As we approached the start of our annual trip to foreign lands, we were excited that the mask mandate for airplane flights was ending the day before our departure. We did not believe the Biden Administration would be foolish enough to extend it; then they did. We were thoroughly dejected. Then we met Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. And we were exultant.
There were two reasons we were so happy. People being required to wear masks on airplanes is the ultimate act of bureaucratic overreach. Airplanes are the safest place you can be with the best and cleanest recirculated air you can experience. Victory for common sense and science. The second reason we were happy is that it set the Left into a tizzy of gargantuan proportions. They attacked Judge Mizelle, but in the multiple commentaries I read on the issue never once did they comment on the legality of her ruling. Only ad hominin attacks.
“If CDC can’t impose an unintrusive requirement to wear a mask to prevent a virus from going state to state, then it literally has no power to do anything,” said public health law expert Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. And that was in PBS online, which we pay for. It may be unintrusive to you buddy, but it is not to us. Maybe this guy has not been on a plane for a while, but most people are wearing useless cloth masks anyway so why do they have them on in the first place? Lastly, the CDC does not make laws; they administer laws passed by Congress. Since not one person I have read has said the ruling did not fit the law I am wondering what the problem is.
Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect, a far-Left publication, wrote “I will be flying from Boston to D.C. next week. It is my first air travel in more than two years, and many of the yahoo passengers will be unmasked. I will be wearing a mask, maybe two masks.” He is supposedly part of the intelligentsia.
The worst part is that Biden said he would defer to “the scientists” to make the decision regarding a possible appeal. On its face, this is a reason to throw this guy out of office. We did not elect scientists; we elected you. They consult, you decide. He still does not get he is President except when he wants to give our money away without clear constitutional authority.
At any rate, we had a delightful, maskless ten-hour flight. Sadly, most of the passengers are still listening to the fearmongering from the Left and wore masks.
After a short layover in London, we headed toward Iceland. There is a lot of talk about Iceland these days. It has really made strides since it entered the world stage in 1986 when it hosted the Reagan – Gorbachev summit in the capital, Reykjavik. This country is now a major draw for tourism and with good reason, after having supported itself on fishing for many years. Just a reminder, it only became a republic eleven days after D-Day.
The Beautiful Wife through her travel blog and travel consulting business has developed many contacts over the years. We still traveled just the two of us, but she consulted with a gentleman who has been to Iceland 25 times and has a business planning travel to Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands (our next destination). We had detailed plans of what to see for our four days in Iceland.
Iceland is a fascinating country of 345,000 people which is the tenth lowest population density in the world. It is 93% Icelandic natives. It has its own language and currency. Neither of those make much sense in an ever-shrinking world with four times as many tourists annually as there are residents. It is a thoroughly modern society built on a prehistoric landscape.
When you start driving here (you must drive or bus to tour the area) you see the country is a giant wetland. If this place were the United States, the EPA would make an argument they should control every inch of land. As a Californian, one must adjust as you have no fear of wasting water or energy here. Water is everywhere. This in the only country in the world which is on 100% of renewable energy. It is all geothermal and hydro power. Gavin should take a family vacation here and find out how to replace our current energy sources without medieval windmills. Since they did so much Game of Thrones filming here the windmills would probably make sense.
The country is staggeringly beautiful in a unique way. Driving along the main southern route (1) you do not go far until you see a waterfall, then another and another and another. Some smaller, some larger but they are all over the place. There was one outside our bedroom window at one of our hotels. At least for the southern coast it is all built on volcanic rock, ice, and sand.
We previously travelled to Southern Africa to see the famous Victoria Falls. Though we did not see a waterfall that size, there were so many beautiful ones here in Iceland. We have been on beaches all over the world where people speak of the whitest sand. Here they have beaches that stretch for miles that are totally black sand.
We had a guide who showed up in our hotel even though his tour was cancelled (we had opted to go it alone). It was very fortuitous he was there because he took us to the edge of a volcano that is 14 years past its regular eruption period. When that happens, it will rock the Northern hemisphere. His name is Thor (no joke) and he told us his family heritage was traced back to the Vikings (common here) who settled Iceland about 1,000 years ago. The first Vikings settled here in 870 AD. As the son of a lifetime guide, this gentleman (who was in his late fifties) was a fountain of information.
When we were walking, we told him we had a similar experience last year hiking to see the Silverback gorillas in Uganda. What a contrast. Here they put what appears to be tire chains on your boots (“cramp-on’s”) to make sure you do not slip on the ice. The ice is largely black from volcanic actively, but we were still on a glacier.
After getting friendly with him we asked whether he led tours in other languages, and he said yes. We then asked him who were his favorite people to tour. He immediately blurted out – Americans. He said they are the friendliest, happiest people. He told us he goes to a local bar, and he can tell when there are Americans there because the sound of chatter and laughter radiates. He sometimes tours people from other countries, and they spend the entire tour not saying anything or engaging him. Just another reminder we are loved worldwide, and we are blessed to be Americans.
When we were returning to our hotel, he reminded us that Iceland has the best tap water in the world. He grabbed the Beautiful Wife’s water bottle, which was half-empty, stopped the vehicle in the middle of stream and jumped out and filled the bottle. It was cold and delicious. There are few places where one will have that experience, not to mention done by a Viking descendent.
Iceland is a special place of unique beauty and picturesque experiences. Bring a warm coat. Don’t look for any shade – there are no trees.