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I Am the Worst: Blue Lagoon Edition

June 14, 2012|Stephen Markley

So one of the things you're supposed to do while in Iceland is head about an hour south of Reykjavik to a natural hot springs called the Blue Lagoon. Enterprising Icelandic built a geothermal spa around this pool of natural bathwater and cleverly charge tourists double the price in the summer (somewhere in the neighborhood of $44) for admittance. Though we've been scrimping as much as we can--we had a very public rock, paper, scissors contest to see who got to eat the last hard-boiled egg--Trinetti, Bojo, and I decided this is just something you have to do if you visit Iceland, tourist trap or not.

Now pay attention: the way this works is the Blue Lagoon attendants give you a wrist bracelet at the door with some kind of supercomputer inside. This bracelet allows you to open and close a locker of your choice and purchase drinks at the hot-spring-side bar outside. What it doesn't allow you to do is pound Polar Bear beers inside the bathroom stall, which is more of a Steve Markley invention (and in fact superior to a supercomputer), Polar Bear being kind of the Pabst Blue Ribbon of Iceland. Once we breezed by the locker room signs demanding that we shower naked before entering the pool, we dipped our first toe into the Blue Lagoon. Here are some things I observed:

1) The air temperature is not warm, while the water is bathwater to really-hot-bathwater. This fell right into my vector of being uncomfortably hot or cold depending on whether I was standing or neck-deep wading, so already I kinda don't get the appeal.

2) They have this bullshit thing called a "silica mud mask", which are these pots of semen-colored goop that everyone is supposed to swim over to and immediately rub all over their faces without FDA examination or even a basic check for carcinogens. While I voiced these objections--"The Icelandic probably sit around laughing with each other about all the kinds of crazy semen-like goop they can get Americans to put on their faces"--Trinetti was already donning his silica mud mask in heavy handfuls.

"So refreshing," he said, looking like a pale imitation of one of those African tribesman on NatGeo.

"Oh yeah, what does it do?" I challenged.

"I don't know, exfoliates or invigorates or something like that. Just put it on, Steve."

So there we floated for the next ten minutes, just three cool American guys in their white-face silica mud masks.

3) After removing our mud masks via waterfall, I had to towel off and return all the way upstairs to slam another Polar Bear Beer (wouldn't a better name be "Polar Beer"? Maybe that is what is and I was getting tipsy). The architects of the Blue Lagoon did not take into consideration how difficult it would be for kids from Ohio on a budget to escape paying for overpriced beer when they designed the place. I'd prefer if the Blue Lagoon were more like the community pool in Mount Vernon, Ohio, where kids just stepped behind the nearest tree and then lobbed the aluminum into the bushes. God Bless America.

4) We watched the lifegaurd--one of the only black guys we've seen in the country, with a physique like Adonis got a little carried away with the ab workout (what? so I noticed, so what?)--drill future lifegaurds in strapping people to those orange stretchers and carrying them out of the water to safety. This became our entertainment for the next half-hour, as we waited for the carrying-turns to come back around to the blonde female trainee. For some reason, however, there were also old people involved in this training, some of whom had dimensions of fleshial droop that made them not only poor orange stretcher carriers, but also kind of aesthetically disturbing because of the pruney way warm water acts on skin. Bojo seemed to like it, though, and couldn't stand up for the entire half-hour.

5) We tried the sauna over my objections. If I wanted to be super-uncomfortably hot, I'd watch a chiseled black lifegaurd hoist fake-injured people out of the water like a normal person. Obviously, saunas attract all kinds of sickos, and the moment we sat down, we were basically making room for a flirting coed contingent of 75-year-old German perverts. Trinetti stayed for like an hour.

6) Back out in the geothermal pool, I realized hot-springs-drunk is even worse than hot-tub-drunk. It felt like we were moving through mollasses, and both Trin and I commented how it would be nice to just fall sleep. Instead, this happened:

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