Iceland has certainly been on the headlines in recent 1 1/2 years more than it had been in the last 2 decades! Under normal circumstance, most of the world will not even give a thought to this island north of UK. Most have not heard of it even!
Iceland is fascinating for me. Since my visit to the country almost a decade ago, I've a lot more distinctive and real impressions of this "little unknown" island. It is a beautiful island with a small population but with a varied landscapes from waterfall to glaciers. Read my Iceland review for a touristic perspective.
Now, I'm not just into traveling and shopping. I'm also very fascinated with earthquakes and volcanoes. Perhaps it was my fascination with disaster movies to start with or perhaps it's something else. I've no idea. I'm however very tune in to these events which happened rampantly across the world causing major destructions and disruptions. Hence, it is not surprising that this come to mind when I was on a flight early yesterday from Singapore to Hong Kong. I was taking the budget airline Tiger Airways (cheap and reasonably good for short flights) and bought myself a copy of the Straits Times on board to kill boredom. The reason why these budget airlines are cheap is because there is practically no entertainment on board!
There on the front page of the newspaper is Iceland's volcanic eruption causing major distress in air travel in Europe!!! Blink, blink... AIR TRAVEL! That's my arena! I'm on a plane, OMG! Of course, I'm alerted during the entire flight! Images from Independence Day (the movie) & 2012 even came to my mind.
It's a bit harsh to think Iceland is causing the world miseries. They are afterall victims. First, financial meltdown, then earth meltdown. Poor people! Yes, they are also getting poor in the process. Once the country with the highest GDP in the world, Icelanders have had their world turned upside down within a span of 18 months!
Now, back to travel plans. So, all hotels are reported to have 100% occupancy rate. Not bad! A plus for the hotel industry! People are spending more money outside and most importantly, may be they might be more inclined to treasure life when something like this happens! It gives a person something to think about, other than disruptions, that is. That, the world can end in no time or that life is meant to be enjoyed every moment of them, not at the end of days!
If you asked me, it is during these times that human beings are at their best. They are more willing to cooperate with one another and humanitarian efforts are at its best. I've been to a few of the dormant volcanoes in Iceland (you can't escape them, I think may be the entire island is volcanic!) and they are truly pretty when dormant. But for me, if I were in Iceland now, I'd love to go and watch the earth comes alive. This is probably the most spectacular moment the island could possibly be! Imagine hot raging lava... it's like a live symphony reaching its crescendo!
What a climax! And it's like Iceland saying something to the world... The way I see it? Do not overlook a country that's small and inconsequential. That is not the case at all!
While this event has caused major disruption and some unforgettable experiences for many travelers (plenty were stuck in airport who were transiting within Europe but without a visa to enter Europe), I'd think that I'm lucky that I'm not traveling within Europe right now. In addition, more than 30 airports have been closed and some could not go home from Asia too. The morale of it all is that be prepared for these kind of events when you travel. A travel insurance is handy. We are lucky that other than major disruptions, no one has died. Unfortunately, for the airline industry, the lost is US$200 million a day! The main loser in this event! This event has now caused the largest air traffic shutdown in the world since World War II! That's even more serious than the airport shutdown during the 9-11 event! Amazing, isn't it?
This is one of those rare occasions where the planet is telling the world a significant message... We don't realised how interconnected we all are, until we are all affected by one single event. Think about the consequences of no air travel for major part of the world for weeks. Think about people stranded out of their own residential countries. Think about medications and organs not being able to be flown to where they are needed. Think about no fruits or vegetables from their country of origins... now, you get the drift?
The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were a series of major volcanic events that occurred at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Seismic activity started at the end of 2009, and led to a volcanic eruption on 20 March 2010. A later eruption from 14 April 2010 led to widespread disruption of air travel in Europe from 15 April, affecting the travel plans of millions of passengers.