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Gilded

Iceland

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I returned to Finland on Friday, but I still can't get over the sheer awesomeness of Iceland. Most of the not-so-local food reminded me of the U.S. as Iceland apparently has everything from KFC, Taco Bell and Burger King to McDonald's and Pizza Hut. :D I noticed lots of other "yankee brands" too, including GAP stores and Hershey's and Frito-Lay snacks. Also, one thing worth mentioning is the architecture; AFAIK there are no regulations regarding the exterior look of buildings which is the reason some people have built pyramid and barrel-shaped houses.

 

The capital, Reykjavik, was quite pleasing. The buildings weren't too tall (due to possible earthquakes) and it wasn't too urban. The roads were rather weird at places, after driving around the city for a while you'll notice that the road designers seem to have some sort of roundabout/traffic circle fetish. :D

 

I'll have to stress the interesting topography. It's truly remarkable compared to, well, probably most other countries and compared to Finland it was like being on an entirely different planet. Very, very flat lava fields littered with abrupt, huge mountains. Beautiful waterfalls, geysers, hot springs, black lava rock beaches, volcanoes, glaciers etc. Anyone ever been? Or perhaps lives there? :P

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All I know about Iceland is that they are home to a company that makes one of the most interesting MMO games, called EVE Online. It's a SF/jumpgate-style game, but they have the most detailed economic model of any computer game I've ever seen (and a full-time economist overseeing it, complete with quarterly economic reports!). If you think calculating a profit margin in real life is hard, that thing is just wicked.

 

All I can surmise from that is that they must have a pretty decent education system. :)

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All I can surmise from that is that they must have a pretty decent education system. :)

 

They also have the highest percentage of people of any nation who believe in evolution.

 

And they're consistently rated as among the "happiest" nations on earth, by various standards.

 

And they're also apparently fans of (weekend) binge drinking, casual nudity (north of the arctic circle!), and bizarre conceptual art and music. Also elves. The relationship between these things I can, unfortunately, as of yet only speculate about it.

 

Not only that, but there's glaciers, volcanoes, and the midnight sun. I've never been there, but I would love to go.

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All I know about Iceland is that they are home to a company that makes one of the most interesting MMO games, called EVE Online. It's a SF/jumpgate-style game, but they have the most detailed economic model of any computer game I've ever seen (and a full-time economist overseeing it, complete with quarterly economic reports!). If you think calculating a profit margin in real life is hard, that thing is just wicked.

 

Oh yeah I've tried EVE Online, didn't remember the company was Icelandic. Didn't really get into it though, but then again there isn't a single MMO that hasn't eventually disappointed me in some way. :P

 

Also, the incredibly annoying children's TV program LazyTown is of Icelandic origin. "Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free, you are a pirate!"

 

Oh yeah, the local yoghurt thing called skyr was pretty good. That was pretty much the only local food I tried as I was busy trying out the various junk food restaurants. :D

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Their reproductive rate isn't at replacement level, though. I don't think that would effect the mountains and probably not Reykjavik, though it might make the nudity and mmorpg's hard to keep running without, you know, people.

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Awesome pics. What an amazing landscape.

 

You didn't happen to see the initials "A.S." carved anywhere while you there, did you?

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You didn't happen to see the initials "A.S." carved anywhere while you there, did you?

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger? Sorry, no. ;) Surprising amounts of graffiti in Reykjavik though, seeing how vandalism and crime rates in general are very low. Perhaps they're not too strict about graffiti... partially due to the lack of building facade regulations maybe?

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Hmm, that's not really the image I had in my mind for mermaids. Oh well. :)

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Hmm, that's not really the image I had in my mind for mermaids. Oh well. :)

 

That reminded me of how superstitious Icelandic people take their mythology pretty seriously; basically every rock on a hillside is a petrified troll, every rock actually on a hill or a mountain ledge is also a petrified troll, where there aren't rocks there are presumably invisible elves, and every land formation was made by, you guessed it, trolls (or giants, Viking hereos, gods and whatnot).

 

Also, in every single saga people get axed. A lot. And if they don't get something cut off with an axe they get impaled on a spear. Unfaithful spouses get axed, everyone who acts suspiciously (or weighs as much as a duck?) is obviously a witch and gets axed, sometimes someone is just bored and decides to axe someone a bit just because they don't like their face etc. If someone is extremely lucky and doesn't get axed or impaled on a spear, they're bound to get crushed by a landslide because they didn't give shelter to a pregnant woman or something.

 

Oh, and one more thing about buildings etc. The people in the rural areas have a serious deathwish. I saw countless steep hills and cliffs where dozens of car-sized rocks had tumbled down. And quite commonly in between of these scary-looking rocks there were houses with sheet metal exteriors. Reinforced concrete might be more suitable considering how likely it is to get hit by a seven ton rock at some point in the future.

Edited by Gilded

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