Friday, August 7, 2009

Greetings from Rejkyavik

Yes. Here we are on a dull rainy morning in Reykjavik, Iceland, reporting from the 4th Floor Hotel's wireless connection, after an overnight flight on Icelandair from Seattle.

Night is by courtesy. Since the flight went above the Arctic Circle, it never quite got dark in the plane; there was always a tinge of dusk/dawn in the north.

But what a surprise as we descended through the clouds into Kevlavik Airport. There, out at sea, was a cruise ship. You mean to say the cruise ships come to little old Iceland? Yes, they do, according to the taxi driver on the way into Reykjavik. Above 50 ships will call this year, and maybe 80 next year. They call at Reykjavik and the east side of Iceland, and then head north to Spitzbergen before cruising down the coast of Norway. Some ships even cross over to the east coast of Greenland.

What's the economy here in Iceland, you ask? Tourism (up sharply this year), fish, and aluminum. The cheap geothermal power means they can afford to do aluminum smelting. And then there's oil.

What, you say? I thought the world was running out of oil. Not in Iceland. There's oil off the east coast and they are drilling in the strait between Iceland and Greenland. More oil than the North Sea fields, the taxi driver says.

It's now 9:00 am, and the other hotel guests are coming into the restaurant for breakfast. There's breakfast for all here. Cold cuts for the Germans, baked beans for the Brits, and good healthy stuff for the Americans. And fish for the Icelanders.

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