Friday, June 14, 2013

If we had blogs in 1997: Slainte!

Back when we had to walk to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways, I used to write in a journal with a pen. No one ever saw it. I've combined my old blogs with this one and have been going through some old ones. It occurred to me that I said some stupid stuff when I was younger. I was learning how to live in Washington, learning how to be political, learning about the Middle East, and a lot of what I wrote was garbage. So I decided to pick up my journals from college, starting with the one from my junior year abroad in Luxembourg.  I'm going to be posting excerpts from it on a regular basis. I'll keep spelling and grammatical errors as I wrote them. This will either be fun or horrifying. I'll write Mystery Science Theater 3000-like comments in red and italics.

This post could be subtitled "Learning about public transportation."

27 Aug - 28 Aug 1997

Feelings of panic as I boarded the plane in Cincinnati turned to feelings of excitement as I touched down in Atlanta. My plane was late arriving but so was my plane to Dublin due to a high speed car chase in which helicopters were hogging up air space. So I didn't touch down in Dublin until 10am Dublin time.

Right away I could tell Dublin was a different city than what I've been used to. Because my cities were Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio! The airport was small but crowded, mostly with the 300 passengers from my flight. My suitcases were extremely difficult to carry through the airport where a bus awaited my 2.50 pounds. I talked to an Irish guy not much older than me, mostly about Irish & American politics. Like I knew anything about Irish politics! At the busstop I had to maneuver my suitcases through a crowd to a taxi. The guy was really nice and gave me a brief historical tour of the city. I sat in the front on the wrong side of the car. I found the hostel I was staying in and checked in. That guy was also very nice - he even carried my bags downstairs to storage. (Unfortunately he knew of no one with an extra U2 ticket.) Then I was off to explore the city (but stupid I had my backpack on - big mistake. I walked all over the city - it was probably almost ten miles, and every muscle in my body hurts.) Dublin is a strange city. I've never seen architecture so old - it's haunting. My mission was to get a plane or rail ticket to Lux. so I wouldn't have to worry about it. On the way I found many sites I had wanted to see and finally got to O'Connell Street. I found a Burger King to eat at Oh the horror! just because I hadn't studied up on the good places to go. The reality is I was too afraid to go into places alone. Don't know why I lied in my journal. I got chicken "pick-em ups" and a d. coke w/o ice. This was for "take away." When I finally got back I was sitting in the lobby with others my age. I heard three different languages. It was cool; we're all so much the same. Groan. Now I finally get to go to bed.

29 Aug 1997

Wow. I thought I did a lot of walking yesterday, but today I walked into the next county, Dun Laoghire. I walked to the town of Blackfoot and ate at McDonald's just so I could sit down. Again with this excuse. Then I decided to take the train back, but I ended up in Bray. This is how I ended up there.

I had to mail my post cards so I went to the post office, which was confusing. It was huge. Then I decided to find Windmill Lane Studio, which was quite a walk. Windmill Lane is U2's studio. It was a pilgrimage, of sorts.  It was so cool. Graffiti in all languages was all over all the buildings down the street, almost all of it proclaiming a love for U2. I was not the only one there. Some guy even told me Edge was inside, which wouldn't surprise me. There was a security guard there that wouldn't let anyone through. When I finished taking my pictures and reading all the writing, I decided to walk to Dublin port. I walked forever down an industrial road full of dirty Irish guys. I probably walked 1.5-2 miles then I realized the port was a couple kilometers farther. By then my knees and ankles hurt so bad I could hardly walk. I was going to take a bus back but couldn't figure the sign out. I thought it would be awhile before a bus came, but as soon as I left the bus stop, one came and I missed it. Good thing though, because I saw the first Popmart '97 signs. I started to follow them. They led me to a football stadium that took me an hour to walk to. They weren't very far along with the stage, but the concert is tomorrow. I passed many cool houses, but no single family dwellings - everything was attached together, even an occasional meat market stuck in between. Again, I had not spent much time in a big city. The doors were cool - they were all different colors. Cool again? Did I have zero vocabulary? The stadium is right in the center of a housing division. They must have no zoning codes. The stadium even has a train running under it. *rolls eyes* I wanted to see if there were any single family homes, so I kept walking. I found a couple, but you could tell they were well-to-do. I guess the entire middle class live in apartments or doubles.

For some reason I kept walking, even though my knees were beginning to hurt. Perhaps you shouldn't have been so fat and out-of-shape back then! I was hungry and I thought I would come to a restaurant. I finally came to a McDonald's - honestly the first restaurant in miles. Good grief. (Quarter pounders are still quarter pounders and fries are still fries.) I could hardly walk so I decided to take the train back but then decided to go South. I told the guy at the ticket window to give me a ticket someplace south, so I went to Bray.

The train ride was beautiful - down the coast of Dublin Bay. I spent an hour there going in shops and sitting at the beach. When I took the train back, I rode all the way to the other end of the line, mostly because I didn't feel like walking again. When I got back to Dublin, I was ready to take a bus back to the hostel, only I couldn't figure out which way the bus was going, so I got on anyway. Dumb idea. It took me in totally the opposite direction I wanted to go. I started to see familiar things, but they were things I had seen while walking away from the city earlier. So I hopped off the bus and started walking. I passed the stadium again. (I forgot to mention that you could see the top of the arch from the other side of Dublin.) The U2 Popmart arch in the stadium. I'd been walking a ways then I saw a sign "City Centre - 2km." Another mile. When I finally got to my street, I went to a grocery store and found my favourite OJ - tropicana pure premium (imported from florida), some french bread, and some wierd potato stuff I haven't eaten yet but it smells bad.

When I got to the hostel some Italian guys asked me to write the words to the Star Spangled banner for them. I went out to dinner with them to this restaurant was supposed to be like an American diner. Simon wondered what coleslaw is and he didn't like it when he tried it. They asked me to go to museums with them tomorrow, but I need to look for U2 tickets and a place to stay tomorrow night.

Give me a break - I was from small town Ohio and was on my own in a foreign country at age 20. Haha. I had gone to Ireland the week before school was to begin to see U2 perform in their hometown of Dublin. I had no tickets, so I relied on scalpers. My wandering around the city became the typical way I'd see new places.

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