Mood: crushed out
Topic: "Say It Ain't So,Jo"(4)
Travel, to Frodo, is not only broadening, it is scintillating. Witness his tale of his love affair with a land that knows its true beginnings. It started on Frodo's very first jaunt across the waters, when his flight-time for a trans-Atlantic trek was a cumulative 17 hours, interrupted only by a single stop in Keflavik, Iceland.
The stewardesses, and there were quite a number of them, were stunning. Unfortunately, Frodo couldn't tell one from another, since they were all blonde, shapely, and melted his hormones with piercing blue eyes. Did Frodo mention that they were all shapely, and blonde? Frodo didn't speak much Icelandic, but he was more than prepared to try a form of sign language. There were lots of smiles, no takers, in that group. "Alas," thought young Frodo, "the imagination supercedes reality, once again."
The two-hour lay-over in Keflavik was a great disappointment. The barren landscape was exceeded only by the drab and lifeless airport waiting area. Looking forward to a semester abroad, young Frodo promptly decided that Iceland did not match his needs, and that, most assuredly, would be satisfactorily dealt with by the more sophisticated charmers on the Continent itself. He thought little more of Icelandic sagas.
Many years later, Sam had occasion to pass through Iceland, and returned to tell Frodo that much had changed. Frodo reasonably concluded that Sam was lacking in "savoir faire," and had been taken in by the solitary aspects of a foreign land. Sam, however, refused to concede, and insisted that on their next trip abroad, the travelers would spend a few days in Iceland. Frodo did his best to plan an itinerary, but was limited to a few geysers, the supposed entrance in "The Journey to the Center of the Earth," and the Church where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met and discussed international relations.
The new and improved airport was full of young people, all of whom were blonde, and drinking, heavily. Frodo noted the presence of all the stewardesses he remembered from his previous sojourn, so many years before. None had aged a day, and Frodo saw one that he recognized almost everywhere. It was as if Frodo and Sam had ventured into a yuppie paradise, with attractive, and apparently prosperous young socialites everywhere.
The uppermost of their few days on Iceland included a visit to the Rift Valley which separates the tectonic plates between Europe and North America, and a night-time bathing in the "Blue Lagoon." Frodo learned that the entire nation is powered by the geothermal processes of super-heated water drawn from the earth's core, circulated through pipes, and returned again to repeat the cycle. The Blue Lagoon is the end point, where temperatures reach the low 90's all the time, amid the volcanic minerals present in the soil which make this the world's pre-eminent spa. Since it was October, Frodo and Sam were barely able to see each other through the fog, but the "Northern Lights" shone overhead as if presented for their personal enjoyment.
Frodo also learned that the Icelanders have the greatest genetic-tracking model in the world. It seems almost everyone can trace their ancestry back until at least the eleventh century AD. Many readers, familiar with the name Leif Ericsson, may not know that the last name is a direct reference to Leif's Old Man, named Eric. Nearly everyone in the entire nation has either "son" or "dottir" (Frodo assumes that an explanation for this syllable is not necessary) as an ending in their name.
More time has passed, and change has again come to Iceland. Frodo and Sam have noted, with sincere alarm, the tragic impact of the worldwide economic collapse on the tiny nation that invested so heavily in "collateralized mortgage-backed securities." The government has fallen, and the struggling Icelanders have accomplished something unique in their quest for a restorative future. They elected an openly gay female prime minister.
To satisfy those currently wondering why Frodo has gone to such great lengths to describe this history-making event, readers should note a few facts about Johanna Sigurdardottir. She is 66 years old, and is a former flight attendant for Icelandic Airways.
Did Frodo mention that she was shapely, and blonde?