Icelandic Horses in Canada
It’s a ten hour flight. Heathrow is quiet, surprising as its half term. I check in on time, no qeue, no hassle, no problem cause there’s nothing worse than rushing at an airport thensweating in your seat... So all is well and I am clipped in. Sat next to me is a brunette with a friendly face. I travel alot on aeroplanes. You neverknoww whom you are going to sit next to. It’s a kind of social Russian roulette. “seeing as we’re going to be sitting together for ten hours... Hi my name is Inga” She chirps. This could be good. This could be so, so bad.
She’s twenty full of spark and we spend the next ten hours laughing and teasing each otherlike an older brother a younger sister. Inga is Icelandic (Ishhhlandic she might say) and a trainer of Icelandic horses: it’s what her father does. He trains them and rents them, a sortof hertz for horses if you like. She’s just decided to go to Canada alone, on a whim cause her friend came here and said it was good.It's actually less of a whim as it seems, still daring though.
There’s only 300,000 people in Iceland. That’s tiny. She has Icelandic eyes and is forthright which always brings the best out in me “Are you in a relationship?” she asks an hour into the journey. I proudly, and in grand manner, take out the national newspaper and show her the picture of The Journalist who happens to be on the Masthead. “yes” I reply ”with her” and I point at the Masthead picture. She frowns looks at the picture and says “yeah... you wish!”.
Inga has not been in a relationship since she was thirteen. Not a proper one. I’m flabbergasted. There was someone, but it was fleeting. Meanwhile the TV screen flight path thingy nudges towards the destination. I wonder if there is a town called Destination. Be a good name for a country Desti Nation. Time really does fly when you are having fun and as I am having fun and actually flying I must be getting double.
I take a walk along the aisle and rest at the top of the plane where I meet Emily, I think her name's Emily. “love your dreadlocks” I say. Emily is drunk. I should say merry cause drunk sounds ugly. And she wasn’t ugly nor semed drunk till she said "I'm drunk". . She’s had a few wines she tells me. She’s just left her boyfriend at the airport in London and she misses him already. We talk dreadlocks. Her drea locked and my dreadlocks. I used to have them too.
Turns out Emily works in Technology and will be moving from canada to Australia with her boyfriend who works for Sky TV in London. Australia gives permits to professionalpeople of Canada. He’ll be moving there too. She can not wait to live together with him in another country. I ask if they have ever lived in the same country. "no" she replies.
Emily is nice but loud. Drink seems to make people feel they have to shout. But what it really does is enclose people in such a sonic fuzz that they feel they need to shout to getbeyond it. It’s cute but I am not unhappy to say goodbye and work my way back to my seat.
The plane scoops out of the sky and lands in Vancouver. I wait for Inga's guitar to come through the outsized luggagebelt. Outside Ralph is waiting, trusty as ever, same man who picked me off and dropped me off two years ago when I was here last. Inga has a few hours to kill before her adjoining flight into the Canadian interior where she will work with Icelandic horses for six months or so.
Ralph, seeing how we get along, invites her to Granville Island, my destination, and offers her a lift back. And so we are in the car the three of us. We stop at a photo shop to get her camera fixed and then to Granville Island where I check in to the hotel. My room looks out on the bay and the mariner. The three of us spend the next hour sightseeing. Ralph the perfect host. Canada the perfect hostess.
I am happy to be here. Love Vancouver and Canada. I wave goodbye as Ralph returns Inga to the airport. We both feel a cool kinship. I take a deep breath of the bracing air and look out onto the bay of Granville Island.