Belfast, at last
Belfast Travel Blog› entry 56 of 113 › view all entries
August 16th, 2008 – by: afredrix
I only had to spend one night at the hostel because a couchsurfer had indeed written back. Sean is a Belfast-born but New York City-raised Irishman and my host for the next few days. It coincidentally was a stressful, busy week for Sean, but I did alright to go about the city alone by day and join him for dinner and never-ending conversations by night. My last night there also happened to be his birthday, so we celebrated with a little ice cream and cake. It was the least I could do. Despite his stress, we seemed to click well and I was (as usual) grateful for a comfortable place to stay and interesting person to meet.
Belfast itself is also historically very interesting, as a city that sits in limbo between the Irish and British worlds.
I'm fascinated by historical events that my own generation has experienced, and being able to talk to people in those regions about them. Like the countries of the former Soviet Bloc, there's a level or surreality that comes with visiting a place I can remember thinking as a girl would forever be off limits to me.
The murals and territorially-painted curbs are limited to certain neighborhoods, and as you walk down the main shopping streets of the center, you can almost forget that there was ever an issue. But there's still something ambiguously coarse about the city. Maybe it's the kids. I'm not going to lie, they scare me a bit. They collect in little gangs outside of storefronts and on street corners. Wearing their track suits (the manufacturing of which, I'm convinced, has been kept alive by residents of the UK) and bellowing curse words at another little gang on the other side of the street.
There's a mysterious large, berry type of fruit that grows on bushes lining the river walkway and around the city. I now know they exist for the sole purpose of giving these little hoodlums ammo and had the personal pleasure of seeing one or two whiz by my head as I walked away. I luckily escaped, however, without a direct hit and could drop the internal debate on the appropriateness of clocking a little kid.
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