From Iceland — Sour Grape

Sour Grape

Published June 30, 2006

Sour Grape

To the People of Iceland,
I would like to take the time to say good-bye and thank you to the country of Iceland and its people. I have been a teacher at the elementary school on the military base in Keflavik and I have lived here for two years and I really love the country. Iceland is majestic, beautiful and extraordinary. I would think that all Icelanders would like to keep their country a secret and not tell anyone so that Iceland can stay spectacular and pure. (Just kidding…)
In the past few months when the U.S. government has decided that many of us here on the base must leave, I have come to see another part of Iceland which has impressed me greatly. I thought that so many of us leaving at once would create a lot of chaos but I didn’t count on the Icelandic people for one. Over and over as I have dealt with all the aspects of moving, I have come into contact with so many Icelanders and I have been amazed at how polite they were, how efficiently they did their jobs, and how they were going above and beyond their required duties to make things happen.
I would like to thank all you Icelanders for sharing your riches, your kindess, and your country. Thank you so very much for all you’ve given and done for us. I shall always have a special place in my heart for this country and its people and I wish I had been here ten years instead of two!
Dinah Tague
Wait a minute!!!
Thy closed the base? WTF…

Dear Editor:
 I witnessed an unfortunate and likely preventable accident on the main highway between Rekyjavik and the Keflavik airport Thursday evening, June 22nd, 2006 while standing on the shoulder of the road, just a few feet away. A black vehicle was stalled in the left south-bound lane, and the driver had popped his hood and was checking his oil stick, evidently unaware of the extreme danger he was in. Unfortunately, before I crossed the lane to assist and while I was pleading unsuccessfully with the driver to move his vehicle off the road, he was rear-ended and shot into the air, and the lives of four adults and one unborn child were changed irreversibly. To this day, I have been unable to determine the status of the victims, but can only hope and pray that for the survivors and their family, Godspeed with your recovery. 
  I have had many sleepless nights replaying the scenes of that evening in my mind, searching for answers. I have tried to reserve passing judgement, but certain piercing questions plague me. Before hiking back up the road to assist the stranded vehicle, and before the vehicle was struck, my wife and I observed at least two vehicles narrowly dodge it, escaping with their own lives, while continuing on their way.  Why did you abondon your fellow Icelanders in the middle of the highway, and risk the lives of those five human beings that ultimately were involved in this senseless accident? Was it not your problem? If we had worked together at the scene to alert others to the danger BEFORE the accident and assisted with pushing the vehicle off the road, could we have prevented this tragedy?
  For those who drive this highway every day, one thing is clear. You must be self-sufficient, and you cannot rely on anyone helping at the right moment in your moment of crisis. If your car stalls unexpectedly on the main highway and you are unable to steer clear of traffic, you should pack orange reflectors or flares to alert those coming from behind, transfixed by the captivating Icelandic scenery and unaware of the hazard that awaits in front of them. Do not assume that your emergency lights are sufficient, even if they are working.  
  If anything, my wife and I are equally haunted by how close to fate we came that evening. Had we been driving in the left southbound lane, it is quite possible we could have been the ones who struck the vehicle. Had I crossed the lane to consult with the man peering under his hood, I too would have been struck. Had I crossed the lane, and started pushing from behind, I too might been struck from the rear.  
  We thank God that we made it back in one piece, and were reunited with our kids, after our brief stay in Iceland. We pray for the victims of this tragedy, and hope that an accident like this can be prevented in the future. 
 Anthony Caole
Well, the good news is that no lives were lost in the accident. I contacted the Keflavík Police, and they told me that “the accident looked a lot worse than it actually was.” That being said, I was not able to determine the extent of the injuries of those involved. Press releases from the time state that all parties were taken to a hospital, but according to the press releases, their injuries were less than originally anticipated. I hope this information will help you sleep at night.
To our foreign guests, I have this to say. Driving is a serious business. Especially in Iceland, where a majority of the population tend to regard traffic regulations more as a rule of thumb. Icelandic drivers are notoriously bad, and the road system does not exactly help matters either. I advise foreign visitors to study a safety announcement from the the Icelandic Traffic Bureau on page 50. If you still insist on driving, at least you’ve been warned.

Looking for home exchange during the month of July. My house is in North Carolina in the city of Asheville
Great area for musicians, folk dancers, artists and new age/rainbows.
Would preferably love Reykjavik but the fjords would do as well
Please contact me at:
Alicia Martinez O
This is so convenient… I have been looking for a great area to practice my folk dancing, dive into numerology and gaze at the rainbow, while I come up with new recipes for herbal remedies. I have a little house available in the village of Patreksfjörður. While it is not Reykjavík, at least it is a great area for having a drunken fit and carelessly treat firearms… My other favorite pastime.

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