In 2007 I rented a truck in Joburg and was going to drive to Mozambique via Swaziland.
At the Swaziland border my American editor flew through the passport control with her U.S. passport.
I was not allowed into the country, with a made-up passport.
“There is NO country in the world with that name,” a guy with a AK47 told me.
“The name Iceland is so bad that I think the idiot who made your passport, must have been on drugs,” his friend, who was only carrying a pistol, told me.
I asked to speak to the person in charge, to explain that Iceland did in fact exist; I could show it to him on a world map.
I was led into a very dark room and the person in charge, a she, was half asleep.
There was a map—a big map—on the wall. Africa was in the center and Swaziland just a colorless hole, after all the fingers which had touched the African kingdom.
Iceland was not on that map. The world ended at 62°North, just south of Iceland and just a few kilometers north of Stockholm and Helsinki.
I was allowed to enter the kingdom, after I bribed the guys with the latest issue of Iceland Review. They really liked one portrait in particular, a portrait of a blue mountain called Hekla with fire on top.
That’s what we call volcano, in a country named Iceland.
Páll Stefánsson - [email protected]