In 2008, I wrote about the use of humor following the crash and how sketches on comedy show Spaugstofan, kreppa jokes and cartoons helped Icelanders to try to see the funny side of the crash, as serious as it was—and remains—for some.
Halldór Baldursson’s cartoons were the focus of that column and his cartoons printed in daily Fréttablaðið (back then he worked for the Iceland’s other major newspaper, Morgunblaðið) are as brilliant as ever.
One of his recent cartoons shows two German tourists arriving in Iceland, specifically Þormóðsdalur valley.
The couple ask: “Can you tell us where we can find third-class accommodation at ISK 38,000, an average restaurant which copies the prices of Hotel Holt and a fleece jacket which is called ICE-something and is made in China?” And the caption: "Two gold nuggets in Þormóðsdalur valley."
A bit of background:
-Gold was recently discovered in Þormóðsdalur valley.
-Set to receive a record number of tourists this year—and three times the country's population within two to three years—Iceland is experiencing a tourism boom.
-Hotel Holt is considered one of Iceland’s most expensive restaurants.
-Remember the news that some lopapeysa, Icelandic woolen sweaters, were being made abroad, mostly in China? Other Icelandic outdoor clothing companies have also come under fire for the practice.
Halldór again highlights some important issues here.
First of all, hotel and dining out is expensive in Iceland—and something that most Icelanders would not do very often.
Secondly, with the record number of tourists forecast to visit the country this year, Iceland should tread carefully and ensure that in chasing the tourist dollar that it neither overexploits the generally overwhelming positive image that it has as a destination nor the country’s environment and natural resources.
Everyone take note.
Zoë Robert – email@example.com