Saturday, February 13, 2010

Misonomers, Peeing Outdoors and Falling Off Bicycles

Dear Icelandic weather, f**k you. When I woke up yesterday morning, the sun was shining through my windows and people were walking around with just sweaters on. It was one of those days I normally welcome and embrace, a day when there is an inkling that the warmth of spring is not too far away. I came to Iceland (which is just shy of the arctic circle lest we not forget) for COLD, DARK, and SNOWY goddammit. I am going to humor a guess that the snow took a wrong turn just north of Iceland and landed accidentally on the east coast. Ah fate; of course the snow is where I normally am but am not at present. Somewhere some explorer is doubled over in his grave laughing about how Greenland is actually icy and Iceland is mild and damp. Resentfully I ate my daily lunch of skyr outside on the rocks by the bay. "Its so lovely", everyone kept saying, "this is so nice." I'd force a smile and nod in agreement, the ears hidden under my hat getting only brighter and redder. I decided since it was such a nice f'ing day to go out for a ride on my moving-pile-of-junk-metal bicycle. I hadn't really explored the abadoned harbor, and since that is something I'd have little interest in photographing, and since the sunny light was not conducive for me to work in anyway it was an ideal time to make my way over there. Surprisingly one of the large warehouses had its huge doors open and I decided to bike right inside. I heard someone hammering and distracted by my new surroundings I forgot I was on my bicycle which had slowed too much to still be stable and all of a sudden I fell sideways off the bike, with is coming down on top of me, into a large crate labeled fiskur (which one should be able to tell means fish). Half of my body strewn across this gross box, and feeling sorry for myself, I noticed the hammering had stopped all of a sudden. A normal response would have been to quickly pick oneself up and go bolting out of there, but instead, for whatever reason my brain told me, if you just lay still, he won't notice you. Wrong, asshole. A man appeared all of a sudden, and from under my bicycle I said hello and asked if I could take a look. He cocked his head to the side like a confused dog, but obliged my request. I picked myself up, took a picture and then booked it out of there in sheer humiliation. The sun was perhaps even warmer as this point, or perhaps it just felt that way because of the little fire of rage burning inside of me, and I biked over to the black sand beach where I knew I could kick some gross seaweed around to work out some of my frustration. Now is the point where I really need to emphasize that my bike is total crap. Yes, when I ride I am often overwhelmed by the landscape and am not thinking about biking, but I am a fairly coordinated person and so falling off bicycles is not normally something I make a habit of. But as I was turning off the dirt path onto another sandier path, I was looking into the distance trying to make out the two people walking toward me on the road and proceeded to go flying off my bike into a large pile of dried grass and rocks. It was one of those moments I felt too stupid to even exclaim a four letter word out loud, so I silently picked myself up, rubbed my knee which hurt like hell as I'd previously bruised it and was already a gentle hue of purple. And then I walked the rest of the way to the beach. I found some nice beach glass in the sand which cheered me up a bit. After both positive-Morgan and negative-Morgan gave compelling speeches on how the day was to proceed, I ruled on the side of positive-Morgan because of her suggestion to take an epic and adventurous bike ride to get out of the funk the beautiful sun was putting her in. Back on the bike I was cruising down the dirt highway feeling much better about things. Several miles down the road a medium-sized dog emerged from a farm house and chased me, barking aggressively, the length of the fence that I thought was there to keep the animal from getting onto the road. Nope. All of a sudden the dog was some ten feet behind me running like a rabid creature after the foreign moving object in front of it. Half amused, half slightly concerned about this dog's level of commitment I rode a little faster and in my mind, out foxed the dog. He probably felt otherwise, and went home commending himself on his success chasing away that horrible and ugly animal attacking his farm. I went a bit further and then had to pee and the only possible option in this part of Iceland (as there are no gas stations or houses really even) is to pee by the side of the road. From previous granola-crunching travels here I'd become quite comfortable doing just that. So I parked my bike and walked off the road a bit and then had to stop walking immediately as unexpectedly I had found myself on incredibly dramatic cliffs. I moved back from the edge a bit, found myself a nice safe and hidden spot, took care of what I need to, and then thanked Iceland for giving me something to photograph. One of the great but potentially frustrating things about Iceland is how quickly the weather can change. Yesterday, this worked in my favor because as I was taking out my RZ the clouds changed and all of a sudden the landscape turned into the magical Iceland I know and love. Everything was purple, the water was a silverish blue, and the clouds were a deep pink. It was ideal photographing conditions, flat, but suffused light. Very cautiously I hung my camera over the edge of the cliff to see just how far down it went. I'm bad at approximating distance as previously noted, so I'll just say down was seriously far. I worked for a while, and then decided it was time to head home, as the dampness of my clothing was becoming bothersome and I was about an hour and a half of shitty biking from the warmth of my home. Here are some pictures from this adventure.

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