breaded haddock.

i had dinner with my mom a couple of nights ago. she cooked one of my favorite iceland meal. breaded haddock and potatoes. this is served with a wedge of a lemon to squeeze over the haddock and a dollop of remoulade. it takes me back to dinnertime when i was a kid. sitting in the old kitchen, listening to the evening news on the radio and mom and dad preparing dinner.

incidentally, haddock was also the topic in the next day's conversations with two informants. one of them is a captain on a freezer trawler managed by one of the bigger fisheries here. the other one manages his own vessel, a small net trawler, perhaps about a third of the size of a freezer trawler.

the quota for haddock this year is on par with redfish, around 50 thousand tonnes. this amount is exceeded only by the quota for cod; around 119 thousand tonnes. haddock is a go-to fish in most icelandic homes, and it was a nasty surprise to be told by both captains that it appears that the haddock is not doing so well. it might sound selfish, but i would be very sad if i couldn´t continue eating breaded haddock in the future.

the only "official" information i have found on the status of haddock is that greenpeace has placed it on the "seafood red list", meaning that because it is so very commonly eaten, not just in iceland, we need to be mindful of the fisheries we get it from.

that seems reasonable and echoes the concerns of the captains. the cod has been such a focus for preservation efforts, one said, that we've all but forgotten that the haddock needs some TLC as well. it'll be interesting to see what the marine research institute decides for the quota allocation for next year.


a ridiculous shade of blue

the last few days have been gray and gloomy weather-wise. today was a welcome change and the sky was just an incredible shade of blue. i've not seen this shade anywhere else than in iceland. coupled with a light breeze and smell of blóðberg (not sure what it is in english, creeping thyme?) it was just a beautiful day.

this is a part of the house where i´m staying. (for the scandinavia-philes the name of the house is the same as pippi longstocking´s house in icelandic. so far i´ve not encountered monkeys, so i think the comparison ends there, sadly)



my fieldsite this summer is a small fishing town on the southwest peninsula of Iceland. population 3000-ish. As an example of the "smallness", every time a driver passes by someone he/she knows, they honk. every time.

it is quite charming and friendly, and it is obvious that my arrival has been noticed.

i am currently staying at a b & b, the red house on the picture. unfortunately my room is right next to the bathroom, so i know all the comings and goings of my fellow lodgers, a group of german tour guides in training. this is their base camp. from here they will be touring the country, to learn the routes they will then take tourists on later this summer.

so far fieldvisits and interviews have gone super well. i was really pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and helpful everyone is here. lucky me!

it is a really laid back town and i am loving the quiet.
last night i took a walk, picked a random street and walked until the street ended. it literally just ended, and all of a sudden i am standing in the middle of a lava field. if i'd walked in the other direction i would have ended up in the ocean.

the majority of the houses seem to be 1 family, with 1 or 2 cars parked out front. everything is super neat, no trash on the sidewalks. it is almost minimalist, even the gardening here is minimalist. a patch of grass, surrounded by hedges and the occasional tree. i can't imagine the soil here being super rich in nutrients, probably very salty if anything. here and there you see remnants of decorations for last weekend's town festival - the festival of the fishermen.

the fisherman's day is celebrated all over the country on the first weekend in june in Iceland, i believe. traditionally the festivities include speeches, honoring old fishermen, and perhaps a sporting event, where crews from different vessels compete in rope-tow, walking on buoys and other sea-themed things.

however, this town has in the past few years extended the celebration over four days, complete with rock concerts, pony rides and other less fishing related events. each neighborhood in town is even assigned a theme colour, in which everyone decorates their house, car and front yard. it is super cool to see how invested everyone is in this festival, i wonder if it supersedes the national day (june 17.) in attendance - i guess i´ll find out for myself tomorrow.


in which i write a post.

on friday i got to hang out with two 8 year olds. both their names are robert. which is convenient for an old fart (hahaFART!haha) like me. makes life easy.

we went on a treasure hunt - which consisted of me making "tasks" up as we went along and making up the point value of each completed task. we even kept track. and somehow everyone ended up making the _exact_ same points. funny how that works.

in any case. my favorite memory from this treasure hunt was probably the moment depicted. the roberts were looking for white rocks. which, as it turns out, is actually kinda hard downtown hafnarfjordur. one of them spotted a white rock under this structure - kind of like an outdoors-stage for summer concerts and performances and all things merry and fun.

so, being that this was a treasure hunt and that there were points at stake... well...they literally just started squeezing themselves under the stage. until one of them kind of got his head stuck.

it wasn't stuck for very long.

just about long enough to make my heart skip a beat or two or three and for my mind to go off like a race car. i had flashes of the kid being stuck and the fire department coming over using their jaws of life, the mother standing by hysterically sobbing, and husband explaining to a newsreporter that really, "she seemed trustworthy, we'd never ask her to take care of our child if we didn't trust her..."

funny how our minds go much much faster than time, eh?

in any case, the kid managed to squirm loose, my heart began beating again and, more importantly: they found the damn rocks.