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In which the little nationalistic heart CRINGES with embarrassment

I had a horrid dream last night. I was standing outside, here in Reykjavík, and looked up into the sky to see a huge jumbo jet taking off. It was flying at a remarkably low altitude, circled twice around, and then crashed to the ground. All I saw was the massive flames and smoke rising up from the scene. My prevailing thought – as it always is when I have dreams of planes crashing – was that I couldn’t believe this was happening.

Does anyone else have dreams like this? I seem to have them remarkably frequently. Well, not every other night or anything, but maybe once every 2-3 months. And I suppose they increase when there are horrifying plane crashes that just seem so close. And they’ve definitely increased post-9/11. It’s always the same thing – the plane can’t get off the ground and crashes, and each time I can’t believe it’s happening.

So imagine my fright today when I heard the loud drone of an airplane engine and I looked out the window to see an Icelandair jet coming in for a landing, VERY CLOSE to where I live – too close for comfort. And not only that but there were two – TWO – helicopters following it.

This was very scary. One, because Icelandair jets don’t normally land at Reykjavík City Airport unless there is something wrong – like if weather conditions at the international airport prevent it. Second, helicopters don’t hover around jets unless there is something VERY wrong. In fact, I always immediately associate helicopters with something serious, because that’s when we hear them here in Iceland: when the Coast Guard sends one out to fetch someone who is seriously ill or injured, or when there has been an accident. Third, because I sometimes dream of things that come true the next day.

I instantly logged on to mbl.is and soon discovered that my anxiety was unwarranted – the Icelandair jet heading for Reykjavík City Airport with two helicopters in two was just bringing home the fricking handball team.

F’rcryingoutloud!

OK, I wasn’t going to blog about this, I’d made a serious promise to myself not to, but – I must. I’m finding all this commotion surrounding this Olympic silver win a bit TOO tedious. First there was the whole Order of the Falcon business being thrust upon the team members the moment they bloody well set foot back in the country, and then there was this whole pomp and circumstance that was set up to welcome them home today. Much as my little nationalistic heart swelled with involuntary pride when they made it to the finals, I now find the whole thing BEYOND embarrassing. I caught a little bit of it live on TV and truly, it was painful. PAIIINNFUL!! They had this stage set up on Arnarhóll and this completely hapless master of ceremonies yelling his head off trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy for each member of the team that walked up onto the stage. He’d shout the first name and the last name, and then yell the first name even louder and before making the crowd yell just the last name … it was as contrived as can be and went on and on, for each member of the team. The team members then went up on the stage looking like they didn’t know what to do with themselves and had to kiss every last official standing there and I swear they had the entire government and Reykjavík city council up there.

Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that it cost us the Icelandic taxpayers a cool 5 million crowns [USD 60,000 / EUR 41,000] to send the Minister of Culture PLUS HER ENTOURAGE to Bejing TWICE [including her husband who just happens to be a former handball star; including the ministry’s Permanent Secretary and his wife* ]. Because, you know, she had to rush back over there for the finals, and so did her husband, and so did the permanent secretary. It wasn’t enough that they’d already been once, or to have our president and Dorrit over there, we had to have a few more VIPs waving flags. Folks, this is what you call corruption and squandering of public funds and yes, we have it in Iceland, despite our whitewashed outward appearance.

In any other civilized country she’d have to resign. Not so here in Iceland, where our politicians get away with murder [practically] and nobody cares.

It’s outrageous I tell you. Bah.

DO WE CARE ABOUT THE WEATHER?
No because we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. Showers today. Occasional sunny spells. Mild. Right now 9°C [48F], sunrise was at 5:56 am, sunset at 9:00 pm.

* ok – to be fair, the wife only travelled to Bejing once. [ONLY]

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  • Karen* August 28, 2008, 12:44 am

    Must have been really scarey, especially with that dream.

    Alda, I so miss Iceland. We have way way too many people over here.

  • Sonja August 28, 2008, 1:47 am

    I saw only a little part of that live broadcast, just 2 min. or so while they were riding down Laugarvegur with the crowd everywhere. Thanks for the warning, now I don’t have to worry about watching the rest of it.

    Karen, you would probably think twice if you saw that broadcast (which is still accessible on ruv.is) because downtown was so crowded that you could only see people and houses, every little square centimeter was covered with people.

    When I heard the Minister was going to China AGAIN I hoped she’d do the right thing and pay for it out of her own pocket. But of course not. I’m very disappointed in her. There was no need for her to be there. Up until now I’ve had a great respect for her.

  • Jon August 28, 2008, 2:05 am

    Greedy, needy, and self-serving. Politicians are the same worldwide. Why do we allow them?
    I really hate it when I have bad dreams. Reality is tough enough. I hope yours go away.

  • Keera August 28, 2008, 4:55 am

    Ah, I knew it. Norway is not a civilized country. Should our politicians fly out and back and then out again because we’d made a sports gold final we’d never thought we’d make, the Norwegian people would forgive the politicians every last penny of that unecessary expense. (Though there would be envious grumbling in the newspapers.)

    It’s SPORTS, Alda. It’s more important than food or sex.

  • Chris August 28, 2008, 9:25 am

    This “welcome party” was not so unexpected to me, when I read about it the first time. In fact, I would have been more surprised, when nothing like this would have happened.
    I am not so sure, if the minister comes easy out of this affaire, at least, I hope she will not. But this is always the same, first the do this things, when the public notices them they apologize and pay back the money. And of course everybody got it wrong.
    @Keera: I don’t agree with your last point 🙂

  • alda August 28, 2008, 12:00 pm

    Karen – listen to what Sonja says. And you do NOT have way too many people in Canadia. All that land!

    Sonja – I second your disappointment. Although I can’t say I was surprised. She’s an opportunist just like the rest of them.

    Jon – thanks. And alas, I fear we need public officials, although it would be good if they had scruples.

    Keera – so it’s the same in Norway?? EPI, when ranting about this yesterday, said something like: If this were to happen in another Nordic country they would resign immediately. Not so, huh?
    And thanks for the clarification via your last point. I’ll keep that in mind. Heh.

    Chris – if she paid back the money, I might reconsider my present opinion of her. But she won’t.

  • Djaddi August 28, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Yeah, I was wondering what they were gonna do on that stage by Árnarhóll. Not much, apparently!

  • sigga August 28, 2008, 5:39 pm

    This was a part of the reason I did not want them to win the gold – thought there would be too much hype, seems silver is enough! As for our dear minister… hmmm… I know that both she and her permanent secretary had more important issues to attend to and the money could certainly have been put to better use…

  • Kate August 28, 2008, 6:56 pm

    ufff…politicians… it’s a madhouse everywhere not to mention those back home bleh ! and these in my adopted country.
    Plane horror… scary indeed, me is just by Heathrow airport and my office under flight paths… so I have them every day.

  • JoeInVegas August 28, 2008, 7:59 pm

    What? You didn’t go down there and cheer on the team? I thought you liked Iceland.

  • RK August 28, 2008, 9:39 pm

    Hi Alda. I´ve been away from comments section for a while as its been an incredibly busy summer, but I always check in and read.

    Did you choose the picture of the hiding dog to go with the post? Because its very appropriate…

    I have to say Im glad to be away and fjarri góðu gamni this time. I think I might have to hide inside like doggie if I was home in RVK. Winning that thing was one thing – of course it was the guys in the handball team who won the medal – not the entire country of Iceland that did very little but sit on their behinds in front of tv watching, yelling and then partying. The reception at the airport was ok to me (although I dont see why they needed helicopters), so was the driving down Laugavegur (was it LV?) But the Falcon order and the stage at Arnarhóll… A bit too much. But now tonight Laugardalshöll??!! Its just so ungraceful to make all this fuss; smáborgaralegt. Its almost counteractive – like saying that it was a miracle that it happened. It wasn’t a miracle at all, just really hard work, commitment, dedication and determination that paid off for a bunch of guys playing handball. Thats all and thats a lot.

  • hildigunnur August 28, 2008, 9:57 pm

    heh, that Arnarhóll event was horrible, everyone says who watched it on TV, at least, not everyone that was there but I’ve heard those voices. I didn’t see any of it, was working, the family went out to Skólavörðustígur (just outside our house, basically) and watched the procession.

    The planes flew so close to our house that my husband, standing out on the front steps felt he could just reach up and stroke the belly of the jet. Pretty sure the 500 ft rule wasn’t upheld there.

  • alda August 28, 2008, 10:04 pm

    Djaddi – oh, it was so embarrassing. Cringe.

    sigga – amen.

    Kate – power corrupts. Or something like that.

    Joe – see, that’s one thing I have SUCH a hard time getting my head around – that sports = nationality thing. Yes, I love my country … but I don’t equate my national identity with some team winning a medal or not. It’s just beyond me.

    RK – hi! No I didn’t deliberately choose the dog – that picture rotates automatically every time you log on … hadn’t you noticed?
    Glad you concur – I seem to be one of only a few people in the country who isn’t losing it over this whole handball homecoming business. All the Icelandic bloggers are gushing about it. There’ s so much pressure to be super enthusiastic that I know people who have been afraid to state their views at work for fear of being branded anti-nationalistic. Someone even compared yesterday’s hype to the Hitler Youth rallies. It’s a recognized tactic – when the government is making a mess of the economy etc. they do stuff to try to divert the attention and whip the mob in to a fury. It’s alarming!
    Yes, meeting the team at the airport would have been fine IF it had been at Keflavík. But no – they landed, let regular passengers off the plane, then flew the jet to Reykjavík with the team. The procession was down Skólavörðustígur. I have no idea what they’re doing in Laugardalshöll this evening – it’s total overkill and I try to avoid the reports as much as I can. Bleh.

  • alda August 28, 2008, 10:05 pm

    hildigunnur – shhh! Don’t say it too loud or they’ll come and get you! 😉

  • Sirry August 29, 2008, 1:58 am

    I have dreams about planes crashing ALL the time. Ever since I was a little girl. I’ve gotten so good at it, that I can tell what continent it’ll happen and if people will survive or not. I realized this when I was about 11 and there was a plane that came down in Sweden and everyone survived. I dreamt 9/11
    It’s quite something when you get to be able to figure out where, when and if there’ll be survivors.
    If you have such premonitions, you could probably tap into much more than you realize 🙂
    I actually work as a medium…so there goes.

    All I can say about the politicians…and excuse my French…Flippin Assh****! They should all be hung on a rope upside down till they choke! Oh well *shrugs* when will it ever change.
    I wonder what happens to honesty once they come into power.

  • Moi August 29, 2008, 6:32 am

    I think Canada’s useless politicians also spend more than their fair share. Like Adrienne Clarkson. WAY more than her fair share :D. And they always get away with it.

  • alda August 29, 2008, 10:54 am

    Sirry – have you thought of warning someone when you have a premonition about a plane crashing?? – sounds like a scary talent to have. And yes, I could likely cultivate this ‘seer’ aspect of myself, but … not sure I want to.

    Toi – Always. But – isn’t Adrienne Clarkson your Gov. General? So not a politician … (pedantics, I know).

  • Brian August 29, 2008, 6:31 pm

    I too have had dreams of either witnessing from afar or first hand a plane crash (usually when they are taking off). I have these dreams ALL the time as well, and in the dreams, i feel the same way, that i cant believe it is happening. Not sure what it means but i definately have them. I dont think 9/11 really changed the frequency of them as they have been fairly steady throughout my adult life.

  • Sirry August 30, 2008, 8:40 pm

    I absolutely would give people heads up, if I knew anyone traveling on a plane and I had the slightest sense there might be danger. I believe that’s why we’ve been given these gifts. What’s the point of ignoring them. I see it as a small sign from ‘other beings’ keeping us posted.

    In regards to the plane crash you dreamt. It’s very simple, you dream that it happend in Reykjavik, which is extremely significant. Also you dreamt a jumbo. There’s only one airline in Niceland that has jumbo jets, and that airline does a lot of charter flights to destinations like the Canary Islands and beach resorts.
    So when you dream like this, you actually have much more control and power in your dreams than you realize. It takes some practice. You can ask questions, and move up in time, and go to the past. There is no space and time in the ‘Dream World’ and it’s a place where so many answers come to us.

    A friend of mine the other day, had nightmares and couldn’t sleep. She does the same work as I do. The morning after her nightmares, she said to her fiancé, please be careful today, please don’t die on me today.
    He went to work and there was a power outage because of a thunderstorm. He works for a photo company that takes pictures off people when they come down roller coasters. Because of the power outage, he decided to climb up the roller coaster as it had been shut down and the park had been shut down. There was nobody watching the roller coaster at all, so he thought he’d be safe.
    Only to realize that when he was 20 feet up in the air reseting the cameras (where the roller coaster is completely vertical) he suddenly hears and sees the roller coaster come right at him, full speed. He had no choice but to jump.
    He’s lucky, he only had extreme bruising and some internal injuries. No broken bones or damage to the spine.

    This only proves his fiancée knew something was wrong but she couldn’t pin point exactly what it was.
    I say, always listen and pay attention to your dreams, it’s a fascinating world 🙂