So the Icelandic men’s handball team has now made it to the semi-finals at the Olympics and the first game in the round is today. We’re playing against Spain and the entire nation is set to grind to a halt – events have been postponed, businesses and organizations have planned special viewings for all the staff [at EPI’s work they’re ordering pizza] with the game being projected up on screens, etc., and the largest cinema operator in the country will be showing the game in two of its theatres with the largest screens – free to the public. Did I mention we’re kind of excited?
See, this is what happens when a nation of 300,000 people, which moreover suffers from small-nation complex, has a chance to shine on the world stage. Even though 99.8 percent of the world’s population has never heard of handball … hell, we don’t care. It’s our national sport and we’re damn well going to watch “our boys” [yes, that’s really what they’re called] take the gold!
Incidentally, Iceland has never won a gold metal at the Olympics [we’ve won lots at the Small-Nation Olympics, though … wait, you didn’t know there was such a thing as the Small-Nation Olympics? well, there is], but we did win a silver metal once, and we’ve won two bronze metals. USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor both did cute stories on this a couple of days ago, if you’re interested.
True to form, our President Ólafur Ragnar met with the Chinese prez this morning and they slapped each other on the back a few times and chanted mutual-admiration mantras. Meanwhile Fréttablaðið had a story yesterday about two old women in their late 70s, one of whom is virtually blind and lame, being sentenced to two years in a Chinese labour camp. Their offense? They applied – APPLIED – to protest in one of the three designated protest areas in Peking. Yes, these are protest areas that the Chinese government promised to set up in the event that they were awarded the Olympics. People who intended to protest anything had to apply for a permit, and so far, not a single permit has been granted. Several applicants, however, have been arrested – including the 77- and 79-year old women now sentenced to labour camps.
OVERCAST BUT CALM AND THREATENING TO RAIN
That’s how it looks outside right now. It rained buckets yesterday and it’s set to do the same today … and for the next few days, apparently. Bad news for those planning to run the Reykjavík Marathon tomorrow, not to mention all of us planning to hit the town for Menningarnótt [culture night] tomorrow. Ah well. I guess there are such things as umbrellas. And hoods. Right now 12°C [54F], sunrise was at 5:41 am, sunset due for 9:17 pm.