Thursday, January 14, 2016

Iceland, day 1 (catching up)

Today is day 3 but I am still chronicling day 1. Like all memory, it is now filtered by experience, colored by perception, stained by mental re-vision.

The shower.

Futuristic, to me -- perhaps not to Icelanders, Scandinavians, Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans. (I later learned the owner of the building, who also owns the Black Pearl, employs Dutch design.)

In the bathroom, the shower is not a separate entity. It is a portion of the room, partitioned by one glass door that bends to open wider or fold into the watery flow. The room, on the fourth floor, has several windows, less than a foot square, that sit in a vertical column looking onto the street. I am across from Volcano House (a museum with a restaurant, shop, offices), a construction site, the library. I doubt that anyone can see in from the street below and it does not bother me anyway. Back to the shower. Trying to turn the right metal dial, I was like the Woody Allen character in Sleeper. Water poured from five overhead metal "flutes" with holes. By mistake I first launched a wand next to the dials, splashing me and that side of the room. Finally, I got the water to warm up, and luxuriated in the cleansing warmth. A squeegee on the floor allows one to coax water, if needed (needed), down the drain, a slit in the floor, near the wall. 

Light switches. More sci-fi. Find out which white switch on a white background does what, if anything. I am in a Haruki Murakami novel, except the labels are in Icelandic, as they should be. White switches for room (ceiling) lights are demarcated by "loftljos." The room thermostat does not go above 21 degrees C. (69.8F). Sounds about right, in accord with home, even warmer, given my costs. Press to the right or left. (After two days, I learned a quick press on the left is off, to the right is on; pressing slowly or without a quick release is to dim. Or vice fecking versa.)

A great feature near the shower, discovered accidentally, is an S-like metal tubing on the wall. It is heated! It warms towels, or the foot mat. I used it yesterday to dry my swimsuit after the Secret Lagoon experience.

I took a nap, not more than an hour.

I ventured out again.

I met friends, by the lake.

I did not know the names of these friends, whom I was confident of meeting. But I did learn their names.

They saved the day.

And me.

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