Thursday, May 5, 2011

On an unusual military base

My first hosts Ko-Leen (Canadian), Davíð (Candian/Icelandic) and their sons Kasper, Stefán, Leópold and the dog Rósa live on abandoned American NATO base in Ásbrú, just next to the airport, but because of security reasons everything is fenced and you have to walk 6 km. The base is fenced and looks like a small village. Most striking elements are colorful roofs. Living here is very cheap, since because of their "dislike" towards American people, Icelanders don't want to live here. You can see many ways of accommodating the area to Americans - American power outlets, American appliances, names of the streets in English, American school and college. There used to be American fast foods and stores too, but after the base was abandoned, some of the "American" facilities were also taken down. That's why Reykjanesbær  has the biggest unemployment in Iceland - most of the people were employed on the base.

My phone charger broke when I tried to use this damn American plug adapter. So now I'm happily phone-less.

My most welcoming hosts
I take a walk to Keflavik and around the base and make some interesting observations about Icelandic way of living.
*Lack of fences. You can sometimes see small fances on the side of the road, but never between possessions! Conclusion? People don't want to live in a cage.

*Lack of curtains in the windows. When you walk the streets when it's getting dark, you can witness how people live their nightlife. But nobody tries to hide it! In Poland even during the daytime, when somebody sees you pass very close to their window, they tend to shut the curtains. Here people have nothing to hide.
*People live in slow pace, nobody's rushing, everybody's happy to talk to you and give you a smile. Two little Icelandic girls say something that must have been "good morning" to me, I reply with "hello." It's time that I learned how to be polite in Icelandic.
*Amazing cleanliness! Trash bins on every corner, clean streets and no dog shit on the grass.
*Camping shouldn't be a big problem...

I go to the harbor and it smells like fish. I find a path along the shore with some rocks inviting to walk on them, so that's what I do next and can't stop taking photos. It seems that it's really impossible to take a bad photo on Iceland. You might imagine the country as a lava and ice desert, but just in a short time it amazed me with its true beauty that has colors, trees, birds and friendly people.

Ko-Leen told me about interesting hikes in the vicinity, so in a while I'm heading to Grindavik, passing through lava fields, 20 km of walking...

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