Traffic In Iceland

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Traffic In Iceland

“Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn’t block traffic.” Dan Rather

The Icelandic people say that the increase in tourism has changed the traffic situation in Iceland. Twenty years ago scarcely anyone living outside the city owned a car but now it is different. The roads are crowded.

The tourists make it more and more dangerous to drive. It seems to Icelanders that anyone can rent a car in Iceland. The tourist short stop in the road for a photo op is a particularly common accident.  

As an American from a busy city, the situation looks quite different.  I wasn’t driving but there were empty roads as far as the eye could see. It seemed like you could just sit back and enjoy the landscape. 

 Every now and then you will come to a point in the road where you realize, that the only reason why there are so few people in Iceland killed by car accidents is that there is so little traffic. Some of those roads look like they would be treacherous in winter. 

The trickiest part of driving seems to be the tunnels. When driving in, you feel like  you are entering a huge cave built into the rock. They can be as long as six miles. I am claustrophobic and I just had to put my faith in Rocky our driver and in the hope that it did not end somewhere in the middle of the mountain. One of them felt like it would never end.  It is quite possible that while you are in a tunnel, it suddenly narrows into one lane with periodic widening bays. Cars coming in the opposite direction pull over and wait for you. Apparently our direction had the right of way. Luckily we did not meet a truck.

I think  the biggest road problem in Iceland are the sheep. It is far more common to be cut in front of by a group of sheep than by other drivers.

There are actually way more sheep than drivers on Icelandic roads.

Drive safe,

JAZ

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Xenophile

PRONUNCIATION:

(ZEN-uh-fyl, ZEE-nuh-)

MEANING:
noun: One who is attracted to foreign things or people.

“Americans are very friendly and very suspicious, that is what Americans are and that is what always upsets the foreigner, who deals with them, they are so friendly how can they be so suspicious they are so suspicious how can they be so friendly but they just are.” Gertrude Stein

I have just learned this word which is the opposite of xenophobe a word I know and have heard too much lately. I am a xenophile. As soon as someone speaks to me in a foreign accent, I want to know where they are from, how long they have been here and how do they like it. I want to know about their country as well. The longer I speak to someone who’s first language is not English, the more I begin to sound like English is not my first language either. It is a bit of traveling in my day without leaving the country. It sparks a memory or makes me think about planning a trip.

Im overly friendly when I meet someone who is from a country I have just visited – a waiter, a parking lot attendant, a sales clerk or the person on-line behind me at the grocery store. I’ll just randomly start talking about their state or village. It’s definitely awkward. I don’t have a fear of saying the wrong thing because I usually do. I smile, not like a prom queen, but because I’m genuinely interested in anything they are going to say about their country. It usually goes well. People like to talk about themselves and like that you know their part of the world.

You get to hear their impressions of America and Americans. One of the things people have to get used to here is that we use over the top adjectives and smile a lot. We are not happy all the time and all the smiling is cute but confusing to cultures that don’t smile a lot or New Yorkers. Everything is not awe-inspiring or awesome to people who know the meaning of the word.

We like to say we are “Irish or “South African” or “Italian” to people who are actually from those countries. They don’t like it.

They think it is funny that we write the month before the day. I always get annoyed with the rest of the world for not doing that.

I notice that when I talk about politics to people who are not American I am very PC but I get defensive when they criticize our government even though I feel the same way.

Around the world, they are starting to say that we are a people who are always shooting at each other like we have nothing else to do. We are a scary country to visit now.

I met a nice looking man who had been here for three months legally and looking for a job. He had a beautiful accent and I couldn’t figure it out where it was from.  He had always heard Americans liked people from different backgrounds because that was who we were, yet he felt his accent was keeping him from finding a job. Though he had a business degree, he was willing to take any job and start at the bottom. i said it was probably that he had no work experience here. With the condition of the world these days, being a xenophobe is definitely becoming more popular than being a xenophile.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Things Not To Say To A World Traveler

Things Not To Say To A World Traveler

“I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places“. 
Henny Youngman

I think I have ebola. ( or whatever the current scary virus is)

What is that in your carry on? It looks like a bomb.

You should have been here twenty years ago before it was ruined.

Oh, you don’t act like an American. They are loud and complaining. ( fill in country you are from and stereotypical adjectives)

Oh you don’t look American. They are usually fat. ( again fill in country you’re from and matching stereotypical adjectives here)

There are too many tourists here.

I hear it is really unsafe where you are going.

Your English is pretty good. ( make sure they aren’t from an English-speaking country or grew up in one first)

Didn’t you know that you need a visa?

I’ll just wait till we find a clean toilet where you don’t have to squat.

Oh good, they have McDonald’s.

We don’t have your reservation.

How many countries have you been to? I’ve been to 77.

I’m so glad I met you because no one speaks English here.

I just came in from Liberia ( or wherever the new scary virus is from).

Fly safe,

JAZ