Monday, November 19, 2012


Whether or not I can say that I've been to Iceland is up in the air.  Technically, I have now spent approximately 2.5 hours in the Reykjavik airport.  Both Baby Oil and I have Icelandic stamps in our passports.  Thanks to the ubiquitous and, in my opinion, successful pro-Icelandic tourism advertising campaign that makes us quite a bit of the Iceland Air experience, I can tell you any number of fascinating facts about the island nation in the North Atlantic.

For instance, did you know that while more than 30 percent of Icelandic people have a college degree, over 50 percent of the country believes in the elves?  That the national dish of Iceland is cured shark?  That the most popular restaurant in Iceland is a hot dog stand?  Both times we landed and took off in Iceland, it was dark so I can't personally vouch for the glaciers, mountains, and gorgeous countryside that fills the IcelandAir in-seat entertainment screens.  

The background to all of this Iceland stuff is that Baby Oil and I flew to the US on Iceland Air to attend a wonderful wedding in Ohio (the soon-to-be-Mr-and-Mrs are now officially Mr and Mrs!).  Iceland Air offers significantly cheaper flights from North America to Europe (and vice-versa) than the standard airlines, but naturally the trip includes a requisite layover in Reykjavik.  This was our first trip purchasing a seat for Baby Oil - yes, he's still under 2 so we weren't legally required to do so, but 10 hours with a 28-pound toddler on my almost-7-month-pregnant lap sounded like a really bad idea. 

On the way to the US, all I could think about was that I really want to actually visit Iceland.  After the trip back, I'm not sure I ever want to step foot in Iceland again.  This is not because of Iceland Air, whose service far surpasses that of the American carriers we've flown overseas.  This is because of the scarring, traumatic experience in which I finally became that parent -  you know, the parent with the out-of-control screaming kid that everyone else on the plane and in the airport really, really hopes is not on their plane.

Look how deceiving Baby Oil can be, dressed as a happy kid ready for bed in the Dulles airport:

Just kidding!  Instead, Baby Oil thought that not sleeping on the 6 hours from Dulles to Reykjavik was a much better plan.  Also that every 30 minutes or so, he should start screaming for popcorn.  Not goldfish crackers, grapes, pretzels, or cookies, all of which I had on me.  No, no, I believe he purposefully picked popcorn, knowing there was no possible way I could provide microwave popcorn on a 757. 

The conspiracy to make my night miserable went much further than popcorn - it included a sleeping guy in the aisle seat who never got up one time during the flight, a shooting pain in my hip/lower back courtesy of the baby bump, spilled milk that dripped behind Baby Oil's seat onto the belongings of the woman sitting behind us, and Baby Oil's minor tantrum that I dared poured his milk out of the cardboard-box-with-straw into his sippy cup and ensuing refusal to drink milk in the apparently tainted sippy cup.

Arriving in Reykjavik, the situation further deteriorated.  Pretty soon, that adorable baby from the Dulles airport looked like this:

Wait, that's just a red blob.  To protect your senses and your sanity, this is the closest I can come to displaying evidence of the thrashing, shrieking mess of a child that haunted the Reykjavik airport.  I'm still curious about the elves, the hot springs, and the fact that every Icelandic person can trace their family's lineage back to the first settlers.  I'm just not sure Iceland would want us back. 

The postscript is, by the way, that Baby Oil did sleep for the 3 hours from Iceland to Paris, and seems to have made a decent recovery.  It's my psyche that we should remained concerned about.