I had zero leg room on the flight from Seattle to Reykjavik, my bag of camera lenses and hard-drives took up all the space instead, so I spent the whole time curled up in the chair, feet up, reading book after book until we landed in the cold. (Mr. Penumbra’s Bookstore made a special impression, as it had been a gift from Alexandre that we picked up at the Amazon brick & mortar in Seattle the week we took together there before I left. There’s a girl in it I somewhat identified with, though we’re not of a type.)
From the outside, landing in Iceland at night is like landing on the Canadian prairies. It is dark, flat, empty, and cold. Walking across the field into the building, I felt the bite of Edmonton’s winter. The inside, however, looks precisely what I might imagine a minimalist airport manufactured by IKEA might be like, all pale wood floors and sketches of metal furniture. The gift shop sold furs, the cafeteria had an entire refrigerator shelf for greasy fish products, but otherwise what I managed to explore (with my dreadfully heavy bags) struck me as being similar to any other small airport. Mostly I simply sat, curled up with my phone, surfing the wifi, chatting with Alexandre.
The hours were wrong for the Northern Lights, unfortunately, and the airport, also unfortunately, is an hour out of town, so I did not get a chance to see the aurora borealis or visit Reykjavik or
Heathrow, however, was a sprawling place. It reminded me of nothing more than a level of an old James Bond video game that I remember playing a handful of times as a teenager. Low-rez, blocky, big open spaces, lots of windows without any view, and the illusion of multiple paths that resolve only into one when you try to move forward. I would love a map of the place, a 3D rendered duplicate that I could wander at will in virtual reality. The illusion of choice was especially interesting, as if the corridors could be reformed like a labyrinth and somewhere there might be a beast, perhaps some metaphor for finance, with gold dipped bull’s horns and diamond tipped claws.
The border questions were nothing after having to handle the US/Canadian border so many times over the years. The guard dismissed me as soon as they gleaned that I own a credit card, all flags dropped and I was through. Waiting for me were Arnand and Dee, my suitcases, a little red car, and a whole new life. “Hello.”