(16) Grazing ground
It was still an Ice and Fire trip, though Mrs. Bento and Ginger missed visiting any volcanoes in Iceland for fire, and any glaciers for ice in the must see list. First of all, both of them are not really the outdoor type, they lacked suitable clothes and gear for a trip that called for adventure. And second, they only had a week there and stayed mostly in the capital city Reykjavik, where they had more than enough to do. They stayed in a centrally located B&B in the centre and passed by the famous Lutheran parish church Hallgrímskirkja almost everyday. Ginger had taken so many pictures of this church at different times, night and day, sunshine and moonshine. They'd avoided that one day when it rained, by taking a small tour bus to the Golden Circle and a natural hot spring, so no rainy picture of Hallgrímskirkja.
The mini-bus tour guide/driver Jacob was thirtyish, witty and enthusiastic. He wore Viking hairstyle, with medium curly black hair atop his head and neatly shaved sides showing off some amazing tattoos. He would lead this small group of eight to explore the Golden Circle, and within a day's trip, visit the "Big Three": Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring area. In the Secret Lagoon, the oldest geothermal pool in Iceland, the Bentos enjoyed soaking themselves in nature for the very first time in their life.
Iceland is also known for bird watching. A major stop-over for migratory birds that fly tirelessly from continent to continent, without the help jet power. Beyond doubt all living organisms strive in good and suitable conditions, and would naturally change course again and again for greener pastures. Jacob is originally from Iceland, immigrated to the US as a young boy and grew up there. In recent years, when tourism in Iceland began to boom, he sought to return home for a better future. This small tour bus company he set up two years ago proves to be a success, and business has been burgeoning!
Truly it seems harder and harder in the well-developed countries to find good paying jobs, thought Mrs. Bento. She recalled a friend Sang, whom she'd known from the seventies, swam from Gwongzhou, the largest city in Southern China, to Hong Kong, just to escape the Communist regime. For a while he lived a free life, got married and had children. The family later immigrated to Canada, supposedly living the "American dream" life. However Sang was not happy, the income came too small, and too slow, the tax too high. He eventually flew back to China in the year 2000, making sure he could still get on the economic fast train. He has been making a very well-off living then and after a few years, the daughter and son joined him. What a circle game! sighed Mrs. Bento. Ginger told her mom that her schoolmate Jenn, who is from the Philippines also went back to her home country. She could find a better job there.
"Would you go back to Hong Kong Ginger?" asked Mrs. Bento, obviously not for the first time. Ginger shook her head and said impatiently, "No mom, not to settle there. How many times do I have to tell you, I cannot stand the sticky hot weather, the mountains of people, and most of all the talking of how much money one can make a day. It will drive me crazy in the long run. It'll be alright if I'm just visiting."
This response from Ginger always puzzles Mrs. Bento. So many young Hong Kongese want to come to Canada. After settling down for a short time they are yearning to go back. In their newly adopted land they find it struggling to get into main stream culture, equally hard to get a decent and satisfactory job. Most of them arrived with the dream of pursuing an affluent lifestyle, which they simply couldn't find. Are they bad horses for returning? Will they come back again once their grazing grounds become battle grounds? For Mrs. Bento, her day dream is to take good care of her husband, Ginger and their tuxedo cat Cigar. Her night dream is a good deep sleep. The B&B is the grassland they graze on, and with that she is able to live momentarily in a home-made paradise.
At the end of their Icelandic journey Mrs. Bento and Ginger bought a fluffy vintage wool ram from the Arbaer Open Air Museum they visited by local bus. Ginger suggested to put it on top of the smart tv, so the whole family can see it in the evenings when they have dinner. They even named the ram Mosi, after the children story Treasure Iceland by the author Sigridur Asta Arnadottir.