Monday, June 16, 2008

'Car Days' in Akureyri

After our sojourn to the small towns of Husavik (population 2500) and Reykjahlið (pop 210), we returned to 'the capital of Iceland's North' - Akureyri on Saturday afternoon.

We got into town and began a trek to the great guesthouse we'd stayed at before. There was a much livelier vibe in the street than Wednesday had held. Soon a pickup outfitted with speakers blaring radio ad babble moved slowly through the streets, moving by us on cross streets. When they passed on our street, we could see that they were promoting N3 - a local DJ act playing as part of the Festival and giving out bottles of a soft drink called "Ri Mix" - punny name. Free is rare in Iceland, so we both took a bottle and the truck moved on in the same direction we were headed.

In the main road adjacent to the river there were the loud noises of revving engines and crowds of young revelers. Through the fencing we saw pairs of cars drag racing. We later found that this was Akureyri´s 'Car Days´. The racers were a variety of 'tricked out' street cars of all makes and models - some were more obvious money pits than others. As we passed the road and stood on the bridge that overlooked the line of pending dragsters, we saw a rag tag collection of amateurs - including a number of the style of mid size
luxury SUVs popular in the US! Alright, I can envision a few of my students borrowing Mom's car and drag racing down the Palma Sola Causeway, but standing outside one of these cars was a middle aged man in too tight jeans and a leather racing jacket, strapping on a helmet.

A quick glance through the line of a dozen pending dragsters, I could see that everyone had a helmet on - glad to know that safety comes first.

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