Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 136. Uh-mazing Romantic Partner scores us this awesome first class-esque cubby stationed in the middle of coach with two luxurious spa type seats with full, horizontal recline, foot rests and lumbar adjustments. There is even a little curtain to enclose us in there. But a stern stewardess dashes that idea the second we sit down. “You can’t close these,” she curtly informs us as she taps the thick grey, pleated cloth. She is gone before we can ask her why. What does she think we are going to do in there? Oh. Right. Maybe 10 years ago but now, please, all I want to do is recline and rest. Because of our amazing digs, the flight over flies by and is comfortable and easy although I never really fall into much of a deep sleep. We flew from LAX to Chicago first and then from Chicago to Dublin. It is only about a seven and a half hour flight. They fed us a pretzel snack, an indiscernible pasta dinner and a croissant for breakfast. Next thing I know Ireland is in my sights! It’s partly cloudy with bits of sunshine peeking through. And it’s green. I guess I don’t need to Google why they call it the Emerald Isle.
My first impression after landing, besides that it is very green here and not very crowded at the airport, is that the countryside reminds me a little of the Midwest in the summer—plush green rolling hills. But that quickly ends when we start getting into Dublin. The brick buildings that line the street the taxi driver, Jerrold, is driving on the wrong side of remind me of a façade of a movie set on Paramount. Like if I look behind them, there won’t be anything there. Jerrold expertly navigates the roads and the traffic. He’s probably in his mid 50s, 100% bald, flat nosed, stout. Seems quite nice, down to earth and very authentic.
“Ow long er ya in Dublin?” We have to think. “Four days.” It’s quiet for a while then Jerrold begins to talk again. I’m exhausted so deciphering exactly what he is saying in his thick Irish accent is a challenge. I think he’s talking about the Irish taxi scandal the radio host is going on about. He keeps turning the volume up to listen and then down to comment. From what I understand, the taxi drivers have been putting a green light or sticker on their cab to denote they are indeed an authentic Irish driver. Code for, “get in our cab, we’re Irish.” The scandal is that the Minister of Ireland has blatantly called them racist. Any drivers of non-Irish decent are being cut out of getting fares. To me this would mean that anyone hailing a cab in Ireland must also be racist if they only want to get into a cab with an authentic Irishman driving it. “What’s this all about?” I ask. “Ter’s nutin’ raly goin’ on. Some colored driver musta complained,” Jerrold says. Yikes. Change of subject.
Jerrold then proceeds to tell us the best way to go from one side of the island to the other, the DART. He says to stop in several towns, none of which we can quite understand the names of. He pauses to talk more about a fishing village we’ll like with good places to eat and where we might see Bono because he lives there. I should have taken notes. I can’t help but ask about all the “Vote Yes for a working Ireland” and “Austerity isn’t working, vote no,” signs along the drive. Another bit of scandal. According to Jerold, Ireland has a vote coming up about whether to stay with the European Union. If they stay, “we’ll get money. If we don’t, we won’t. I’m more likely to vote yes so we get some money.” According to a recent Yahoo Canada article, “a May 31 referendum here asks the public to approve an EU treaty that aims to control nations’ deficits and longer-term debts. But critics say the treaty ignores the competing need to stimulate growth. Ireland, once staunchly pro-EU but increasingly euroskeptical, is the only member of the bloc putting the agreement to a national vote.” Way to be democratic, Ireland!
Before I can get too deep into the financial and political vote, Jerrold moves on to where we can get good, authentic Irish food near our hotel. I immediately perk up. “Go to O’Neills for a delicious, cheap and authentic Irish meal. And order a pint not a glass. Ladies are doing tat now. Then pour it in a glass. It’s a better deal, saves you money.” I like where your head’s at, Jerrold. This information I repeat over and over, “O’Neills just off of Grafton Street.”
We arrive at our hotel, The Morgan, at 10 Fleet Street. Their website describes it as the, “funkiest boutique hotel in Dublin.” This should be interesting. We get to the hotel at 9:30am. For a brief moment, it looks like we can’t get a room until official check-in at 3pm. Ouch. But Katarina, with a hint of some kind of eastern block accent, works her magic and gets us into a room that was just cleaned. Love her. We get into our room, it’s indeed funky, but fun. We have to call back down to the front desk to find out how to turn on the lights in the room. Silly Americans. We unpack, shower, face plant. After 24 hours, my good night’s rest before the flight doesn’t matter anymore. We wake up almost four hours later, delirious and groggy but ready to get out into the city. Time to begin exploring Dublin or at least get to O’Neills for a bite and a pint. I’m ready for a new experience!
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…new experiences.