Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dublin had better watch out

I'm back!! I'm getting hassles for being so slack about my posting. Justified I suppose, but really, you should see where I've been living. Actually, I wish you could, Irish countryside is gorgeous. It's so stony compared to NZ, and I'm not sure whether it's good manners to hassle their roads or not. The thing I love about the roads in Waterford is the nifty green reflective signs coming up to a road off to the left or the right. They don't have that in Tipperary... (Different councils.)

So I arrived in Dublin on Sunday. I spent all Saturday night drinking with my cousin Glo's boyfriend, who's from Aberdeen, and was catching a flight there at half ten. We interspersed sitting on the couch watching bad tv (neither of us could be bothered bringing the dvd player downstairs) with trips to the local Tesco's. This was exciting for me, because not only was the place some kind of behemoth - when I went in earlier for beer I found myself instantly, and to my alarm, in the men's underwear department - but after midnight they have some kind of scan-your-own-then-pay-and-leave system going on. It was great! I have pictures of it and all - John thinks I'm mad (the chick on the screen showing you what to do looks like a sort of Tesco's version of Lara Croft). We scanned the beer, and placed it on the rolling thing where it was swept away to the end (tip for young players: don't drink this beer immediately on arrival at your house), and the sign flashed up telling me it was a restricted item and that I would need help (or something) with it. So I put the rest through, and paid with cash, and left. Brilliant! I know what I'd be doing if I were 15 and wanted to get drunk in Clonmel...

Eventually one of Glo's flatmates, Cary, and his mate arrived home, and starting drinking something that looked remarkably like anti-freeze, before Glo herself got off work - O'Keefe's, the pub we went to for the comedy. Then Cary decided that we were hungry, so he and his mate went off to Tesco's to play with the trollies and get some food. When he got back he cooked us all a fry for breakfast (never mind that it was 5am)! Superb.

Around 7:30am we decide that we should get on the road for Dublin (Glo hadn't been drinking, for anyone worried), so we asked Cary if he wanted to come along for the ride, which he did. For the craic like. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to snooze on John's bag in the back seat on the way up, but eventually gave it up in favour of being sociable. We dropped John off at the airport, and were moved on by an officious parking man, who is lucky that Glo and I wound up the windows so he couldn't hear what Cary was saying. Glo didn't want to go near Dublin city, and I didn't have a map, so she decided to drop me at the Red Cow roundabout, where I caught the Luas (rail system) in to town. Once there I discovered that I needed to go to O'Connell St. to catch a bus to my cousin Fay's place. To be honest now, I'm a little tired and I could do with a drink, rather than my huge suitcase to lug around, and I would have phoned her or her daughter Em to come and pick me up, but the battery in my phone has died. Grrr.

I know Fay's address, but she's out of town, and it doesn't feature on my city map (treasured possession!), so I lug the suitcase into Eason's (the Irish version of Whitcoull's), where the helpful lass says there may be a map with Rathfarnham on it. Fortunately there is, though she and Em laugh delightedly at me when they hear about it. The next problem is finding a bus, so clutching my map and a strong Kiwi accent I approach a newspaper man. Who has no idea. However, he says that his friend in the pharmacy next door may know. He doesn't either, but asks a customer, who not only knows the numbers, but where to catch them too (which is just as well, as I'm more than likely to catch it going the wrong way): just past the spire. Now, although I am wearing my glasses - the better to see the street signs with - I cannot see a spire. However I thank them all and cross the street. Just then one goes past, so I race after it, suitcase, cobblestones and all. I even manage to catch it at a stop (although an elderly gentleman warns me to "Mind yourself, there, in your condition", strengthening my resolve to find a gym as soon as I get to Belfast). The driver takes on look at my map, asks me where I'm going, and lets me know when to get off.

So I have been in Dublin for four days (I can work it out by the pints I have drunk), and this afternoon even booked a hostel in Belfast. Right now I'm off for dinner with an Irish friend I met in NZ. Bring on the pints!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Possibly the shortest ever post

Just wanted to say that I'm grand, and oh my god - it's snowing out there!! No wonder I was so cold last night sleeping on the couch! I may possibly have gone out in Clonmel last night - it was for a good cause: Ardal O'Hanlon (more famously known as Father Dougal McGuire) was doing stand up. He's brilliant, fully worth €15! We may have gone clubbing afterwards, and drank tequila shots - I have nothing to say on the matter... (although I may be grinning.)

I have all these brilliant pics of the snow out there. I must sort out getting them on line.

Ah, there's nothing like the taste of cab sauv in the morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rather out of order

As it turns out I've been successfully avoiding computers like the plague recently, so this post heralds the fact that I've made it to Rathgormack. I'd add a link to where this is on a map, but I'm on dial up here (and the wind is playing havoc with the connection), so I'm about to pour a libation to Bacchus to celebrate the fact that I've managed to log in at all at all!

My cousin, Wonder Woman, and I had dinner at a pub (which didn't look anything like a New Zealand "Irish" pub) when I arrived (only an hour and a half late, I broke the weather this time). The food was grand, but I was far more excited by my first pint of Guinness. I even took a picture of it, which is still sitting on my phone. Damn it was good.

Yesterday we went and did a few things round Waterford, which included me drooling over flash home brochures in the parquet shop (Wonder Woman is an interior designer), and not buying clothes on special for €200. We also went food shopping in Dunnes Stores (I'm so back in Ireland), which is kind of the equivalent of New World or Food Town, except that they also sell clothes. It was strange to see prices in euro again. I wonder if they have a slang for it yet (à la bucks or quid)...

We did quite a bit of driving around yesterday, and it's amazing how different the houses look here. I remember on my first trip how I thought they all looked like concrete shoe boxes (I was a little more forthright in my opinions back then). I'll have to get some pics up.

I discovered when I put in my Irish sim card that it had expired because I hadn't used it for twelve months (was very unimpressed, because it didn't do that the last time), so I had to buy another one, which was no bother, but I forgot to get a charger at the same time; so now I'm sitting here watching the bar go yellow, and dreading the beepy noise it makes when it's dying...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Wow - break out the bubbles!

So I was thinking that the first post should really be a whizz bang thing; but now, of course, I can't really think of anything to say (apart from "I could do with a drink, this is stressful!").

I made it to Melbourne, which is more of an achievement than you might think, taking into account my severe myopia combined with a disconcerting ability to turn around twice and lose myself. Getting to Sydney was the easy part - I was dropped off at the airport by my parents and Mr. Pteranodon. I played hardball and deliberately didn't take tissues. The poor man at passport control looked several times at the picture; he should have been glad it wasn't the particular one of my seven university student cards in which I was a blonde. Getting from Sydney to Melbourne was more of an effort, and included losing my bottle opener (which, incidentally, I was allowed to take with me on board from Chch to Sydney - go figure). In revenge I managed to break the plane's hydraulic something-or-other (and there I had been thinking that my powers were on the wane because I hadn't broken anything for ages). This turned out to be rather inconvenient, because it delayed the flight for a couple of hours.

In Melbourne I heard a couple of Kiwi chicks talking about Robe Street and prostitutes while we were queing for the shuttle, so I pricked my ears up and asked if I could tag along with them on the tram. (Posterboy lives just off Robe St.) I am a tram convert. They totally rock, apart from the fact that they don't run after 1am on Saturday nights, and half eleven on Sundays. Lugging my suitcase on and off vehicles and down the footpath I cursed my inability to keep my luggage to 15kg, despite taking only one jacket and half my pairs (no, I don't mean literally, but I think I have an even number) of socks.

Number four on the list of Things I Must Do in Belfast: buy more socks.