Returning from an evening swim 'n soak in the pool at Laugardalur, my footsteps led me into Bolstaðarhlið, the street of my guesthouse. It was only a few degrees Centigrade, but the nearly constant wind of the day had finally died down; it was really quite pleasant. I was toasty inside, of course- the hot pots did their work well, and I was probably a bit over-dressed.
The apartments on either side of the street around me had balconies, from one such svalir came the sound of conversation. It was a man and a woman, in an argument. It was loud enough to echo back from the buildings across the street, the Icelandic they spoke made even more indecipherable with the confusion from the multiple reflections of their voices. As I neared their flat I couldn't help but glance up at the source of the commotion. An attractive couple, in evening wear, in heated discussion. The patio doors were wide open. I was by now accustomed to the fresh air habits of the natives (my first morning in the guesthouse I took breakfast in a dining room with a patio door open to a fresh snowfall.) The woman looked down and saw me on the sidewalk below and after a terse comment to her adversary they went inside, still leaving the door wide open.
Cultural immersion of a different sort, I suppose. Feeling as if I was watching a Ingmar Bergman movie without subtitles, perhaps they were actors rehearsing a play? I continued on down the street, finally reaching #8 where I entered and returned to my room. I was the stranger—an interloper—passing through a scene not intended for my eyes or ears, grasping only the visceral sense of it, the details lost to me in my ignorance of the Icelandic language.