When I arrived at the airport the genial, white-haired customs official asked me why I was in Dublin. When I told him I was a writer doing a bit of research for a book he quickly stamped my passport and wrote something in it. What? No one ever wrote something in my passport so, of course, I was anxious to read his note. It said: “30 days. Business.” I feel so…blush…validated! Here I am in Ireland, the home of how many? famous writers, and I am here on a 30 day business visa. One of my fellow hostelers was complaining that they had written “six days” on her passport because that was the date of her return ticket. Not moi!
Speaking of hostels…deciding to stay at at a hostel was one of my better travel decisions (we won’t even BEGIN to compare this to the “Belize incident”!) This is one of the best trips ever! Traveling alone can be such a drag...especially in hotels or resorts where everyone is family or coupled up. I have gone DAYS without so much as a hello from anyone, all in their own world. I'm not saying I blame them, of course, just stating a fact that doesn’t suit me. Well, last night I had dinner with two gals in their twenties (both named Rachel) and it was a RIOT! I'll e mail post the silly photos on Facebook when I get home. (I forgot to upload the software for the new camera on this pc.) I had my first glass of Guinness and loved it but the waiter said it didn't count because I took someone's suggestion and tried it with black currant. He said: “Your first Guinness should be plain, in a pint, and served by a cheeky waiter.” I told him: "Well, I've got the cheeky waiter part right!" It was fun to banter with him. I'll be visiting the brewery tomorrow so that should be my first “real” Guinness.
I am really enjoying staying at Abigail's. I'm sure it's noisy as hell in the summer with the windows open but now it's doable. All my roommates so far have been fellow teachers. I guess some of us take the job at least in part because of the vacation time! I’ve met people from New Zealand, Australia, California, and Hong Kong. Although I’m still on my own, I get the feeling that most of the people here would be approachable if I wanted or needed to speak with someone. And last night the two Rachels and myself had an inane, mostly one-sided conversation with a quasi insane resident named Charlotte. Suffice it to say that speaking with her made me feel as if it were the 60s again. Things like this certainly add color to the experience of travel!
Right now I'm in a bright, populated lounge. The tv is on, people are ambling in and out, and one of the Rachels I had dinner with last night chatted with me a bit. I’ve accomplished some work on Brandy. This trip definitely resolved a few questions about the direction of the story and has added some authenticity to Brandy’s experience.
Tonight I had dinner in a French place - Leon's on Exchequer Street - recommended by a friend of a friend who lives in the area and she was spot on. The food was amazing and they even had La Religieuse Choclat! My very favorite French pastry in the world. I really enjoyed it and, since I’m on a business trip, it might even be tax deductible! ;-)
Happy New Year to all! I will be spending New Year's Day in the Irish countryside on a tour.