Once on the ferry, feeling the engines hum under our feet, the next series of events could not have gone more smoothly for us recently turned tourist-detectives.
1) All tourists no matter how much they are running or how much they need to hide, are subject to Icelandic ferry code, meaning we all had to park in the same designated Icelandic ferry parking area. No one is allowed to enter or exit the designated area while the Icelandic ferry is in motion...or else!
Both our 1999 Toyota Avensis and their burly SUV were, once again united.
2) All tourists no matter how guilty from thieving or distraught from having lost, can resist going up to the outdoor deck to snap photos as the THE WESTFJORDS!!! slowly melt away into the horizon. We were all united once again.
3) All tourists no matter how professional they are in their detective mission or how professional they are from a career of kidnapping, can resist having a top-deck open-air picnic, dining on volcanic bread and organic sheep skyr. We were all united once again. From the comfort of our bench on the top deck, we decided to corner our prey. As we spread our peanut butter and crunched our bread, we smiled giddily. Every few heart beats all of our eye would lock for a few long breaths. Our nerves straining to support our forced euphoria. Isn't this such a stunning ferry boat?!...Oh! I couldn't agree more!...Don't you just looooove this peanut butter?!...Yes, crunchy is sooooo much better than smooth! HAHAHAHAHA!
I could tell they were having the same struggle: trying to mask their grumpy guilt with equally-forced apathy. They didn't talk very much between their glances over at us. They chit-chatted quietly for a while. Finally, in between our hysterical giggles, I could make out I'm chilly, let's go back downstairs. And the next thing we knew, they had collected their (or maybe stolen) picnic items and were disappearing down the unsteady steps.
COME ON!!! Madison and I were on our feet after them!
Once back below deck, feeling the adrenaline hum in our bodies, the next series of events unfolded somewhat like this...
1) The small ferry actually had quite a lot of space to move around...and hide. We decided to grab a table to store our peanut butter and set-up a home base for the investigation. I mean imagine how silly we'd look running around the boat, wrapped-up in our Malian turbans, carrying left-over picnic food; what kind of detectives are we?! So we found a quiet set up benches, near the gift shop. The young, blonde cashier was fast asleep with his feet up on the counter; perfect.
2) Amy, not having had a horizontal night's sleep in ages, decided to lie on the bench and cover herself up with her turban. I took out my computer, hoping to professional type up the investigation notes and suspect list. Madison pondered, a serious expression on her face.
3) We didn't even have to do another lap of the ship, or pretend to be interested in the rotten shark on the menu at the cafeteria. As I looked up from my intense typing, Madison looked out of her intense thoughts, and Amy continued to doze on the bench, we saw The Accused enter the gift shop. They briskly passed our table and began browsing the expensive merchandise for sale. Very suspicious.
4) Yes, we should have frantically awoken the sleeping cashier, and told him to STOP THE SHIP IMMEDIATELY, but instead Madison and I locked eyes and decided to keep our cool. We nodded silently at each other and then I quickly clicked opened Season 3 of "The L Word" as bait (you know, just in case The Accused were actually Grumpy-Lesbian-Adventure-Types and then catching even a glimpse of this lesbian drama would guarantee to send them in our direction, right into the interrogation). Instead they'd settled their attention on the giant map of Iceland pinned to the wall slightly opposite us. Very suspicious, we agreed. Why would you consult a giant wall map unless you were running from the law!
5) They were no more than four feet away from us. They had walked into our perfectly and professional constructed interrogation plan. With Amy in well-rehearsed nap position, no doubt subconsciously aware of everything, it was time to make our move. Madison and I were communicating through our Detective Thought Vibes now.
Let the Interrogation Begin! (the following conversation is transcribed from actual events...this is NOT a joke!)
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
SUSPECT 1: Asian Grumpy Tourist
SUSPECT 2: Tall Australian Grumpy Tourist
Detective Madison: As herself
Detective BB: As herself
Detective Amy: As herself
Excited Old Lady: Maxine Ferryboat
Suddenly Detective BB is overcome with fear and no words escape her mouth as she turns from her computer screen to confront SUSPECT 1 and SUSPECT 2. Detective Madison takes control of the situation.
Madison: Hey, you guys camped at that natural hot spring near Bildudalur a couple of nights ago, right?
You know, that hot spring right near Bildudalur. We are sure we saw you there.
SUSPECT 2: (
long pauses, SUSPECTS look at each other)
Oh yeaaaaah. I guessssss.....yeaaaaah...you know it was a while ago....
SUSPECT 1: Yeaaaaah, it was a while ago....I kinda forget....buuuut maaaaaybe....yeah....
SUSPECT 2: Yeah. Yeah I guessss. Yeah. Why? Were you there as well?
Yeah. Yeah we were there too. You know, that same night.
(friendly and warm)
We remember seeing you there! How are your travels going?
SUSPECT 1: Oh yeah we TOTALLY remember you, don't we?!
Oh yeah, yeah. Small world! WOW! Crazy...
SUSPECT 1: Everything's fine. Good.
SUSPECT 2: Yeah, good. Reaally good. Yeah.
(Long Awkward pause)
BB: So...where are you from?
SUSPECT 2: Australia.
SUSPECT 1: Yeah, yeah you know. Australia.
Madison: Oh wow. That's a long journey.
SUSPECT: 2: Yeah, yeah. Long journey.
SUSPECT 1: Yeah. Yeah...
SUSPECT 2: Where are you girls from? Are you all friends, you know, just traveling?
(pointing to sleeping Detective Amy)
Well, she's from America, but Beebs and I are from Canada.
SUSPECT 1: Oh, okay. Cool.
SUSPECT 2: Yeah, yeah. Cool, cool.
Madison: So, we noticed that you have this really
Excited Old Lady:
(unnoticed, sitting at the table to the right, suddenly she interjects loudly)
Where in Canada are you from?
(looking around to fine the owner of the voice and spots Excited Old Lady, excited eyes directly on them)
(trying to redirect focus to SUSPECTS)
So, we noticed-
Excited Old Lady: Oh, what a coincidence! I am also from Canada! Toronto is a lovely city but I am from British Columbia. Not Vancouver, but in a town near Whistler, ski country. Canada's a vast place!
Madison: I love downhill skiing! I go every year with my family. Yeah, BC is amazing for snow sports.
Excited Old Lady: Yes, Toronto wouldn't have very many opportunities for skiing. How do you find traveling in Iceland? Are you enjoying yourselves? Are you students? You look like you could be students. You look younger than my son. He's in his late twenties and has already finished school. But it's hard to tell with young people nowadays. So many different options. It's not like it used to be. Though I always chose to travel whenever I could. I went all around the world with my late husband and now I'm doing a whole tour of the arctic! Imagine!
Madison and BB sneak a glance over to the SUSPECTS but they have snuck away, gone again...
It might have occurred to you that the Excited Old Lady could have been an accomplice of Grumpy-Tourist-Kidnappers, and was creating an annoying diversion in order for SUSPECTS 1 and 2 to get away. However, what was more likely was that the Excited Old Lady was just an amazing free-spirit of an individual, coming into the lives of the lost and worn-out-detectives-turned-back-into-worn-out-tourists at exactly the right time. Madison and BB continued to answer the questions of their new Canadian friend, and in return she shared her name, Maxine, and interesting anecdotes about her life and the many ups and downs, losses and gains, that kept her going, all the way around the world and back, to the arctic and beyond. At over seventy years old, Maxine was hitchhiking around Iceland, staying in hostels, island hopping, and hoping to reach the tips of northern Nunavut, even farther than BB dared go...yet.
Maxine Ferryboat spent the rest of the ride back to the mainland with us. In those three short hours, we forgot about the silly investigation. Instead we thought about ourselves as little excited old ladies and vowed we'd have even half the energy and wisdom of lovely Maxine, sitting on this ferryboat below the arctic circle. It's never too late for anything, and seventy is definitely the new thirty, we decided.
Feeling freer and lighter than ever before, the wheels of our 1999 Avensis finally hit the mainland. It was late, but the arctic sun was still lighting our way. I looked up just in time to see that familiar big, burly vehicle whizzing by, and then pull to a stop at the frantic Icelandic hand-gesturing up ahead.
Stop the car!
I have to try one last time.
I jumped out of the car and rushed over to the SUV. I wasn't a detective anymore. I was just following my shaking legs once again...
I waved to the Australian girls through the window. They enthusiastically waved back. Then I looked back at Madison, fearfully.
How badly do you want your Everything back?
I did an Icelandic-window-roll-down gesture.
Okay bye, have a great rest of your trip!
They called hurriedly through the open window. I rushed forward.
I choked out.
The engine revved, and window started to buzz upward.
No, sorry! Goodbye.
They sped away, gone forever.
Okay thanks. Goodbye!
I stumbled back to our car, shaking my head and laughing. And that was that.