Surviving Reykjavík In Between Selfies

Surviving Reykjavík In Between Selfies

Jón Benediktsson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published September 23, 2016

“Am I culturally appropriating if I buy this Viking helmet?” you ask your spouse in the most authentic Puffin store on Laugavegur. “Not unless Wagner lives here, just look around—the only way we could appropriate Icelandic culture is to not dress according to weather. That’s why we need to keep these matching anoraks on at all times.” As you cling to life in the sideways rain on your way down Bankastræti a smiling Icelander in a t-shirt yells at you, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes!” Asshole is merely jumping between buildings, he doesn’t have to spend the day outside in the freezing cold for the sole reason that there’s nothing else to do. “This place has wifi, I can upload my selfie from the Blue Lagoon here,” you think to yourself as you enter Hressó.

You’ve just started to realise the scam that’s going on in this country. If there was a more accurate way than emojis to express the weather on social media there would be no tourists in Iceland. Nevertheless here we are, and in two years when Facebook will remind you that there was a time in the past when you used to post something all you’ll remember is what appears in those photos. Happy people in front of beautiful scenery. You might even recommend Iceland to a coworker at the water cooler. You’re not going to store the memories of being wet, cold and bored. No one wants to admit they spent a fortune on a terrible vacation.

Fifty minutes later, your overpriced hamburger is finally here. Yesterday’s whaling tour is being discussed. You’re still trying out the angle for your Facebook status: “you know guys, now that I actually know that whales exist, I’m even more against whaling.” You register the nods around the table—a great indicator for Likes—as you take the first bite out of the hamburger. Are you being hypocritical for choosing one mammal over another? No, it’s the Icelanders that are wrong—it’s not like cows developed singing.



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