Friday, 10 August 2007


If J.J. Abrams does film his impending Star Trek movie here, I will have a chance to fulfill the dream of a lifetime: to take part, on screen, in the Star Trek universe. It all started when Pabbi took me to get Leonard Nemoy's autograph at the opening of a condo complex in Pacific Grove in 1974 or so. We used to watch reruns of the original show together when I was little, and I've followed every series and movie since then (I don't follow conventions and I'm not a member of the offical web site, but I love it anyway!) Just the other day I remorsed over the fact that I'd maybe never get to live my dream (even beinging a backround extra in full, unrecognizable costume would make me happy) and that a whole generation of kids (who don't have access to perpetual reruns like in the States, my daughter included) have no idea what Star Trek is all about. Now J.J. Abrams, the creater of my very favorite modern show, Alias, as well as Lost, is going to save our children from ignorance, and help me live my dream. Stoked! (note from my future self in 2011: J.J. quit on the idea, so I'm still waiting...)

On another note, I got a very sweet email from a reader who'd asked me some questions about traveling here with kids before their vacation. She's written to let me know how it went, and I thought I'd just reprint it here for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and the lambkins in the photo is a resident of the Reykjavík Zoo and Family Animal Park she mentions below:

Dear Maria,

We are back from an amazing 10 days in Iceland, most of it spent in
Reykjavik but with a couple of trips out of the city (to the Blue
Lagoon, and the Golden Circle tour with the physicists from the
conference). Thank you so much for your tips - it was even better
than we could have imagined. The weather was spectacular (best summer
in 35 years - thank you for sharing it with us), and the city is so
perfectly-sized and friendly. We went to the Family Fun Park three
times (!), and to many of the pools -- including a really wonderful
day on Saturday, when we visited Abersafn and then walked up the
river to Arbaerslaug. It could not have been more gorgeous.

We discovered a few little playgrounds around town - the one on the
green hill at the foot of Bankastraeti/Laugavegur, and the little
preschool playground at the bottom of the Tjorn. But really we had
the most fun just toodling around the city, with James on his
scooter. We were staying at a place on Ranargata, so on the first day
out we went through Ingolfstorg, which has that excellent ramp. Every
single day we had to make a pilgrimage back there, sometimes twice or
three times, so scooter-boy could do about a dozen loops on the ramp.
It was funny to encounter the other scootering kids in the mornings,
and the leather-clad bikies in the evenings.

How lucky you are to be bringing up your children in such a great
place. It reminds me in some ways of New Zealand twenty years ago; I
hope Iceland doesn't change as much as NZ has, in the ways that
aren't so good.

I was also very struck by the attitude to children, which seems very
calm and dignified and matter-of-fact and accepting. I knew Iceland
was a kid-friendly place, but I didn't anticipate how that
"friendliness" would manifest itself. Occasional scooter near-misses
were greeted with smiles (except from the occasional grouchy
tourist), and it took me a while to notice that my kids and I would
make it through the day without encountering those well-meaning but
patronising comments from adults that are so common elsewhere... I
don't know if I'm expressing myself well, here, but it seems that
much of the way children are spoken to (or about) here in the US is
either very grumpy or very sugary. In our whole time in Iceland, I
don't think anybody mentioned Toby's adorable curls or his cute
little sandals all the time we were there, or said to James "So, are
you the big brother? are you a good big brother?" I got the
impression that while children are well-loved, you'd no more talk
about somebody's children in those terms than you'd talk to or about
somebody's spouse that way. Which I love, by the way - why *do*
people pat children on the heads or on the bottom, when we don't do
that to adults?? It was fascinating... I wonder if you'd concur with
my interpretation, or whether I was just seeing things through
tourist-coloured glasses :-)

Anyway, we've been raving about the trip to all our friends, and hope
to make it back again some day. Thank you again for your tips in
advance, and I'll keep reading your lovely blog...