Saturday, June 7, 2014

Poof, Woosh, Zap, Oink, Snap, Neigh, and More!

Day 5

Breakfast at 8 AM. Not bad. That first day of 6:45 AM really made the other breakfast times seem manageable. Good thinking, Adam.

The first stop today was at Geysir. No, not a Geysir, just Geysir. It is from this Geysir where all other geysers got their distinction as geysers (though spelled incorrectly, it seems). There were a bunch of little hot pools around the area, but there was just one big poofy geyser. Aside from the bits of exploring I did with Matt Roveto (Physics homie and Rex Kwon Do graduate), the video below sums up my fun with the geyser. Oh, and as a note: I refer to the geyser as a "slut" at the beginning of the video, even though I am well aware that it exhibits none of the required features of a slut. Apologies to anyone who might take offense to this blunder.

Here's the link, since Blogger is a piece of garbage:

Then we went off to Gullfoss, a super huge and pretty waterfall! I believe there are ongoing debates as to whether or not the falls should be used for hydroelectric energy, and after seeing Gullfoss for ourselves, the entire bus agreed the falls should be preserved. Vedis, one of our guides, was very proud of the unanimity in the group. :) Here are just a few pictures:
PC: Justin McKay



PC: Justin McKay
After those beautiful sites, we made a stop at a different kind of beauty: the local Bonus supermarket. For whatever reason, the supermarket's mascot is a pig, but this ain't no ordinary pig. No, siree. It's drunk. Cracked out. Injected with some sort of delirium-inducing hormone that causes it to look deranged. Just look for yourself:
I break down laughing when I see the bag with this pig on it in my room. <3 PC: Internet, yo.
It is here that I made a very poor decision: I purchased a swiss roll. Now, if I was at my local Asian bakery in California, I might have received what I expected, which is a light, fluffy sponge cakey dealy. I instead received a brick disguised as a cake. It didn't give when I picked it up in the middle. Normal cake would break in half if I tried to pick it up like that... It will take me a few days to finish. The group came up with a name for this sad excuse for a dessert item: the ShiTwinkie. If that doesn't make sense, I'd prefer not to elaborate in order to keep the blog as PG as possible. Here I am attempting to consume this monstrosity on the bus:

Did I really pay 800 ISK (a little under $8) for this... thing? PC: Paige McIlroy
For lunch, we went to a little place that served us a really creamy, mushroomy soup that was made with locally grown ingredients. It was tasty, but not very filling. OH WELL~! As the super poser sticker on the back of my binder has said since middle school: Don't Let No One Get You Down (double negatives for days).

Once filled with soupy goodness, we went on to a huge hydroelectric plant where we 1) got to go through a little visitor's center and play a hydroelectric management game, as well as learn fun stuff about renewable energy; and 2) tour the facilities. The game involved controlling which of the dams in the series were opened to select how much power would be created at each power plant. Either the game was buggy, or we were all severely incompetent engineers because we could never beat the high score when we were tackling the game with 20 or so people at a time... Walking through the facilities was, to me, much more exciting for the huge plant than for the smaller plant that we saw the other day. I think the size of the operation is what caught my attention, and the "DO NOT TOUCH" warning that we were given made everything seem more important. Pictures were allowed so here are some that I took:

The view from outside! We asked about the symbols and the guide didn't know what they were...

I believe this was spinning the turbine below us. This was a "DO NOT TOUCH" thing.

There goes at least 50 cubic meters of water per second under our feet (I could be wrong, but that's what my memory banks say).
Since we were "done" for the day, we mosied on to the bus to head to a waypoint to meet with the super jeeps that would be taking us down the off-road path to the campgrounds. While driving, we lost a tire on the bus. This event was miraculously recorded by Dani Moskowitz and is presented here with his gracious permission:

Once we got the tire back on with only three of the six bolts (I think that's what the doohickies are called) since the other three were lost or fractured, we made it to the waypoint and transferred to the super jeeps. We lost another tire on the trailer that our super jeep was pulling, so another jeep came back to bring another trailer for us to pull. Here's the gang after we reloaded the new trailer:

Team Magma and [insert other super jeep's team name here] UNITE! PC: Amalia Martinez
And with that, no more disasters occurred. The strange thing is that these mishaps didn't feel disastrous at all. They were just part of the fun. In the video, you see that everyone was excited about the lost tire on the bus. Same thing for the trailer tire. That's one of the great aspects of this group: nothing gets us down. It gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs, look at some ductile fracture, and pet some horses! Here's Saucey Rossy (Ross Weber) taking full advantage of these opportunities:

When we got to the campgrounds, we were told to remove our watches and forget about keeping time for the next two days. We played a little game to decide who would get to sleep in the tents, as opposed to the cabins, since we didn't have enough for everyone. You know you've got a good group of kids when you're playing a game that rewards you with a spot outside in a tent. <3 We played lots of Frisbee and Never Have I Ever as the appropriately aged individuals had their alcoholic beverages, and a good night was had by all, especially when our guides whipped out their instruments and played the night away. Nobody knows when we went to sleep since we weren't allowed to keep time, but it didn't matter. Iceland is so great <3

Quality Picture of the Day (I think Saucey wins, but since I have to post one of myself...):

Trying to figure out how the GoPro works. PC: AJ Loudermilk... since it's his GoPro?

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