My second impulse (the correct one) was to bring him a warming gift: a bottle of Maker’s Mark I picked up at duty free in JFK. When I met him at the hotel, he seemed genuinely touched. “I’ll have to get you something, too,” he said.
We got into his hatchback to head to lunch and within five minutes we had Icelandic hip-hop playing -- a sound like something pulled from Fetty Wap circa 2015, but instead of a Jersey accent rapping, someone was spitting hard-edged rhymes (maybe?) in Icelandic. “He’s talking about how depressed he is,” Aðalsteinn said. “He’s saying, ‘I go to pour my cereal, but the milk is sour.’”
It’s not just rotting shark and booze while standing in frost. Apparently the first bite of the day is always hardcore in Iceland.
I consider myself a snoopy enough traveler, but on a two-day trip, I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere near this level of intimacy with this country without having someone waiting to greet me and answer my stupid questions. Here’s what I learned on my stopover with buddies at hand: