News

The House of D Heats Up Iceland

You know there’s something special about your section when you start meeting in foreign countries at every opportunity you get! First Thailand, and now Iceland! That’s right-Iceland. While others might have spent the long weekend going nearby to New York or Vermont, close to 60 spirited adventurers from Section OD gathered together in Reykjavik, Iceland for a three-day tour. Things are never done halfway at the House of D. If we’re going to have a second year section reunion, we might as well do it in Iceland, baby. And while we’re at it, let’s drive snowmobiles, stay out `til 5 am, do some serious sightseeing, and meet the Prime Minister! Only at HBS…

IcelandTrek would never have been possible without the efforts of our two great organizers: Matthias Mahr and Orri Hauksson. Sure, Matthias hails from Austria-but he was the resident expert on activities in Iceland. Besides, he’s tall and blond(ish). He fits right in. Orri is our native Icelander, and we think he’s somewhat of a celebrity in the region. At least all the people I met clubbing in Center City seem to know him. Besides, he’s the one with all the “prime” connections.
So, how did the House of D make the most of our three-day weekend in unfamiliar territory? Let’s just say Survivor: Africa has got NOTHING on us. Hot temperatures and a few giraffes definitely don’t compare to driving snowmobiles over an icy glacier with 40 mph winds and hail. It’s a good thing JD Dhaliwal was there to keep the smaller members of D from being blown away! Extreme adventure was the first thing we did upon landing in Iceland. Though it’s hard to say which was more of an adventure-coasting along rugged terrain on those snowmobiles or suiting up like astronauts in order to do so in the harsh weather. As for our snowmobile driving skills, we all came back in one piece. Except that our President Brian Davis allegedly tipped over his snowmobile and got a mouthful of snow, and resident survivor Marcus Lo took the extreme to the extreme, and took Pat Jamin along with him in the tumble.

After steam drying ourselves around the lodge heaters, snapping photos by a waterfall, and taking a late afternoon break, the House of D geared up to take advantage of our one and only Saturday night in Iceland. We populated the restaurant, bars, and nightclubs. We took over the dance floor. We ate reindeer venison. We learned about Orri’s wilder days. We lived our own still wild days. We caught up with sectionmates we don’t see enough of. We toasted the House of D.

Our Sunday was marked by Section D traveling all over Iceland. Some of us took the Golden Circle tour to view hot geysers, the famous Gulfoss waterfall, and a crater. Some of us got up a bit later and did the same thing in our own small groups. Some of us toured the city. Some of us were still out clubbing. Some of us had not recovered from clubbing! The point is, wherever you went in Iceland that day, you would undoubtedly meet up with members of the House of D. You might spy Brian Davis and Teddy Cho taking two young ladies from Iceland out for a night on the town (or being taken). You might run into Imran Amed at the Reykjavik Museum to admire to work of Erro, a Paris-based Icelandic pop artist. You might find Marjorie Brenner questioning the more abstract art. You might see Bob Trinh and Emily Le chasing after sheep. You might even meet up with honorary members of D, Stephan Morais (OF) and Joahne Carter (OC), who knew the House of D was the place to be over Columbus Day weekend. Wherever section D is, that’s where the party’s at!

Of course, a Harvard Business School trek would be incomplete without working in a few connections for the business world. Hence our visit to the Prime Minister’s office, thanks to Orri’s personal relationships. Every member of the House of D in Iceland got a chance to shake hands with Prime Minister David Oddsson. Better yet, we presented him with an authentic Harvard Business School cap and mug, which he immediately proceeded to wear and use with pride. After a grand buffet at the Prime Minister’s where we sampled the most delectable delights Iceland has to offer, we went off for one final moment of relaxation before returning to the real world. This is the ultimate thing to do if you’re ever in Iceland: bathe in the natural hot springs of the Blue Lagoon. Though all of us smelled like sulfur afterwards, we were definitely refreshed.
So, for the other adventurers at HBS, why choose Iceland as your ultimate destination? As Christiana Voskarides and her boyfriend Richard can attest, this is the only place where cars on the main road will stop to allow tourists to take unobscured pictures of the remarkable scenery. The best restaurant in town is situated atop hot water heaters. As for the diminutive scale of the country, Laraine Carroll sees all the benefits. She describes Iceland as a large college town on its own remote island, complete with natural resources, a gracious Prime Minister and membership in NATO to boot. The hurried traveler will be pleased to find that they have ample time to view the entire Iceland National Gallery of Art if they arrive 15 minutes before closing time. And most importantly, delicious fish is plentiful.

If you’re going to journey to an exotic, distant land, go in true House of D style. With close to 60 sectionmates traveling by your side, you can’t go wrong. New Ds take note: this is what section love is all about. Next year we expect to see an article on ZimbabweTrek. In fact, in true D fashion, chances are with a section like this, we’ll probably come too!

October 15, 2001