The day of our trip to Iceland, I woke up exceptionally early for no reason I could identify other than being extremely thirsty. Unable to return to sleep, I played with Toki, our sweet and goofy black cat until Rebecca awoke much later. We made our coffee, got cleaned up, and ran a few last-minute errands like having duplicate keys made for family members. Someone would have to watch our apartment while we were away on our honeymoon, and our cats don’t feed themselves.
My mother showed up shortly before noon to see us off, and with her she brought Andrew, my brother living in New Orleans, and his son Kai. He was a playful and friendly baby with no fear of strangers and hair that grew into a natural mohawk. I showed him Toki’s little trick of leaping repeatedly into the air to catch a small fuzzy thing the end of a wand, and Kai rocked with laughter to see the little black cat flipping through the air.
On this brisk spring day, all I had to offer my family was leftovers: gyro meat stuffed into pita shells. These were from our wedding a few weeks before, stored in the freezer and thawed at judicious intervals. Today I heated it all up and slathered it in smoky St. Louis-style BBQ sauce, and it was fantastic.
My wife and I finished our last round of packing and bused out to Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. I’m grateful for our robust (and comparatively superior, I think, on a national scale) metro transit system: we lived one block away from a main route that would usher us out to the Light Rail Transit, and that shot directly to the airport, so it was basically the height of convenience, cheaper than a taxi and faster than driving ourselves, with no parking fees.
From MSP we caught a shuttle to the HHH Terminal, a smaller supplementary airstrip, and attempted to check in with Icelandair. I say “attempted” because there was some mild confusion at the front gate: they informed me I had already checked in not ten minutes prior. Obviously this was incorrect and I produced all necessary ID to demonstrate this.
Apparently the guy who’d checked “me” in early was on smoke break and therefore incommunicado, but the good clerks on duty untangled this mess with the deft talent of an Agatha Christie protagonist: my name is Christian Fredrickson and the previous clerk had mixed me up with Kristin Fridricksðottir, who was just then returning from TSA, having been refused because her ticket didn’t match her ID. With that cleared up, we were all on our way to Reykjavik.
That is, we would be after a couple hours in the airport. My wife and I ordered dinner at a small place called Fletcher’s Wharf—for what we received, we felt we paid too much, but that’s the nature of airports, isn’t it. I had to get a shot of the menu: some budding editor thought he’d correct the menu’s copy with ballpoint pen, thus advertising the fact that he himself did not know the correct usage of “complimentary/complementary” for future diners to appreciate.
Other events colored the afternoon: Rebecca put our copy of Rock Band for the PS2 in the mail, returning it due to a manufacturer’s defect, and there was the matter of an old woman who strayed from the bar with a glass of white wine in hand. Perfectly acceptable in her home nation, this stunt did not fly in an American airport and she was politely straightened out. These incidents aside, it was a pretty calm afternoon and, after slamming a couple coffees, we boarded our plane.
I got through most of Malcolm in the Middle before we even left the tarmac. When Bridget Jones’ Diary 2 came on, I grumbled and unplugged and updated my travel journal with the day’s adventure thus far. The in-flight meal was pork pasta and crab salad, with a brownie for dessert and a bun with butter. Rebecca, being Jewish and gluten-intolerant, couldn’t eat a bite of it and I consumed both our meals with great guilt. However, being an experienced traveler, she brought an array of snacks and had to content herself with that.
I have recorded in my log two moments of turbulence, but otherwise a peaceful and perfectly beautiful flight with a deep, deep blue sky above us (accented by Radiohead’s “Karma Police” on my headphones). Further, I have recorded a high degree of pleasure and excitement at flying out of the States.