Iceland – Part II

Continued from Part I.

Note: The first several paragraphs of this blog go into detail about my hike with Naomi–which I found interesting enough to include, though it isn’t exactly my typical content. If you only read my writing for the sex-related stuff, skip down to the bolded “Weekend #2.”

 

At first, I was pissed Naomi had woken me up at 8 just to catch an earlier ferry. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was probably for the better. Nothing would be going on at the island during the day, and it would be nice to have a bed to sleep in to recharge for the night.

It’s no secret that partying is a big part of my traveling experience. Naomi, however, would rather read a National Geographic about Madagascar wildlife; she likes to party, but not if it gets in the way of her top priorities. And at the top of her list was the 49-mile hike we’d been planning for the past few months. The both of us had loaded up on expensive mountaineering gear, and had even gone on some practice hikes through El Morro Canyon, so this trek was easily the crux of our trip. Our journey began early Monday morning, but I still had no intentions of wasting a party night in Reykjavik. I was 5 for 10 over the past three nights, which was a better percentage than my 2003 Havasu spring break days. So taking a break from the roll I was on would be like giving up my spot at a hot craps table so I could play Keno.

As it stood, my Sunday plan was such: Arrive back in Reykjavik; eat; check into the hostel where I’d take a colossal nap until 9; hit the bars ‘til 1; fuck an Icelandic Goddess ‘til 3; sleep ‘til 8; wake up, pack, then catch the bus to Skogar to begin our hike. But when Naomi caught wind of my plans, Hippo shit hit the fan.

We were riding in the empty ferry, sitting on a couch by the exit when it happened.

“So what do you want to do today?” she asked me.

“I’m taking a big-ass nap. Tonight should be going off, so I’ll probably head out around 10.”

“You’re going out tonight?” Her voice suddenly had an edge in it.

“Yeah, no one works tomorrow. People will be out.”

“ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?” She was pissed. “Dave, we need to be rested for Monday, and you can’t be hungover. Cuz if you are, then honestly, you’re a liability, and I’m not gonna do the hike with you. I know you think ten miles a day is easy, but this isn’t like the hikes we did in El Morro. Even professional hikers struggle on this trail. Can’t you just not party for one night? Just ONE night, Dave, that’s all I ask.”

I was shell-shocked. “Okay.” Naomi had some serious conviction in her voice, and basically delivered a verbal bitch slap, which is probably what I needed. My Sunday plans were shattered like a freshly-purchased bottle of Blue Label. As heroic and outlier-ish as I think I am with my drinking, Naomi was right: I couldn’t afford to risk fucking up the next 4-5 days, and maybe the whole trip, for one night of partying.

Truth is, I’d always thought hikers were a joke. How hard could it be to just walk down a marked path for a few hours? But when I started hearing stories about people dying on this trail, I changed my perspective (A few years back, an Israeli guy got caught in some bad weather and ended up dying of hypothermia a week later). I had no idea what kind of climate to expect; and in Iceland, the weather is so volatile that you can only predict the forecast 24 hours ahead of time. Theoretically, we could leave on a crystal clear Monday morning, and get caught in a 25-degree high-altitude thunderstorm come Tuesday afternoon, and our entire hike would go to shit. Or worse, we could get stuck in the middle of a mountain, miles from the nearest shelter. Lastly, I didn’t spend over a thousand bucks on hiking gear from REI to look cool; I really wanted to experience the beauty of this country without having to worry about trivial things like hangovers, blisters, or my shivering scrotum.

So I stayed in Sunday and rested. I was so tired I never even left the room. Naomi was awesome enough to bring me a chicken kabob and salad from the downstairs restaurant, which I ate in bed, and then passed out again. I must have slept 14 hours before finally waking up Monday morning.

Our goal for the day was 15 miles, the first three of which were paradise. We walked along the green bluffs with the excitable sheep, waterfalls everywhere, crisp air, and a cool breeze at our backs. We stopped for pictures several times, our walking sticks raised in glory we hadn’t yet achieved (Thank God for these walking sticks. I’d always thought they were overkill—similar to how my friend Tele wears leg backpacks when he goes to the shooting range [see below]—but those sticks took a ton of pressure off my skinny-ass legs over the course of a few hours).

leg backpack

Things started to unravel after the fourth mile. My 32-pound backpack was destroying my shoulders. Was I even wearing it properly? And a pair of daunting glaciers we were supposed to pass between towered in the distance, constantly reminding me of how far we still had to go. Naomi was semi-pro at this stuff, so she was perpetually 50 meters ahead of me, walking in small but quick strides. Apparently, we were on a deadline, as Naomi would frequently look back at me and yell at me to hurry, which prompted me to take four super-fast steps while she was watching, only to return to my normal pace once she turned around.

After the sixth mile, the scenery had mutated from green splendor to a gray, rocky hell. My shoulders screamed in agony; we’d barely put a dent in the glacial pass; and now that we were at a higher altitude, the coldness had dropped to the thirties. Throw in a wind chill factor to go with the ever-dropping temperature as the sun sunk lower, and I suddenly felt a pang of fear. There was no way I could hike nine more miles today in these conditions. Then off in the distance we saw a triangular white hut—unless it was some sort of cruel mirage. No, it had to be real.

Though way farther than it seemed, the hut was real. It took us a good hour to finally get there. When we walked inside, it felt like we’d made it to the Icelandic Caribbean. We dumped our backpacks at the front door area and were greeted by a tall grisly man in his late forties who talked like Lyman Zerga. I hobbled across the wooden floor and collapsed into a chair. After gathering my breath and letting my body temperature stabilize, I joined Naomi at one of the tables and poured myself a coffee—only because it was something hot.* Turned out Naomi was just as physically defeated as I was (something about her ankles), so she asked Lyman about sleeping availability. The place was a steal. It was only 12 bucks to stay there, in which we got personal mattresses and an unlimited dose of Lyman’s hiking stories, weather reports, and trail info.

*I never drink coffee. It’s one of the biggest shams in human history. Why get addicted to something that temporarily rejuvenates you, only to leave you reliant on it every time you feel tired and crappy? Why can’t we all just power through those first 10-30 minutes every morning and live in equilibrium? Then you’d never be addicted to that stuff in the first place; you’d save money, be less dependent on something that takes forever to consume, and no one would ever turn into a grouchy coffee gorilla zombie if they miss out on their morning fix. Life shouldn’t be this difficult. (That being said, ask me about alcohol)

There have only been two instances when I felt my life was legitimately at risk. The first was while surfing alone when I got sucked out by a riptide and nearly drowned. The second was Day 1 of this hike. Had this hut not been here, I might have died (seriously) and/or Naomi would have had to take care of my sorry ass. I was probably acting like an outright weenie, but before I saw that hut, I was already envisioning the headline in the Icelandic Tribune: IDIOT AMERICAN THINKS HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING, CAN’T HANG, DIES PATHETICALLY, UNLAID FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE.

But probably the most important thing I got from the hut, other than survival, was when Lyman showed me how to wear my backpack properly, basically saving my entire experience (apparently you’re supposed to tighten the waist straps extra snug so that all the weight of the backpack goes to your hips and legs rather than shoulders). Suddenly a new man, I conquered the next day of hiking, in which we again covered eight miles (I didn’t exactly conquer it; but I was able to go a solid six miles before starting to ail like a broke bitch, as opposed to just three miles like the day before). Day Two was a different kind of scenery than Day One—less rock and waterfalls, and more volcanoes, snow, glaciers, and mountains. It was also more of an up and down climb. At one point we had to traverse a cliff with nothing but a rickety chain to hold onto for support. Naomi nearly had a heart attack here, which made me feel manlier for being able to handle it.

By the third day, Naomi and I were starting to get on each other’s nerves. We’d spent enough time now to know what slight habits irked us—though I incessantly make noises and say the same shit over and over, so I’m sure my mannerisms were far more annoying than hers. For starters, I was burping like Barney every ten minutes (farting, too). Second, I wanted to walk at my own slow pace, which didn’t fly with Naomi. Third, my borderline Tourette’s was driving her insane. My main peeve about Naomi was her insistence on hurrying. I wanted to take breaks at least every mile to relax, eat snacks, urinate, and soak in the scenery, while Noami just wanted to reach the finish line.

Because we were more exhausted than two teenagers who just discovered how to masturbate, we decided to end our journey after the third day having hiked 29 of the 49 miles we’d originally intended. That last day, however, was by far my favorite. I was well-rested; I’d eaten a hearty breakfast; and my muscles, though strained, had impressively adjusted to the labor, like a man. The hike was flat for the most part, and because we left at 7 a.m., we had the whole trail to ourselves. The occasional breeze came in from the north, the weather was perfect; and with the rolling hills at our sides, in all my life I’ve never felt the serenity as I did on that Wednesday morning. There are countless days in my life I wouldn’t mind living again, this was one of them.

The second half of the day sucked, however. Once we reached the next campsite, we had a hideous, ashen-laden three-mile walk down a dirt road to a bus station in the middle of what suddenly looked like the Mojave Desert. We bussed it out of Barstow and ended up at a small town—where I somehow lost my ATM card, causing me to have to borrow money from Naomi the rest of the trip—then we took another bus to the eastern side of Iceland where we camped out. We spent Thursday checking out Glacier Lake, although it was rainy and windy as hell, so after taking some pictures we ran for cover and then took a six-hour bus ride back to Reykjavik.

Before I continue, I must point out how thankful I am to have done this hike with Naomi. Her optimistic attitude was unmatched; she pushed me to my physical limit—which sucked at times, but looking back I’m now forever thankful; and if it wasn’t for her, I surely would have taken a bus back after Day 2 and missed out on that extraordinary final day. More importantly, because of Naomi I now can officially call myself a “hiker”—even though had we been on Naked and Afraid, Naomi would have ditched me to increase her survival chances, and/or I would have tapped out after the second day, with my “PSR” dropping from a 3.1 to a 1.8. (It’s also worth noting that on the final day of the hike, Naomi took a shit in the dirt and buried it like a cat, which made her four times cooler. I am proud to call her my friend)

(For those who want a visual of our hike, watch this four-minute clip: http://vimeo.com/49643332. Other than the northern lights and nude swimming, a lot of the images are things we saw and experienced)

Weekend #2

No one in Reykjavik was out that Thursday night, so after drinking a couple beers I headed in early and crashed around midnight.

After checking out the Blue Lagoon during the day, I was ready to party again come Friday night. This had probably been the longest stretch (six days) I’d gone on any vacation without partying. Apparently I’m getting older.

Only problem was it was Gay Pride weekend, and the homosexuals had not only taken over the street, but maybe the entire island. They were everywhere, which was fine, but no matter where Naomi and I turned there was a bar blasting either Madonna, The Village People, or that “Dancing Queen” song. The girls all had Dolph Lundgren haircuts, and the guys were either yolked and clad in all black, or awkwardly skinny and dressed like the Mad Hatter. And they all danced bouncily, arms out wide, with no regard for safety like Rocky Horror Picture Show rejects.

Naomi hung out for a couple beers but called it a night sometime before two, leaving me alone at the bar (which was a straight bar last weekend), making me fresh prey to gay men everywhere. Moments after she left, while leaning against the bar, I frighteningly made eye contact with a dude in a red tank top with feathers in his hair who was singing along to the fifth consecutive ABBA song that was on. He approached me and screamed, “This is my favorite song!” I nodded and looked away. He took the hint, picked up his two drinks and walked off.

I finished my drink and bolted. I went to a local’s bar a block off the main street hoping it was queer-free (Note: “queer” is an acceptable gay term in Iceland). That wasn’t the case. Three minutes after sitting on a bar stool, a tall fat guy who looked like Donkeylips from Salute Your Shorts sat in the chair to my right and asked what I wanted to drink. I told him I was fine, I’d already ordered a beer. He ignored me and bought us both a shot of Brennivin (Icelandic liquor similar to jager). What the fuck!? Did this guy really think he had a chance with me? I like to think I’m at least a 7, but this guy was a 2, tops; I was way out of his league. But now that he’d bought me a drink, I figured I was obligated to talk to him or something, officially making me an OC club chick. He pressed me about political crap like the terror in Israel and how he hated the world blah blah blah. Then to make matters worse, another queer sat in the open stool to my left, caressed my bicep, bought me a vodka-soda, and in the disgusting process salted poor Donkeylips. While the free drinks were nice, I had to get out of this place, stat. After another few minutes of answering their questions about world issues and my shirt, I told them I had to go to the bathroom, and then slithered out the door.

FUCK THIS! There had to be at least ONE straight bar somewhere. I strode down the hill towards Austur, the bar from last Thursday. The further I walked down, the more long-haired chicks I saw, and the guys seemed to be dressed shittier. I’m no homophobe, but never in my life have I felt so happy to see clusters of guys wearing skate shoes and wrinkly plaid shirts.

While waiting at the island festival bus stop the previous weekend, I’d briefly encountered a young punky-looking blonde with pink streaks in her hair—my perfect type. As I stood at the edge of the dance floor at Austur, this same girl brushed by me, turned around, and we made eye contact. I smiled, and her face brightened. “Hey!” she gleamed.

The music was blaring, so I had to practically yell at her. “What’s up!”

“I know you!” She left her friend who was at her side and stepped towards me.

“Yep. We met at the bus stop. I never saw you at the festival, though. Did you fall off the boat?”

She laughed. “I was there! Where is your wife?”

“Uh…what?”

“The girl you were with at the bus stop.”

I chuckled. “That wasn’t my wife; that was my friend, and she’s lamely sleeping.”

“Oh! I totally thought you were together.”

“Nope. I’m single. Are you?”

“Yes.”

I learned her name was Sera, 21, and was still in college. Her name was actually way longer, uglier, and impossible to remember, but I never provide girls’ real names on here—and I wanted to save writing space, so I nicely named her Sera. (Icelanders have the strangest female names probably anywhere in Europe. Researching S names, I found the following: “Snorra,” “Snot,” “Sigga,” “Skugga,” and “Steinborg”) Skugga and I danced for a few minutes at the edge of the dance floor, until her face got close with mine, and we started making out (Sorry, I know I named her Sera, but I just wanted to see how Skugga looked in writing).

She’d come with her roommate, and the three of us drank at a table as her friend took pictures of us making out, giggling, and acting like ninth graders. After Skugga finished her drink, she got up, took my hand, and stepped toward the exit area (that was the last time; I’ll call her Sera from here on out). Then, as if forgetting to turn off the lights, she leaned over to her friend, said a few words, and off we went, leaving her roommate in the dust. Unbelievable. (To her friend’s credit, she’d been smilingly texting all night, so I’m sure she’d made plans to get plowed by some dude)

“Where can we go?” asked Sera.

“What about your place?”

“There are five people staying the night. We can’t go there.”

“Well my roommate is asleep, so we can’t go there. C’mon, let’s find a hotel.” At this point, there was no need to get cute. Sera had already made it clear that she wanted sex. Toward the end of our footsie session at the table, she abruptly stated, “Everyone in Reykjavik is fucking right now except us.” And with her face, body, and age, she was at least an 8/8.5. There was no way I could pass this up because I couldn’t find a proper fuckstation. To Sera’s discredit, however, she was undoubtedly a huge slut. She bragged about how she liked older men because she’d banged a 37-year-old last weekend at the island festival. Plus, she was one of those stupid chicks with drawn-in eyebrows—which was apparently a mini fad in Iceland. For all girls reading this: NO GUYS FIND FAKE EYEBROWS ATTRACTIVE. I can’t speak for every man, but I can speak for every man I’ve ever met.

The cab ride was a disaster. There were no rooms available anywhere. We checked out at least five different spots, but the homosexuals—on their weekend of glory—had monopolized all the hotel rooms, leaving people like me to frantically scamper like Commodus after Maximus knocked his sword away.

Having accepted our probable fate of public sex, I had the cab drop us off back at my hostel, praying there’d be an obscure couch in the corner of the lobby we could use.

There were plenty of potential areas, but incredibly, a couple girls were still working the main desk (it was 5 a.m.), which was visible from the two couches I had in mind. I then led Sera up to my floor because I remembered there was another couch in the corner by the stairway entrance. But some frumpy whale was swashbuckling in her PJs with her laptop out. Fuck! I had no options. There was no way I could take her to my room; Naomi would rip my left teste off. Just as I was about to take Sera back downstairs to search for more options, I noticed a glass door at the end of the hallway.

It was a kitchen! Even though it was the size of a bedroom, the door was to the right of the actual room, obscuring us to anyone who might walk down the hallway.

Sera leaned me up against the sink, pulled down my pants, and started blowing me before I could even explain that this room was our best option. She didn’t care. We fooled around for the next hour, but disappointingly she failed the finger test (halibut), so I never went down on her—though I did produce a squirt. Her figure was incredible; it was the perfect shade of tan, and she literally didn’t have a single mole—or freckle even—anywhere on her body.

After sex, I was in my jeans chilling on a dining chair watching Sera get dressed when an Asian guy walked in with one of those red Korean noodle packs. Sera was sprawled on the floor in her underwear with her tits hanging out. The guy noticed her, said, “Oh! Sorry,” then hesitated like a frightened kangaroo, and retreated back towards the door.

I got up, swiftly scooped up the used condom, tossed it in the trash, then said, “No, it’s cool, man. Come on in.” Sera didn’t care; she nonchalantly grabbed my shirt and threw it around her while the guy hurried to the stove, heated up some water, and waited in a chair opposite me, occasionally stealing glances at Sera, who was crawling around the floor like an overgrown kindergartner looking for her scrunchy or something.

Moments after the guy left, Sera threw my shirt at me, proclaimed she was horny again, laid on the floor, spread her legs, and started playing with herself through her panties. Turned on, but not excited about her fishiness, I stood above her, whipped my shlong out and let her suck me off again. I hadn’t had too much to drink, so whiskey dick wasn’t a problem.

After busting in her mouth, we were both exhausted. I told Sera she couldn’t come to my room because Naomi was asleep, so she laid on the now-empty hallway couch and said she’d pass out there. I probably should have left her, but I felt guilty and semi-responsible for her since she was just three years older than my students. So I forced her to get up and summoned her to my room, reminding her multiple times not to make any noise.

It likely would have gone to plan, but our room door opened louder than Century Link Field, causing Naomi to rustle, groan, and then roll the other way. I led Sera inside, and I laid down in bed—which was adjoined to Naomi’s—leaving enough space for Sera, who put her purse on the ground and fiddled with her shoes. Ok, she’ll just quietly crawl into bed in a moment; Naomi will never find out! Nope. Sera and her eyebrows decided to walk to the other side of the room Naomi was facing and lay down on all of our luggage like airport surplus. Five…four…three…two…o—Naomi whapped me on the arm. “Dave! What the fuck!” she hissed.

“We’re not hooking up,” I whispered back.

Get her out of here!

Fuck. I got up and herded Sera downstairs. “Why did you sleep on all our crap?” I asked her.

“I didn’t know where else to go.” It was time for her to go home. I ordered a cab from the front desk, said goodbye, went back upstairs and crashed instantly. Before parting ways, Sera whined, “You’re just going to leave me?” to which I replied, “Well, if you had gotten into the covers quietly, you could have slept in my bed, but you decided to walk right in front of Naomi and sleep in the worst possible spot in the entire hostel.” She gave me a perplexed look, so I saved her the thinking trouble and told her I’d hit her up on Facebook the next day.

Naomi and I spent our final Saturday inside a volcano (Iceland is the only place in the world you can do this; they lower you down the length of two statues of liberty into the frigid bottle-neck caldera of an active volcano. If the volcano were to erupt, we were all goners). The night went about the same as the previous night.

“Are you coming out tonight?” I asked Naomi.

“No, I have to wake up early tomorrow. Plus, what’s the point? You’re just gonna meet some chick and ditch me anyways.”

Makes sense, I suppose. So Naomi stayed in, while I went out by myself…again. I hooked up with the very first girl I hit on, a tall 20-year-old blonde with an unnecessary headband, who was conveniently in a shitty relationship (these chicks always find ways to make themselves more miserable, like fucking a stranger). After leaving her indifferent friend alone at the bar, the blondie followed me outside (I’ll never get over this chick-ditch-friend thing, ever). I was starting to get greedy, however. This girl was a 6.5, and though a probable sure thing, I was on such a roll that I considered ditching her to go after hotter chicks, ultimately deciding to ride her out.

We couldn’t go back to her place because her boyfriend was asleep, so I thought of my options, and decided she wasn’t hot enough to book a hotel room. Fuck it, back to the kitchen!

It was a total bust. She was wearing some gnarly full-body outfit, which made it nearly impossible to get her naked, so after some fruitful efforts to deflect her boyfriend-since-she-was-14-guilt, all I was able to do was finger her for a bit, suck on her tits, and get half a blowjob, ending it with a piss-poor handjob. I never nutted. She was a cool girl, though, which compensated for her 20-year-old prudishness. She seemed genuinely interested in who I was and my passions, which led to some interesting conversations post-accepting-that-I-wasn’t-gonna-bust. And since I seemed like “a guy who understands the world” (her words), she wanted life advice from me, which I gladly gave her (all occurring as my pants were around my knees): First, break up with your boyfriend—you obviously don’t like him that much; two, quit your job at the aquarium and go back to school; three, have sex with me because it will be fun (she laughed, then stared at my penis, which was flopping around willy nilly); four, stop asking people for advice—you already have all the answers. We talked for another ten minutes, then I pulled my pants up and led her downstairs where I called her a cab. I crashed shortly after. I may or may not have masturbated into a toilet.

I spent my final day in Iceland shopping and relaxing. I have to hand it to Naomi, though. She took a six-hour bus (and back) to the other side of the island to go glacier climbing. She really knew how to maximize her days.

Before I end this blog, I have to touch upon the greatness of Iceland from a hook-up perspective. After careful analysis and calculation, over the course of my two-week stay, which consisted of 4.5 nights of going out (the 0.5 was for the first Thursday of the trip, which was semi-dead), I officially went 7 for 13 (with two lays, which could have easily been four if the circumstances were different). SEVEN FOR THIRTEEN! I say this not to brag, but for those who know me, know such stats are an obscene anomaly. Plus I know some of you have future travel plans and care about this stuff as much as I do, though you may not admit it. To shed more light on it, let me break down my “sex probability” at different places across the globe as of October, 2014—meaning, if I party at these places, these are the chances I will have sex that same night. The numbers are all meticulously calculated and research-based…

NEWPORT BEACH BARS: 8%*

HUNTINGTON BEACH BARS: 5%

ORANGE COUNTY CLUBS: 13%

LOS ANGELES: 2% (fuck that place)

VEGAS NIGHTCLUBS: 37%

VEGAS CASINOS (NO CLUBS): 17%

NON-CALIFORNIA OR NEVADA BARS/CLUBS: 15%**

THAILAND: 14%***

AUSTRALIA: 15%

NON-ENGLISH-SPEAKING EUROPEAN COUNTRIES: 3%

POPULAR TOURIST SPOTS IN EUROPE (NON-SCANDINAVIA): 26%

SWEDEN/NORWAY: 31%

DENMARK: 40%

ICELAND: 52%

 

*This used to be a lot higher, and back in my Woody’s Wharf heyday (2007-2011), was as high as 22%, but I got older, and the girls stayed the same age, which has made me creepier.

**The chances are elevated from California because it probably means I’m on vacation, which changes my attitude considerately. Plus, girls tend to fuck traveling guys more—especially those from “Cali”–because there’s no strings attached and less next-day judgments.

***This doesn’t include prostitutes you sickos, just travelers, many of whom don’t speak English, making Thailand tougher than one might think.

But as you can see, Iceland is far and away the easiest place on the planet to have free, meaningless sex. Was I just lucky? Perhaps. There are many possible lurking variables that could factor into my calculations, but from what I’ve experienced from my sample size, this is how the numbers stand.

The following Monday, Naomi and I took our bruised bodies to the airport, and thirty hours later we walked into our respective homes back in California. Will Naomi and I ever travel together again? I don’t know. Things change—attitudes, opinions, lifestyles, circumstances. Time has a funny way of unwinding.

The only sad part about these trips is leaving, because deep down you know you’ll probably never get to experience that place again. While the money may always be there, time will not. And there are too many places I still want to see and experience. And even if I go back, it won’t be the same. It never is. All I can do is share this small piece of my life with you, hoping you can live it one day, perhaps better than I did. For now, I must move on. New journeys await.