Americans and Ice Bars
11.08.2016 - 30.08.2016 70 °F
I started an interesting tradition a few days ago. (Can it be a tradition if it’s only happened twice?). Since Marus (Iceland driver) had nothing to say, Rosemary had us list questions we would ask of him in order to trigger some “guide-talk” from him. I wrote, “What do Icelanders think of America?” This morphed into a second question, “What do Icelanders think of Americans?”, (which is a completely different thing.) On our last day in Iceland, on one of our stops, I picked up a local newsletter in which there was an article written by an American living in Iceland and this was some of the advice he had to offer to American tourists: 1) Stop talking about how things are in your country. You’re not there. If you don’t want to see different things, stay home. 2) Stop talking about the cold weather. You came to a country with “Ice” in its name. What did you expect? 3) Stop talking about your dietary restrictions. No one cares. 4) Stop talking so loudly.
There were others but I don’t remember them. Anyway, I read them out loud in the bus while Marus drove. He chuckled but as I recall, he never contributed to the conversation.
So, the “tradition” continued into Copenhagen when Rosemary asked Ursula what the Danes think. Again, the answer was about Americans rather than America. Ursula finds Americans to be cheerful, friendly, attentive and interested in what the guide has to say. But it surprises her how little Americans know about the rest of the world. She said that she gets some crazy questions like, “Is Denmark the capital of Sweden?” A few of us discussed the possible reasons why Americans (well, at least American travelers) are uninformed compared to other travelers. I think our best guess is that the USA is so wealthy and powerful that any step we take has the potential to impact other countries so everyone follows our goings on. On the other hand, we are so wealthy and powerful that the antics of other countries is not usually material to us. Or, we’re so arrogant that we can’t take the time learn about other countries/cultures. A?, B?, All of the above?
We arrived in Oslo this afternoon and took a very quick tour around the town in the bus before we were let off at our hotel. Our guide is “Wyonnie” and she is from Minnesota. If I understand correctly, she became infatuated with some Norwegian dude and decided to move here. I don’t think that worked out to her advantage, but she's still here.
Before dinner many of us found our way to the 21st floor for cocktails overlooking Oslo. It was beautiful. We were there for two or three glasses of wine and then made our way to the restaurant – “The Happy Pig”. Of course they specialized in pork, but I wasn’t quite that hungry so I had a Caesar salad (with plenty of bacon in it) Then on to the “Magic Ice Bar”.
OK – THIS is something to write home about. It was wonderful – an honest to goodness ice bar – with ice benches, ice cocktails tables, ice sculptures, ice goblets. . . .it was wonderful!!! You don’t ever have to do this a second time, but you DO have to do it a first time!! We were given ultra insulating capes and gloves and sent into the den of ice. It was basically a huge freezer with an ice bar and a caped bar tender or bar maid and about 10-15 other people in there with you. There weren’t that many so we were able to take over the joint. We had so much fun! This is goinig to be one of the highlights of the trip. (This and being stuck on the glacier. . .there’s an ice theme going on here.)