Friday, June 6, 2014

A Full Day of Learning... WITH A TWIST!

Don't be stupid: read the first post so that you get the context of the blog! Last warning, amigos (and general readers)!

Day 3

Another bright and early morning! But I, again, woke up too late to enjoy breakfast, so I scarfed down some Cheerios and ate a cake slice in the bus. It was strawberry. It was mediocre. It barely filled me. It. It. It.

Actually, we got up too early (there's such a thing!) because we got to the geothermal power plant before it had even opened... I was angry that I didn't get to eat more Cheerios. :( Eventually, they opened, and we had a little lecture on geothermal energy and the plant itself. Then we had a splendid little tour of the facilities, where we got to be intellectual and ask all sorts of fancy questions. One of the strange things that we learned was that the equipment wasn't all Icelandic. Much of it was created in Japan and installed by Japanese employees who now come every number of years to check the equipment. We praise Icelanders for their renewable energy usage, but I'd imagine any settlers of this land would've done the same. This just goes to show that a lot of a civilization's success is based off the land from which it must grow and has little to do with a race's innate gift or intelligence (Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, baby! Speaking of which, I need to go read Collapse... and watch The Sandlot). Here's me attempting to be intellectual:

I swear I asked something smart. It might've been about maintenance of the facilities (down time, staffing, effect on the grid, etc.)? PC: Paige McIlroy
After taking a group picture, we bounced. PC: Paige McIlroy
After the geothermal power plant, we moved on to a small hydroelectric plant. It is currently offline due to a pipe failure and there are ongoing debates on whether or not its worth the money to get the facility up and running. It's very small and old and the output wasn't very large, but it was definitely worth touring to see the equipment up close and personal. All of this equipment was in one large room!
Whoa. PC: Justin McKay

Such turbine. Much power. Wow. PC: Justin McKay
Philippe checking out those belts! PC: Justin McKay

After the little hydroelectric facility, we went straight for Reykjavik University to work on our capstone projects, eat lunch, and then have a lecture on hydroelectric energy! Once edumucated, we toured the University, which took place primarily underground the facilities (it was like a crazy labyrinth)!

Now this is where a lot of people began to panic. We were told that we'd be going to a public pool, which can be found in any Icelandic city (you need to learn how to swim if you live on an island). Actually, we were warned that we were going to a public pool. Why warned? Because we'd be required to strip down, butt nekkid, and shower, butt nekkid, with everyone else before being allowed into the pool. This is apparently a European thing in general, but Icelanders don't want sweaty people hopping into their pools since they (the pools) are not overly chlorinated. To combat sweat, everyone is required to shower before hopping in. How will they catch you? By watching you. There was a guy in a little office in the shower area who could see everyone in their full glory. Bizarre, but necessary (arguable...). After dealing with the situation like an adult and learning to really enjoy locking onto people's faces and nothing else, I went out to the pools (in my basketball shorts since I had no trunks to bring for the trip). For whatever reason, I chose not to ride down the super awesome water slides and instead indulged in the hot tubs, including a salt water hot tub! Fun fun!

After getting out, drying off, and getting dressed, we ventured off to a hostel/restaurant/bar called KEX. Here's where part of the title of my blog comes from: after a delightful main (and only) course of fishies and mash potaties with some sprinkled whatevers, we got into our randomized groups from the first day and did BATTLE... with Icelandic/GREEN trivia. However, this wasn't just any ol' trivia game. No no. According to Mumi, one of our guides, it was trivia... "with a twist!" Yes, he has an Icelandic accent which made the phrase stick out some ("tweest" instead of "twist"), but I believe it was the sheer number of times that he used the phrase "with a twist," to remind us that the activity isn't just your standard trivia game, which made it stick in my mind. Apparently, it stuck in the minds of everyone else too!

Oh, right, the twist: we'd do battle against the other teams in non-question form (limbo, arm wrestling, twerk off, etc.) after every seven or so questions and the "reward" for winning these battles could be handed off to another team or kept for your own team. The twist was that you'd never "want" the reward. The first winners received shots... of fish oil. The second group got a goat head to eat? After that, I stopped paying attention and started going around chatting with everyone because I was enjoying the unique Icelandic brews as a responsible, dignified 21 year old. :) Actually, I know that fermented shark was passed around at some point, which was probably one of the rewards, because I tasted it. The only taste that it reminds me of is when I'm very sick and my mouth tastes like bacteria... plus a smokey taste... To each their own!

During the last competition, an employee from KEX stormed in and told us, "the party is over" since we overstayed our welcome (we were supposed to leave at 12 AM and it was 12:15 AM (gasp)). So we hopped on the bus, made it to Hotel Hlid, and continued the fun there! Everyone went to sleep at varying times, but no one went to sleep disappointed with the evening. :)

Quality Picture of the Day (too bad this isn't Quality VIDEO of the Day...):

YAY FOR FRIENDS! Apparently, I'm a bit heavy. PC: Mary Johns

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