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September 05, 2005

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?

Did you say $80 for adults and $50 for children just to eat a buffet dinner? Yes, I am sure there are those of you who still don't believe that Iceland is extremely expensive, so here is another example!

Yesterday afternoon we went to Keflavik to this supposed festival. It looked quite exciting and happening, but when we got there it was mostly a bunch of kids with these weird mouth whistles that made the worst noise possible. Especially if you have a raging sinus headache due to a raging sinus infection (yes, you can get them here!).

As soon as we got close to the rides, it started to rain. While the kids were dressed warmly, sitting down in a sopping wet seat is just not their (or my) idea of a good time. Caitlin was hungry and we realized it was close to dinner time.

One pizza place was jammed full so we tried the restaurant we visited last time. All was well, even as they said it was buffet only. Okay, until they told us the price of the buffet was $80 per adult and $50 per child. My kids don't eat $50 worth of food in a week! Even more depressing was the fact that many people had taken them up on their offer.

Now, one might say, well, of course, Iceland has a great economy! Well, not really. From what we understand inflation is terribly high and most people could not live without their credit cards. Not as in having temporary needs (home improvements, etc.), as in, could never (never) live without them.

So, we are basically down to 1-2 nights out a week. Yes, that is good for the budget, but in case I haven't mentioned, Iceland is extremely insular and quite, well, lonely at times. Since we are so far from the base we have met few people there. More importantly, the embassy here is tiny. TINY. There are 11 Americans working here and only 3 of them have families.

I honestly have a hard time saying this is a good family post. The weather for most of the summer has absolutely stunk. Fifty-five degrees and windy with rain is not my idea of a great time. A bag of produce that would cost you $5 at the farmer's market runs about $30 at the local market (and doesn't always look that great). And, the lack of play areas for children is amazing.

So, we are still trying to figure out what to do. There is plenty to do here if you are on a limited schedule, but living here full-time is making us wonder what on earth people do much of the time. So many places close at 6 p.m. One mall does make an exception and stays open til 9 p.m. on Thursday! Unfortunately, there is not much to do at the mall. One can't buy clothes or shoes without taking out a home equity loan and they don't seem to have much else.

Restaurants, bars and nightclubs are the only places that generally stay open past 6 p.m. Given that we have a 7 year old and a 3 year old, they are not really options for us. We did want more family time, but were hoping not to have to spend every minute of it at home.

Sigh, tips anyone?


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