Thank You For Coming - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Thank You For Coming

Thank You For Coming

Published January 16, 2017

Dear tourists,
Thank you for coming. You’re really shaking things up around here.

Watching you pour out of our planes, we can’t quite believe our eyes. Our streets, once so desolate and gray, are now alive and resplendent with your colorful outdoor gear. You grease the wheels of our commerce and industry, with hotels popping out of the ground all over the place, and old bookshops metamorphosing into “concept stores” just in the nick of time.

Everywhere we look, you’re there! Showering naked and embarrassed at our local swimming pools, listening to us talk about the band we’re in while we prepare your third-wave coffee, asking us about hidden people over interestingly priced drinks at our bars, being swept back and forth on our Tinders, and waking up in our beds. It’s really quite something.

And you have all sorts of interesting ideas about this place. “Elves?” you say. “Sure!” we say. “Dirty weekend?” you say. “How dare you!” we say. “Björk?” you say. “Used to live on my street!” we say.

You’ve really given us quite the ego boost. These days there’s not a single dodgy guesthouse owner who doesn’t think he’s a business genius. The agency that came up with that tourist slogan a few years ago is quite pleased with itself. Even our government thinks you’re here because of them. Everybody’s happy!

But enough about us — let’s talk about you. Why are you here? (We never tire of asking you that.) Mostly it seems to be about having an experience. That and the fact that the place seems to Instagram well. Nothing wrong with that. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

Mind you, we’ve noticed you’re a bit different these days. You used to be much rarer. And you used to complain a fair bit about the whale hunting. Now there’s more of you, and you mostly want to know which place has the best whale meat. Funny how things change.

We’ve changed too, to be honest. It’s not like you haven’t noticed. “It used to be much better here before there were so many of us,” we’ve overheard you say. “I came here before it sold out,” we’ve heard, too. We know. We’re embarrassed to admit it, but we’re kind of mainstream now. In fact, we’ve become so mainstream that it crossed your mind that you should probably have gone to the Faroe Islands instead.

Maybe next time.

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