Monday, 8 September 2008

Lesson #1: Geologists Walk Quickly

I've come back from 5 days of touring around southern Iceland. It was with the department of natural sciences at the university so it was scientific but it's the cheapest 5 days of touring I think I will ever get. We went to Skaftatell National Park, where we hiked to see Selfoss and outlets of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Iceland. We went on a glacial lagoon boat tour and to some pretty remote areas. We went into the highlands, to Landmannalaugur and all the sights in the Golden Circle.

It was all good, but the most interesting thing was the cultural experience. For the first time in my life, I was the only native English-speaking North American and also the only Asian (I hate using the term 'Asian' but seriously what else can I use, "Oriental Person" to categorize someone not from the west?)

People's native languages were all different, but they were all communicating effectively all thanks to English. They would sometimes ask me how a term was used or the spelling of a word. They would also have never heard of a technical term such as "chisel". It felt really weird though because long after the British Empire has fallen, the legacy of Imperialism has really left its mark. First, with them all speaking in English but also with me, a person who has Chinese blood but Canadian nationalism, telling Europeans how to spell English words. It was definitely surreal.

Then there was this one guy from Dijon in France who seemed really proud of the town's namesake mustard. He's like, "You know Dijon? Everybody knows the mustard from Dijon." and then some other girl tried explaining to someone else in the group was mustard was, so she started saying, "You know the hot dogs that you eat?" and then the French guy cuts in, "Oh no, that's definitely not mustard from Dijon." And then after about 10 more minutes telling everybody how delicious Dijon mustard is, he says, "But I don't like mustard."

Also, two people were incredibly fascinated by the sweet potato that we had to cook for dinner.

I'm sorry if this post sounds racist in a quasi sort of way, but I have never encountered this kind of experience in my life and might never again.

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