days now...I can't believe I took that job on...but they were so tempting...I noticed these steps on this big cabin and it appeared that the first two were not attached and likely to cause a major I decided to fix them...should be no big deal but of course, I start taking them apart and the whole set of steps is I have to build new one else wants to go near the job because, of course, making steps is totally annoying and very difficult to do correctly...esp lacking the correct not only do I have the ordinary challenges of step making, but there is a motley and minimal collection of wood for me to use and the tools need to be's one of those jobs where you inventory your tools and supplies and then create from there...not like this is a lengthy stairwell or anything, but I barely know how to do steps...however, I'm acting like of course I can do it...and Oddur and Omar are very supportive and don't question my abilities, which is so surprising but very much appreciated.   So I've been fabricating this stairway....slightly obsessed with it...I go to bed thinking about how on earth I'm going to put the materials together to make a stairway....I'm sincerely enjoying doing it for the most part but often pretty frustrated because it's taking so long with these atypical it's cold out and rainy on and off....minor impediments out here...and we thought we were going to leave the camp tomorrow to go back to Reykjavik but I know I for one can't leave because I've got to finish my steps...
Speaking of leaving, we learn today that a huge storm is expected and the river is going to rise and the busses won't be able to pass tomorrow a few volunteers had to leave earlier than planned so they could make their planes...and we're leaving later than planned (lucky for the steps)...
There were all these horse women here for a few days.  ...lots of beautiful horses....they have to ford the rivers and get downstream before the amazing sight all these horses crossing this river that's up beyond their bellies (check out the photos)....I think they must have been freezing cause that water is soooo cold......anyway tomorrow, more rain, looking forward to another expression of extremity around here....
Wednesday...the day of the rains.... Sleep late listening to the rain and wind...can't work in this....but I've still got to finish those steps so by afternoon I'm out there working in the's letting up a bit anyway...I enlist Lisa to help cut the wedges...and for moral support...finally by 8pm it's done!!   And I think they look Edwan says...."les marches de la gloire"...anyway Oddur and Omar like them...and they're in charge of the camp...the steps will never go anywhere cause I totally overbuilt them...they'll probably hold up thru the next eruption...or glaciation...whatever comes first..
Big celebratory dinner of salmon and lamb and other good stuff....Omar and Oddur pull out the beer for's a nice gathering even though I think we're starting to get on each other's nerves....well maybe not everybody....and maybe it's more a product of the delayed departure...I guess for me there are a number of people I'd like to remain friends with...they are a pleasure to talk to ...and then there are others that I'm sure will drift from consciousness even though they were integral to our time together in this land...
Have an enlightening talk with Jacob and Helga about genetics...Helga is Icelandic through and through...and she has her family tree mapped to 36 generations ago!!!...which is pretty amazing to me since I don't even know anything about my great grandparents....she's blown away by the fact that I don't know my family tree and that my parents are of two radically different ethnicities....apparently in Iceland they can take the names of two people, pop them into a computer and find out how long ago they were directly related...and Helga says its usually to a max of 6's a pretty closed gene pool when you think about it that way...and it's so well documented since they've got everyone's DNA mapped and recorded....they say that's one reason the crime rate is so low...first off, everybody's basically related and if you leave a cell or two at the scene of the crime, they've got you with the DNA evidence
Tonight, a bonfire to celebrate the end of work camp....of course everything is soaked through to it's core so there's no way it's going to light...keeps fizzling Omar goes and gets like a 5 gal container of gasoline and throws it torches up out of control....the heat is just know that black smoke has filled the crystal clean night much for carbon-neutral...funny in a country that prides itself on not burning fossil fuels and producing no emissions....just for a bonfire I guess it's ok....
And then there's the northern's been too cloudy to see them but tonight is partly clear and there are green streaks moving up the sky....mesmerizing....until a cloud bank notices the clarity and puts a stop to it...
On Thursday it's time to go...the river's down - still high but down...time to pack up and start crossing rivers.... Pretty excited about the ride...and it completely lives up to my expectations....
Back to Reykjavik, the most expensive city in the world...seriously, they have fed us really well at Thorsmorck but I'm not going to eat anymore....crazily expensive...a beer is $10...we went to a food store and tried to buy something to make for dinner...all too expensive...which is a shift as a traveling American, the dollar being worth so little...I really don't get why the's out of reach...we looked at chicken breasts in the store....$7 each....for a single breast...and they were small...1/4 pound of salami for about $6... a pint of Ben and Jerry's which was on sale for 30% off and it was still $12.  And then there's the youth hostel in Reykjavik....the most expensive hostel I've ever stayed in was in Paris-$40 for two people...well Reykjavik is $40 for one person....and it doesn't include breakfast!! That's another $12...for a hostel breakfast...    I could go on quoting prices...but believe me it's just shocking....anyway we camped outside in a tent - and it was pretty chilly but cozy...had to quadruple stake the tent down cause the wind was so severe - but it was $44 for two people instead of $80 for inside.  We slept well, rented a car (at $90 a day I might add, but as I said the busses aren't running anymore) and are headed out tomorrow to drive around the country...taking the ring road, the road that loops around the country...there's not too much in the interior and certainly no roads we could drive unless we want to cross rocky fields and ford rivers...and maybe drive over a glacier or two....
By the way, if you've never tried rotten shark you might want to.  It's perhaps the nastiest thing I've ever tasted...beyond's caught and then buried in the ground for 2 weeks to rot....and it start to chew it and it chokes you cause it's so strong with ammonia.....and you're supposed to wash it down with Brennevin (the name is something like that), anyway it's a hard liquor that tastes almost as bad as the's some sort of Icelandic traditional food....eating it made me feel like I was on Fear Factor....but I had to stop at one piece...
It's great to be able to read my email and hear from all you people!!   I thoroughly enjoyed catching up a bit, and feeling back in the loop after two weeks out there....although tomorrow we start driving around the island and I don't think there'll be reception for another 5-6 days.   But you keep writing cause I'll get your thoughts eventually.
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