Dublin Travel Blog› entry 5 of 48 › view all entries
I like Irish people. Every time we've walked around the past few days, people would randomly say hello or start a conversation or offer help beyond what we asked for. I also love that so many of the old men wear tweed caps.
There was a lot of Guinness consumed as well as various Irish whiskeys (though the latter not by me). We visited the Guinness brewery, Malahide Castle (home of the Talbot family for 800 years! they only moved out of there in 1973), the seaside town of Howth, Powerscourt Gardens, Trinity College and the Book of Kells.
It's interesting because all the people we spoke to - whether students, cab drivers, bartenders, whatever - all seemed to want to leave, as much as they loved Ireland. Though Dublin was a ton of fun for the weekend, I guess it might get boring if you lived there all the time. Of course I'm sure the small number of folks we talked to are not representative of everyone there, but anyway, we were lucky this weekend 'cause the weather was really not bad, and while cold, we even had several hours of sunshine.
By the way, did you know only 20% of people spoke Irish about 10 years ago? Apparently there's been a movement to re-introduce the language in schools, so in another 10 or so, a much greater percentage of the population will speak/read/write. Our cabbie told this to us on the way to Powerscourt Gardens; he himself went to an Irish national school growing up. We also discussed other important topics like Tom Cruise's sexual orientation and Britney Spears hehehe.
So there was one really funny incident the first night I arrived. After Erica and her brother picked me up from Dublin Airport we headed for dinner at some Korean restaurant in her neighborhood. When we got there, all the tables were full and the host sorta asked us if we were chinese, then led us down these really rickety stairs in the back and to this little room through the kitchen, where a bunch of asian dudes were sitting at a table, and there were others singing really bad chinese karaoke in an adjacent room.
I actually felt kinda special at first, but after a while, it did get to be stupid sitting down there, since they never stopped by to ask if we needed menus or wanted to order or anything, and the karaoke machine started malfunctioning and making really loud screeching noises. Erica was pretty pissed, and we ended up moving back upstairs and waiting for a regular table, but the funniest thing was that when we originally got down to the basement area there wasn't even a table available for us. What the host guy did was literally go up to the other table of men who were already sitting there, not saying anything to them, and straight pulled away half of their table - again, WHILE they were sitting there - and dragged it over to our side of the room. Hahaha. Well maybe you had to be there. In any case, the restaurant was interesting because the menu was all Japanese and Korean food, but the owners were all Chinese. Their bulgogi dish was good though oddly soupy, but everything else was just eh-okay. Apparently Dublin's not known for its stellar cuisine but we actually had a lot of tasty stuff this weekend.
In terms of Irish-y foods, Erica and I had a Gaelic boxty before I left for the airport, some people ordered a Guinness and beef pot (sorta like a pot pie with just beef and guinness in it) at a restaurant called Dandelion, and we ate fish and chips in Howth, which has a reputation for the best fish and chips in Ireland. The Gaelic boxty was beef filet in some kind of creamish sauce, wrapped in a potato pancake. Most cultures seem to have some kind of thin pancake-y type deal - like we had a masala dosa the night before, or the french have crepes, or like chinese mushu wrap skins. The fish and chips in Howth really were good, but i'm generally a fan of fried foods anyway. My uncle read my blog and told me I should be careful not to gain too much weight - he's probably right but i feel like it'd be worth it : ) The chips (fries) here are good 'cause they use new potatoes, so they seem to turn out tastier and sweeter than back home. The fish was super fresh.
I stayed with Erica and her two roommates Priti from Canada and Jean from Malaysia this weekend. They have a nice place in Smithfield with 3 bedrooms and 2 bath, super conveniently located. Erica's brother also stayed with us, and Warren and his 4 friends Norma, Steve, Lisa, and Carol rented an apartment not far. Erica and her roommates all go to Trinity, and Priti came out with us Saturday night. She's hilarious because she has an obsession with that Akon song I Wanna Love You and listened to or watched the video a billion times this weekend. She backpacked with her friend and 2 sisters for a month in Europe so had some great tips. Erica says she may come meet me in France for Easter weekend - hooray!
Friday night we went out in the Temple Bar area and hit about 4 or 5 pubs, ate some late night pizza, got quite toasted. Saturday we went to Samsara and some club-ish type place called Odeon, but even that place was more like a bar with a dance floor. Mr. Simon came out to meet us Friday night, and Erica, her brother and I ended up crashing at his friend's house 'cause we couldn't get a taxi to pick us up before 6:30. Simon's friend was so awesome because they all had to leave at 5:30 to catch a plane to MV sales conference, and Simon basically woke him up and said Hey there are people in the living room and we need to leave in 5 minutes and they can't take off for another hour is that cool? And his friend had no problem with it at all! So very nice and such hospitality : ) Oh, and we also met a Scottish Elvis out on Friday night hahaa. He said I made him feel tall.
So one thing - both in London and in Dublin I've mostly been hanging out with friends I already knew from back home. It's a great and super easy way to start my journey, but funny 'cause I almost don't even feel like I've left. The combination of visiting English-speaking countries and hanging out with expats makes it seem like i'm just hanging out with friends, only against a different backdrop.
In other news, I missed my flight back to London so I had to pay 74 Euros to get a new ticket. I was really lucky though 'cause the next plane was only 45 minutes later, and my original tickets were super cheap anyway. Decided I'll give myself wayyy more of a buffer for my next flight.After I returned, Google Matt took me to dinner at this Turkish restaurant called Kazan, where we ate cold mezza and drank fancy cocktails, then went to a bar on the corner called The Camel and an old school English pub called The Cardinal. We then walked past Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace because everything looks different at night and took more pictures. I still have to figure out how to best use my brother's camera at night. Matt takes good pictures and has been to places all over like Iceland and Morocco and Spain and China. V nice v nice and it was a lot of fun.
As a final note, I've uploaded pictures from my arrival in London up 'til the night before I left Dublin. You can find them here: http://goodfarmerchen.smugmug.com/Round%20the%20World%20in%20(1)80%20Days
It's actually a lot of trouble to upload pictures to this blog, because each one has to be individually selected. I may do it at some point but only when I have more time. K will post more later about my March 13th visit to Bath. Bye!