Locals in Iceland

Icelanders celebrating. What we don´t know. Pic Erin

It is truly a privilege to be an Icelander. In spite of our bankers being among the most stupidest in the whole wide world and a number of other folks as well, in spite of the people believing in trolls, elves and fairies and in spite of some of those people being fairies themselves Icelanders are especially welcomed the world over.

Team Total Iceland contends it is Icelanders themselves and not fancy marketing practices that make foreigners want to visit this barren island of ours. True, we do have astounding nature but that is not enough. If the locals were rude and obnoxious one would think twice about visiting in spite of fantastic natural sights. At the very least one would not recommend Iceland to friends. The weather is unpredictable, prices exorbitant and apart from the tours there really is not an awful lot to see or enjoy.

Yet, we do not smile and enjoy life much as people in the Caribbean for instance. We have a lot more and we worry not about food on table. No, our worries concern whether we can afford the latest Range Rover Evoque like Joe the Neighbor or if we should just say to hell with it all and spend the money on a cruise around the world. Really tough choices here.

We are world champions of credit cards. One can pay anything anywhere here with a Visa, Mastercard, Diners or whatever card strikes your fancy. Indeed, we use such cards much more AFTER the financial crash of 2008 when most everybody were suddenly exposed to owning nothing at all but debts. Go figure!

We truly believe the girls of Iceland are the most beautiful in the world and boast about it everywhere. Reason being three local girls made it far in a competition called Miss Universe back in the day. Also back in the day, an Icelander made a name for himself doing all kinds of heavy stunts in a Scottish competition nobody had ever heard of. Right away we were the strongest nation of people ever.

We have the cleanest air in the world according to most folks here. The water here is 100 per cent unpolluted say most, we are the most responsible fishing nation in the world not to mention our agricultural products being absolutely world class. Nobody mentions we share our air with everyone on the planet and the smog in Reykjavik can get Beijing-bad at times. Neither does anyone talk about most towns and villages dumping their excrement straight into the nearest stream or river. Yup, third word stuff but we still got the very best water it seems.

We do not even have to mention our bankers do we? They are so brilliant they should get a Nobel for something. Oh, and do not forget the vigilant politicians in Iceland. Guaranteeing bank deposits twelve times the size of the whole economy is just basic sound financial planning is it not?

What about the newspapers? Those guardians of democracy? Wholly owned by wealthy individuals and the major story each day is that some obscure newspaper in Bangladesh recommends visiting Iceland. If an Icelander farts in Tasmania it will make front page in Iceland. Did you know that a local hamburger king has opened six places outside of Iceland recently? Truly, breathtaking stuff. Not surprising considering the largest newspaper prefers people „with no experience“ to man the ship if local advertising is to be believed. At least they´re cheap and cheap staff is the foundation for a profit-making newspaper as we all know.

Meanwhile, the very same parties in charge before the huge financial crash are promising good times forever and getting elected too. Memory is not a local trait it seems.

But hey, at least we know how to stand our ground. We allow beer made from unknown whale excrement simply because the farmer-turned-minister of agriculture says so. Hell, we even allow whaling. Not because we make some bucks but because the one man responsible for ALL of Iceland´s whaling is rich and well connected. Russia anyone?

But we do have Icelandair. That gargantuan local company saved by the local folk when the smart bankers could not handle the debts anymore in 2008.

How does the company reward the local folks the rescue? By raising prices exorbitantly while targeting foreign customers. This is a company that got millions more in aid when the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew its top in 2010. The highly paid marketers of Icelandair were terrified this meant the end of tourism in Iceland. On the contrary, as all reasonably intelligent people should realize. A blowing volcano smack in the middle of Europe and USA will attract forever. So it has and will.

This is the company that seeks help from the government when its staff wants decent wages and threatens strikes. Sure enough, the same people responsible for the economic crash of Iceland right away ban all strikes ensuring the unhappiness of folks working for Icelandair.

In the meantime, the chairman of the board, himself fired from the respectable Finnair for corruption in 2012 is still the chairman of Icelandair. Corruption charge doesn´t matter it seems. Over same period the airline´s reviews on Tripadvisor, Virtual Tourist and Skytrax are falling faster than the stock of Enron. But no matter.

The airline uses very old aircraft and is indeed among the airlines in Europe using the oldest planes. This is plane to see, so to speak when flying with the airline. Decades of dust cannot be easily washed away can it.

The customer service is way awful as evidenced by falling reviews and facebook comments. It takes a second to book a flight but if you have a problem expect 6 to 8 weeks for an answer. That´s great response time for an American airline but in Europe we expect a tiny bit more.

But we´ll stop here. Total Iceland is hated enough 😉

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