As the Icelandic tourism industry continues its unfettered growth, the local media has been diligent about reporting on the tourism-related events that matter. Events such as pooping occurring where people normally do not poop, and the ripping-apart of various local flora. We, Your Friends At The Grapevine, have even hopped on the poop-train on occasion, because pooping is hilarious. In any event, the Icelandic media talks shit about you every single day, using their sneaky secret language. Aren’t you curious about what everyone’s saying about you before you show up to a party? We sure are. And that’s why we like to report on those reports. Consider this a public service: we are taking all the shit that’s being talked about you behind your back, and placing it in front of your back.
Welcome to Poop News.
Gravepooping, firepooping, shitbirds and gravy
Perhaps no tourism-related theme has resonated quite as much as Tourists Pooping Outdoors. I’m surprised no one’s made a Tumblr of that yet. It started innocently enough, as tour guides in Suðurnes complained that there weren’t enough outdoor toilets and public facilities for visitors to our fair isle. A complaint we summarily ignored.
Things kicked up a notch when it was reported that people were literally shitting on graves at the Þingvellir National Park. No ordinary graves, either, or even graves of war criminals or evil wizards; these were the graves of some of Iceland’s most beloved and treasured poets. Perhaps those particular poopers were unaware that they were relieving themselves on graves, and it was all a mistake.
Regardless, the pooping continued. We learned that a cyclist had accidentally started a brush fire after lighting his used toilet paper on fire, after emptying his bowels by the side of the road. The firepooper discourse got heated, with many wondering why the cyclist didn’t just bury his leavings in a small hole, as even a house cat might have the sense to do (but hey, house cats don’t use toilet paper, do they?). Meanwhile, experienced hikers relayed their own best-practice tips for outdoor pooping, advising prospective defecators to do their business in Ziplock bags to be carried back to civilisation and disposed of in a suitable receptacle.
The firepooper certainly raised the bar for poop-related news stories in Iceland. Apparently not wanting to be outdone, a whole family of tourists were later spotted in Húsavík pinching one off on in a parking lot by the harbour, much to the consternation of eyewitnesses. When confronted and informed that, contrary to what they might have heard, public shitting is frowned upon in Iceland, the tourists in question reportedly responded that “the birds will eat it.” Which makes you wonder what kind of fucked up birds they have over in whatever country these people hail from.
Things eventually took a turn for the mysterious, as reports came out that a camper van had unloaded its sewage tank all over a handicapped spot in the Keflavík International Airport’s parking lot. The mess was so pervasive that the actual fire department was called out to clean it up. On examining photographic evidence of the sludge, however, several people pointed out that the thick, beige puddle looked nothing like faeces and everything like brown sauce. Which, employing Occam’s Razor, makes total sense. It is of course far more likely that someone dumped four litres of Knorr brown sauce in the parking lot than that a camper in a hurry simply dropped anchor where they stood.
It’s not just poop!
The tourism-related misadventures that Iceland’s media so enthusiastically reports on haven’t been confined to poop. On the contrary: there are various types of incidents to discuss and complain about. Offroading, for instance has been a popular subject of late. The media has reported on several instances of visitors driving their vehicles off designated roads and across fragile local flora, ripping up what little plant life is holding together this giant pile of gravel and sand we call a country. I mean, maybe your rented Yaris will not personally ramp up soil erosion in Iceland, but then you’re far from the only person perilously thrashing a rented Yaris all over the island.
Speaking of flora, rangers at Þingvellir National Park recently reported stumbling upon some enterprising young campers who—clearly wanting to hearken back to the Middle Ages and turf houses—had ripped up big swaths of moss to use as insulation for their tents. And to be fair, maybe they thought this was some variety of fast-growing moss. I mean sure, we’ve all heard the expression “a rolling stone gathers no moss,” which pretty heavily implies that moss does not grow fast, at all, but we can’t expect everyone to know all things. In case you didn’t know until now, now you know.
Lastly, capital area police recently revealed that they had received a call about a bald, tattooed man allegedly wandering around downtown Reykjavík, wildly swinging a golf club at passers-by. Police responded immediately, but upon arrival found a tourist carrying one of those selfie-stick things. The tourist in question was apparently so full of joy and self involvement that the wasn’t even aware that he was swinging his selfie-stick right in folks’ faces. Again, totally understandable—recording your insufferable gloating video for your friends back home is infinitely more important than having any kind of awareness of your surroundings and the real live people around you.
Watch this space for further instalments of Talkin’ Shit, and learn what the Icelandic media is saying about you! Well, maybe not about you personally (except when it is), but tourists to Iceland as large, varied and loosely connected group of individuals.