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In the land of the jólabókaflóðið | The next miracle (v11.2): Owen Youngman
Iceland, by Leif Parsons. From the cover of McSweeney's Quarterly, Issue 15. I had the good folks at Visa on the phone, taking the precaution of telling them we'd soon be out of the country. We'd hardly want any potential overseas retail impulses to be impeded by the usual algorithms. "And where will you be going?" asked the customer service rep, having first obtained the dates of our trip. "Iceland." Pause. "Iceland? But no one goes to Iceland!" And she proceeded to make me spell the names of as many Icelandic towns as I could remember . . . Akureyri, Reykjavík, Isafjörður. (Although I did, over the phone, ignore the diacriticals, eths, and thorns.) A little research shows, actually, that half a million people "go to Iceland" as tourists each year, in the aggregate outnumbering the 319,000 residents if not the 6 million Atlantic puffins. Many of them go for the volcanos, the waterfalls, the glaciers, and the birds, visiting the natural wonders that ring the island. Others go for the