ARG, I spent about 2 hours writing out all the details of what happened
today and then Travbuddy logged me out and I lost it... WHY... Well, I
will try to recompse it, but I apologize for the lack of detail.
So, the morning before my friend Christine and I were supposed to leave
she came in my room and told me that she couldn't go anymore
because she had too much work to do. I still wanted to go, and didn't
want to lose all the money I paid on plane tickets and hostel
reservations, so I decided I would just go by myself. I was really
worried about this, since I don't have a lot of faith in myself from
time to time, so I hardly slept the night before.
"Ha'penny Bridge" You used to have to pay a half-penny to cross it.
I had an awful time
getting there, even though I managed to make the plane on time. I had
to get a cab at 4:15 in the morning, and then the picadilly line was
under construction so I had to wait outside in the dark when it was
40-some degrees by myself for an HOUR until it opened. Ugh. Anyway, I
managed to get everywhere I needed to be, and everything worked out. I
was pretty surprised by myself, actually. First thing I did when I got
to the airport was get euros and get a small street map/short list of
major attractions and restaurants of the city, and then found a bus to
take me to the hostel. I couldn't believe that nothing bad had
The good thing about traveling alone is that you can do whatever you
want to do, and you can do it on your schedule.
Walking into the Temple Bar area
So I decided to just go
wandering into the city, since I didn't really have any specific ideas
of where I wanted to go. Luckily, my hostel was walking distance from
the city center. I walked down O'Connell Street (one of the main city
streets) and looked at things around there. Then I crossed the River
Liffey and found the Temple Bar area. This is the artsy hang out in
Dublin, where there are a lot of pubs, hippie stores, music associated
buildings (record stores, recording studios, etc) and awesome vintage
clothing stores. It was neat walking around the skinny cobblestone
roads around here. Lots of tourists, of course. Behind this, the map
told me, was the Dublin Castle, so I walked over to see it. It was
pretty cool... after a while, castles are castles.
The square near Temple Bar
I didn't feel like
paying to go inside. I don't know if it was actually expensive or not,
but I kept getting realy confused about money while I was here, since I
have gotten so used to doubling everything in my head with pounds.
Plus, when I was in France four years ago, the euro and the dollar were
about the same. Stupid American dollar. Anyway, I walked around the
perimeter or the castle, and went inside the adjacent chapel, since it
was open. I think I have a weak spot for religious architecture,
because I swear, everytime I go into an old, beautiful church, I get
teary-eyed. I just love the attention to detail and the high ceilings,
and... I don't know. I'm a big nerd, I guess. There was a courtyard
behind the chapel, so I went and sat in there for a while trying to
take pictures of myself, since I didn't have anyone to take them for
Temple Bar. Apparently it is famous. To be honest, I didn't really look into why.
Again, big nerd. Man, I must have looked REALLY dumb, ha. Beyond
the courtyard I noticed the Chester Beatty Library, which, from what
I'd read about online, is supposed to be one of the coolest museums in
Dublin (and free!), so I went to check that out. It was alright. Lots
of religious stuff, and an exhibit about Asian brush art. Nothing that
I was really excited about. But oh boy, were THEY excited about this
Chester Beatty guy... they had placards up everywhere about how great
he was... apparently all you have to do it collect a bunch of old
stuff and then make a museum out of it, and then you get to be really
Then I don't know what happened... I think I was trying to find Trinity
and got lost, but I ended up in some shopping arcade (arcade = a
collection of shops in a little inside area.
Wall of Irish artists, I believe. The Irish are proud people. Then again, so is everyone everywhere I've been...
.. weird, I know). I got
lost a lot in Dublin. Well, not lost, but confused. The streets bend
around in strange ways, and they change names about every ten feet.
Also, the signs on the sides of the buildings are a bunch of lies. It
was really difficult to get around before I knew where things were.
Then I found myself on Wicklow Street, and bought a really expensive
hot chocolate at this Irish chocolate chain called Butler Chocolates.
Oh my gosh. So good. This chocolate is amazing. You must go to one of
these (they're all over the city) if you ever go to Dublin, you need to
check this out. Outside, they were already setting up Christmas
decorations in the street, and you could see everyone running around
going Christmas shopping. I don't care if it's too early for that;
seeing this made me really happy.
The Dublin Castle
Christmas is awesome.
After this I somehow came upon Trinity College. GEEZ! After walking
around the campus, I could not for the LIFE of me understand why Roisin
and Kieran had decided to come to UCI for a year after going HERE. The
campus is fantastic. The buildings are awesome, and just knowing how
every cool person to come out of Ireland went to school here made me
feel special walking around. I have this new thing I like to do (I
think I'm spending too much time alone, as I realize I do lots of weird
things like this now...) where I pretend that I live or belong wherever
I am, so I tried to act like I went to school there. It was pretty easy
sine my casual attire and bookbag made it look like I was going to
class. I think I gave myself away, though, when I went in to see the
Book of Kells
More of the exterior of the castle
It was pretty neat, I guess. I just knew it was a really
famous thing to see in Dublin, so I went. If you don't know, they are
just really, really, really old versions of the scriptures that were
(obviously) inscribed by hand. They were pretty, and definitely
intricate, and it was cool to see soemthing that old, especially being
Catholic myself. The best part, though, was the Long Room, which is
above the Book of Kells. It's got 20 or so nooks with lots of shelves
of super old books and a staircase to reach them by. I wish I could
have taken photos in here, because there was this wonderful picture of
an old metal spiral staircase in between two dusty bookshelved walls,
and I could totally imagine someone coming down that narrow staircase
with a handful of books to study hundreds of years ago.
A sweet wooden organ inside the chapel
By now it was starting to get dark, so I wandered back to O'Connell and
looked around at the shops for way too long. I don't know why I do
stuff like that. I don't have any money. I did see a nice sunset
though. Then I made my way back up the street to the hostel.
OOOOH no, you think the day is over, after I had a stressful morning,
and didn't sleep more than an hour the night before, but NO! put on
some nicer clothes and went back out because I'd bought a ticket to see
a show at the Gate Theatre, as recommended by Kieran. First I went to
get dinner though, and stopped into a fish and chips place so I could
get something quick. Then something very strange happened. I was
sitting and eating my cod and salad, and this girl, about my age,
definitely homeless looking, comes and sits across from me.
I LOVE this stuff!!!
me if I could spare any money to give her so she could buy some food.
It was kind of hard to say no, because she was sitting right across
from me, so I said "I guess so, and she asked if she could have five
euro. So I gave it to her, reluctantly, assuming she'd leave me alone.
But she totally didn't. She started asking me questions, and I told her
I was from California, and she said it's so nice that I have enough
money to do something like that, and I tried to tell her I don't really
have a lot of money and I'm taking out a whole bunch of loans, and she
told me I had really beautiful boots, and I was trying to eat fast,
because I wanted to get out of there so I wouldn't have to keep feeling
bad about existing. But then she asked me if she could have more money,
and if I gave her a ten she'd give me back the five, because she wanted
to get enough money so that she could sleep in a hostel tonight instead
of on the street, because she had to sleep on the street last night,
and some guys were giving her some trouble, and said to me, "You've
never been homeless, have you?" I told her no, and she said I'm so
lucky that I have a family that supports me, because she doesn't have
any family, and she kept looking at me so intently with her big blue
eyes, and I told her that I would just give her the ten.
Look at all the detail!
So then I gave
it to her, and she said, "Are you sure?" and I said, "Yeah, I guess,"
and then she kept the ten and didn't give me five back. I guess I
misunderstood. Then she was asking me for twenty, since that's how much
the hostel is, and I told her if I gave her anymore then I
was not going to be able to eat either, and told her I had a show to go
to, and got going. She told me thank you a bunch of times, and told me
how kind I was, and how she wished there were more people like me. Then
I left, and just felt really, really awful and used. I know that when
you do nice things for less fortunate people you're supposed to feel
really great about it, and I'm all about doing things like that, but I
just felt really, really awful.
Me trying to take a picture of myself walking... ha
I don't know if it's because I felt
sorry for her, and about the fact that there wasn't anything I could
really do to fix things, or because she completely took advantage of me
and swindled me out of 15 euro. I can't even describe exactly how I
felt... it was a weird experience...
Then I went to the show. It was alright. Going to the theater made me
feel less lonely, because it's something I do so often. However, I was
probably the only one in the room under 50. The play was called Festen
and was about this wealthy businessman having his 60th birthday party.
It was mostly about the relationships of people within a screwed up
family. Not too original. There were some shocking surprises that
unravelled, and the audience was gasping a lot.
Taking a picture of myself outside of the castle
A few of the actors
bothered me a lot, but I did start to see some of the effects of
physical freedom that we discussed in physical theatre class, which was
exciting for me. The pacing was really bad towards the end, for which
the director was obviously to blame. I think some of the people in it
might have been famous. I wasn't sure.
Afterwards, I walked home by myself. I was worried about doing so, late
at night in an unfamiliar city... I wish I didn't live in a world where
I felt like I should be scared of walking alone at night just because
I'm a girl... Nothing bad happened, of course, and I went into my eight
bed room, and slept with people I didn't know for a very long time.