Iceland has been a place where I have done a lot of things for the first time. I have dried laundry that was washed in the sink the night before on the dashboard of the car, I have stood on a glacier, I have peed on the side of the road way more times than I care to admit. Please, can someone in Iceland tell me where I’m supposed to go? It feels like my already small bladder becomes pea-sized when I get in the car (I’m guessing the Coca-Cola Light consumption doesn’t help) and there is no possible way I can wait the hundreds of miles, sorry, kilometers, between gas stations. I was very thankful I brought along my own toilet paper, although I wasn’t expecting to need it until Africa! I noticed men just going at the nice little “scenic view” or picnic areas you have along the road. But in an attempt to be a little more discreet, I try for less attractive stretches of road. There is always some sheep or horse, though, which does cause a little hesitation on my part. My bladder is little, but it’s also shy.
Today I had another “first.” Mom, Dad, please just know that if you are reading this, I’m fine, nothing happened, and yes, you did teach me better! Today, I picked up a hitchhiker. Before anyone panics, let me start by saying that he was a very cute guy, obviously a backpacker (I got that from the huge backpack he was lugging around, in case you were wondering) and fairly clean for someone standing on the side of the road hitching for a ride. Also, I would like to offer a lovely Iceland magnet for the fridge of whoever comments first that Jeffrey Dahmer was also an attractive guy. I know it’s coming! However, when I was reading up on the whole around the world travel thing I saw a lot of articles about how hitchhikers in other countries are not the dangerous rapists/serial killers we have grown to fear in the US. I also know a guy who hitchhiked from Chicago to the Keys and he seems harmless enough, so I’ve developed a soft spot. Anyway, I hesitated for a moment but decided it was a risk I was willing to take.
Mario (the very cute ITALIAN backpacker!) seemed relieved as he climbed in the car. Then a little surprised when I was American. He commented on our relatively unpleasant manner to hitchhikers and I told him I had just had that very same conversation in my head. He was traveling around Iceland, mostly hitchhiking, but occasionally on the bus that runs. It had taken him almost three weeks to get as far as I had in six days. He was definitely taking the scenic route! Iceland is his first stop and then he’s heading to Canada, the US and Mexico. He was nice. A little boring. While I certainly did not want to have an experience with a murderer I guess with all of the hitchhiker buildup I was hoping for something a little more exciting than Mario. Anyway, he got out at my next stop, thanked me for the ride and was on his way.