Friday, 22 December 2006

You know you're from Iceland when....

-You’re suspicious of pink fish, and wouldn’t want to eat it out of choice.
-But you like eating rotten fish (and sheep’s heads).
-Despite the cold, Ice cream is a very popular choice of snack.
-You consider a Toyota Hi-Lux a “runabout” and an F150 a small car.
-There is no such thing as having overly large wheels on your vehicle.
-Icelandic jumpers are actually waterproof and windproof so may be used in all conditions.
-Driving 150km to the cinema is regarded as normal.
-You classify route 1 as a “main road”
-Reykjavik is a big city.
-You like Opal as you’ve been conditioned to like the flavour from an early age with the same brand sweets.
-You have an involuntary impulse to say “How do you like Iceland?” when meeting a foreigner for the first time.
-You use a credit card for all purchases, especially for less that Kr100.
-You have been caught speeding by the police at least 5 times in the last year.
-and when you get caught speeding you get a “25% discount” if you pay on the spot with a credit card.
-You have Christmas lights up in your room all year round.
-You have an urge to be a student in Denmark.
-You eat rhubarb jam with beef.
-Soup is considered a dessert.
-The biggest partys revolve around horse and sheep festivals.
-Going to a bar before 1am is seriously uncool, but queuing to get in at 5am isn’t.
-Whilst waiting for the correct time to go to the bar, you make as many circuits as necessary in your car on a “Rúntur” around the town, stopping at regular intervals at the local petrol station.
-Although not particulary interested in whaling or whale meat, you like to take part to wind up the international community.
-You have a personal blog, and treat this as the primary communication system with your friends.
-Cod liver oil is non-negociable.
-You think any plant taller than 15cm is a “tree” and 5 together are known as a “forest”.
-You believe in trolls (when foreigners are in earshot), and think they live in “suspicous looking rocks”.
-You are proud of topping the world league tables on life expectancy, quality of living, and lowest age at losing your virginity.
-You can actually pronounce the beer Egilsgull.
-You have never heard of Magnus Magnusson, despite him being the most famous Icelander (ok after Björk)
-There is no such thing as a time when you can’t say “Haa?”
-You like using the letters ð and þ, but get confused by the letter z.

© howdoyoulikeiceland


Visiting a cinema in Iceland is an experience. Ok, for the record i'm not talking about the Reykjavik megaplexes that you can find all over the Americanised world, more the small-town cinemas spread over the rest of the country. These can take the form of what appears to be a converted village hall and are a nice refuge from the Icelandic weather.

Generally the cinemas are what you expect: Seating for about 100 people, a mixture of home-grown and international blockbusters (with subtitles), and a friendly atmosphere. The thing that comes as a shock to you though is the break in the middle of the film. At what seems like a random point the film stops for an interval. Unfortunately the way this takes place is more along the lines of pulling the power cable out of the wall, rather than a controlled pause. Anyone coming for the first time thinks the film has broken, well until the house lights come on and people go out for refreshments. Sure enough after 15minutes the machine gets plugged in again, and off we go! Another quirk from Iceland.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006


This really is one of my pet hates in Iceland. For some reason a large proportion of drivers on the roads out here insist on reminding you that you have your full-beam headlights on. The standard reminder consists of flashing all their lights at you just before you pass, blinding you into submission. I don't have any problem with a genuine reminder, but please stop doing it when i have dipped my headlights!!

Unfortunately it's now become such a regular occurance that plenty of people are turning this into a game. You dip your headlights as normal, but hold onto the indicator stalk.... When you get flashed, flash them back!! This helps on several counts: 1. It makes you feel better (always a bonus!) 2. It tells the other driver that you did have your lights dipped after all. 3. Maybe, just maybe it will stop them doing it again.

I'm interested in why people think this occurs so readily here in Iceland, but much less so in other countries (to my knowledge). Is there a tendency for people here to point out your failings faster here? Or do people simply like flashing other cars for no apparent reason!?

For the record this doesn't just happen when driving one car, it happens in a range of vehicles.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Here we go then!

This is my first blog which I have been coaxed into writing in order to get a few things off my chest. As a foreigner in a different land, you soon notice how local people can act in certain unique ways. This blog is dedicated to the country famous for Geisers, Glaciers, Fish wars, Björk and Magnus Magnusson, and the people who live here. I hope it's an enjoyable insight into Iceland and it's population.

This blog's name comes from the question all foreigners hear sooner rather than later upon arriving in the country. "How do you like Iceland?" is a knee-jerk question which is asked almost instinctively after finding out you are new to the country. I would go on, but i feel a blog post coming up about this in the near future.... I still can't believe no-one else has snapped the name up yet!

Feel free to leave comments, and or ideas for further posts. Just remember it should all be light hearted -I don't want to start another Fish war ;-)