A Foreigner in My Own City

Yesterday I took the bus to downtown Reykjavík to check out my favorite CD store (it just got a new shipment) and visit my favorite café. I always find it estranging to go downtown, especially in the summertime. The city is absolutely jam packed with tourists. I don’t exactly have a problem with it but I can never help but get more than a little annoyed when Icelandic shopkeepers mistake me for a tourists and talk to me in English. Understandably the staff is more used to dealing with tourists than Icelanders and getting irate is completely futile.

Luckily there are still stores and cafés that tourists have no idea exist so my trip was not a complete disappointment. The tourists have definitely given the city a more international flavor and have helped put it on the global map. Only a few years ago were many of the stores on the verge of bankruptcy and shopkeepers complained over Icelanders preferring to do their business in shopping malls rather than small shops downtown. However, I hope that the city does not completely alienate its native inhabitants and twists into an ugly tourist trap like other European cities.

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2 thoughts on “A Foreigner in My Own City

  1. I hope to become one of those tourists one day… but agree 100% with you… hope they keep it “real”… if I ever make it to Reykjavík… (my nephews went and loved it)… I hope I don’t see a McDonalds… and I really want to go into a shop… not understand a word of what is being said… use a dictionary and butcher the language.. (heard it is one of the most difficult to learn)… etc… I want to visit somewhere to discover that place… not to feel at home… (so if I come… ) I will be searching for the places unchanged by tourists… (does this mean I will be ruining these places for others…. oh man… what a dilemma)

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    1. I wouldn’t worry about running into a McDonald’s they went out of business here. You’ll see a Dunkin Donuts though. There are still some relatively untouched parts of Reykjavík and you’ll find them if you look hard enough. I hope you visit Rvk and have a great time.

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