Kringlan

It's not cool to like malls, I know. They supposedly represent everything my ideological peer group would reject: materialism, snobbery, conformity and suburban living. The ambient lighting dulls the senses, air conditioning systems deplete oxygen and a constant auditory drone turns even the sprightly into tensed up zombies. All these things are true to one extent or another, but some malls I enjoy anyway. I liked Vallco, back in Cupertino, where I held my first customer service job as a bakery counter girl at Grain D'or (with the best épi's in town!) and I like our local Kringlan here in Reykjavik. Call me a rebel (or just a closet suburbanite), but something about the contained system of a clean well-lighted shopping center makes me feel part of a greater whole.

I like people watching, and that about sums up the lure of Kringlan for me. Since we live literally only yards away from the main outdoor shopping area in Reykjavik, I'm supposed to be a purist, a loyalist, shunning the capitalist box of shops and services that comprise the indoor mall. I should only buy what's available within walking distance of my front door and haughtily scoff at parents who stroll and tug their bleary eyed kids from franchise to franchise on weekends. But as much as I love living right in the heart of downtown with its unique collection of cafes and boutiques, I still go to Kringlan with Valentína and Óðinn once a month or so, hook us up with ice cream and watch the parade of fellow countrymen and women trundle and glide by. Honestly, what better way to discover life in Reykjavik outside of our little mid-town cultural bubble? So, once a month, with good ice cream, a strict budget and a specific time limit and I go home to the heart of the city satisfied.



p.s. if you haven't already, go ahead and join the comment explosion below!

9 comments:

Té la mà Maria said...

please visit, thank

Devon Ellington said...

We drove by it a few times, but I didn't go in. I figured I was only in Iceland for 3 days, I didn't need to visit the mall!

If I was there for a substantial amount of time, I'd probably go just for the convenience.

There's nothing wrong with shopping where you like to shop. No one else is living in your skin, after all, and no one has the right to make those sort of judgments!

Maria Alva said...

I don't think I'd choose to go to a mall while visiting another country either unless I had a specific mission. But Kringlan is a nice place, and, like you say, convenient, so it works.

As far as the judgement goes, it's a kind of heart-of-the-city snobbery, a classicism vs. modernism thing that most city dwellers apply to suburbanites, so I don't take it too personally!

Mekkin said...

Kringlan is cool, but out here mall are so crowded and I get very faint in hot, crowded places. Also I'm a total tomboy so I don't really shop that much. I guess I'm too young to understand the clash between the convience party and the conformationist party

Bethel Youth SSK said...

Ah, Valco...
Sadly, it's only nice in our memories now. My wedding band is from the crappy silver trinket kiosk at the skating rink end of that old place.

Yeah, malls are truely double edged. I have more in the "con" column but sometimes, when no one's looking, I do enjoy a good mall.

Thanks for reminding me.

Jason O'Neal said...

Funny, but when I was there for 2 weeks I did make sure to go to Kringlan. I like the mall. Pleasant layout, airy lighting and nice shops. I did not like the burrito at the food court though ;-)Found some good buys on cd's too

Maria Alva said...

Thanks for the support for my cause, Jason. And the burrito thing...wow, after watching burrito-makers in California whip up a real-deal Mexican monster burrito in less than fifteen seconds, I am stunned at how long it takes the girls working here to spread the beans and rice, etc, and wrap the puppy up in a square of foil. It's like watching them paint their toenails. Painful!

Rana said...

I recently visited Iceland, and went to the Kringlan to change money after the rest of the banks were closed. I actually kind of like visiting shopping malls in different countries; they're very good places to find out what people desire to be, as well as reinforcing that people are the same just about everywhere: the housewives, the punk teenagers, the fashionistas. That the Mall of America in Minnesota, the new malls popping up all over New Delhi, and the Kringlan are so similar really says something about globalization and consumer culture. Whether it says something good or bad, I have yet to decide.

Maria Alva said...

Well said, Rana!