“Chicken? It’s okay, yes?”

Letters from Iceland (Thursday, May 11)

This was at 10.40 PM last night outside our room at the Skuggi (means Shadow) Hotel. With so much light each day, Melissa brought masks for sleeping, just in case, and I am so looking forward to doing my Jack Woltz impersonation just as he finds Khartoum’s severed head.

The wind comes with a vengeance. Even when it’s cold — and today wasn’t particularly, we were told — it is the meterologic elephant in the room. Sometimes its gusts hit you like the memories of a bad lover.

On the streets of the capitol — not so different from other tourists avenues in the world — you can find plenty of cheaply-made Tchotchke, including plastic pouches, hats, shot glasses, beer mugs, and lava rocks. Reindeer and lamb rugs go for about $145, there are 2016/17 daytimers for about $29, and t-shirts are “Buy 3, get the 4th Free.” Melissa bought Gregory a wooden Viking sword and was walking around the store with it, occasionally stabbing imaginary foes. I accessed an ATM while a tattooed Icelandic man (his sleeves impressive and intimidating) leaned against a store window and watched me. She and I then got thrown out of a grocery store. It was around 7, the place was closing, as Melissa, standing by the packaged meats, kept asking, “Siri, what’s Turkey in Icelandic?” and kept hearing about Erdoğan.

“This is not funny, okay?” she told Siri.

A manager came by and said, “Hi, hi. You must go. We close.”

“Yes, sure, but do you have turkey?” she asked.

He looked.

“No, I don’t think so. Chicken?” he asked, pulling a package off the shelf. “It’s okay, yes?”

“When is it not?” I replied.

We got the chicken.

“How much is 3500 Krona in U.S,?” I asked the clerk at the register.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I know it’s … actually I don’t know what it is in Euro, either.”

We walked back to the hotel and ate dinner in the lobby — chicken, swiss cheese, Pringles, black licorice, Coca-Cola Light, Carr’s Original Table Water Crackers, almonds.

Melissa’s nose keeps running. She was in bed at 9. The wind keeps knocking at the window.

There’s one piece of chicken left.

P.S. Breakfast this morning, even considering the porridge and wieners and castor oil on the buffet table, was magnificent. The music selection — and I know I’ve talked about this before — is mesmerizing, including, this morning, some Icelandic cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and this piece — please give it a listen.


Big ass croissants, European butter, cherry and chocolate danish, and Melissa.

It’s enough to make you not mind the occasional Sting.