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The Swearing Swedes

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about rafting in Iceland has been the opportunity to meet people from all over Europe. We take a regular mix of Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, Danish, Dutch, English, and Spanish aside from the Icelanders that make up roughly sixty percent of the business. I’d have to say I’ve enjoyed meeting the Scandinavians and Dutch the most, probably because the communication barrier doesn’t really exist. I’ve found these nationalities to be friendly and have an incredible mastery of English. By the time kids are in high school they are fluent in conversational English and young adults rarely need to search for the appropriate word to fill their thought. It’s getting to the point where young Scandinavians hardly even have accents. Swedes and Dutch are quick to start up a conversation and seem genuinely inquisitive. Whatever they are doing in their school systems is working. They do, however, also swear like Nepalese raft guides.

A group of 13 year Swedish girls spent most of their trip shouting “oh my fucking God.” My favorite was a Dutch family; mom, dad, and their 12 and 13 year old sons. You can imagine my surprise when upon tripping into the raft at the starting point the youngest boy belts out a hearty “oh fuck”. My ears perk up and I flash the mom an apprehensive glance.

“What did he just say?” I ask.

“I think he said ‘oh fuck,’” says mom with a look that acknowledges my curiosity regarding his choice of words. She doesn’t seem too concerned and during the course of the trip drops a couple “oh shits” and f-bombs herself.

One of the keys to Northern Europe’s mastery of English comes from the fact that they don’t dub over English movies so they have endless opportunity to practice listening. The point I’ve only recently considered is that our Hollywood titles are so littered with expletives that this manner of speech seems normal to non-native speakers. So basically “fuck yeah Scandinavians speak great English.”

The Cinnamon Challenge 2007

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Can YOU eat a spoonful of cinnamon straight up? I bet you can’t.

First Mr. Doyle-Kelly gives it a go.


It doesn’t end well.

 

I’m next.

Then little Karu dazzles us with his deep throat action.

He wins.

Jesus saves…beer cans

Monday, August 13th, 2007
Jesus preaches to the masses Jesus carries a heavy load Jesus blesses YOU! ... [Continue reading this entry]

Danny’s big day off

Friday, August 10th, 2007
We've been working hard. I haven't had a day off in six weeks. We either go rafting or work in the shop fixing our aging dry suits in a haze of toxic glue fumes. When Maggi or ... [Continue reading this entry]

Verslunarmannahelgi

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Verslunarmannahelgi

No I´m not typing erradically, this is actually an Icelandic word (one of the three I know) that describes the big party weekend in early August.  It´s Monday evening ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Russian Extravaganza: Three days on the East Glacial River

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

The East Glacial River (Austari-Jökulsá)

The East Glacial River is a blast to raft and pumps just big enough to give kayakers a run for their money too. It is one of the best rivers in Europe and definitely ... [Continue reading this entry]