Halfton may not be the most relevant site to detail my trip to Ireland, but I did eat quite a bit of food while abroad and I will touch briefly on the things I ate here and there. I thought about using another medium like Facebook, but I feel that Facebook is lacking for laying this out in any rational way (other than seeing all the pictures in a photo album).
I frankly did not take enough pictures while in Ireland despite trying my hardest to just take pictures at random times. Generally when I travel I try to enjoy my experience and live in the moment without cataloguing each moment. Attempting to document an experience versus simply having the experience colors your interaction with those moments. I can’t say definitively that the experience is colored negatively or positively by this cataloguing, but I can say that it is nice to be able to vividly share some of my trip in several formats with my friends and family. All of the Irish people I met and befriended were incredibly gracious and forgiving of my ignorance of Irish culture and history. I can easily say, I want to go back to Dublin. If you’re on the fence about going to Ireland, get off that fucking fence and go already!
This is the song I had in my head on the way to Dublin (just swap ‘America’ with ‘Ireland’):
Okay, okay, I admit it, I didn’t actually think of this song while I was on my way to the Emerald Isle.
This was my first long flight in a while and I was a bit freaked out about it. Perhaps that’s why I got to the Detroit airport 3 hours early so I could sit and twiddle my thumbs (aka play some Bubble Shooter):
Apparently AirCanada/UnitedAir doesn’t have a huge call to fly people from Detroit to Toronto as we flew there on a 27-seater puddle jumper. I wound up in the last row which was more like a bus as the entire back row had seats, so I was positioned with my feet in the aisle.
The Toronto airport was a bit of a cluster-fuck. Whoever designed it apparently never:
1. Envisioned large amounts of people trying to go from point A to point B quickly.
2. Imagined people would want to sit before their flight.
3. Thought about crowd cross-traffic.
I was a bit of an asshole and didn’t know if we were going to be served dinner on the flight (I believe that information was printed on the flight itinerary, but I of course didn’t read through all of that) so I hurried into a restaurant to try and grab a bite before the flight. I had brought CLIF Bars but I was craving some hot food. The restaurant was not full or particularly busy, but it took roughly 15 minutes for someone to come offering some water and take my order. 30 minutes later my BLT and cup of soup arrived. I had about 5 minutes to wolf down my cold, soggy BLT and take a sip of bad Beef and Barley soup and I was on my way. Worst $20 dinner ever. From what I can see on the menu (had to look at the high-res copy I have), you shouldn’t go to Casey’s Bar and Grill in the Toronto airport.
Oh yeah, they also served dinner on the flight (I got the ‘beef’ meal which was basically a hot beef stroganoff, a roll with butter, a delicious/zesty corn slaw, red wine, and a little brownie/cake dessert), I could’ve totally kept that $20. On this particular flight (Air Canada, operating for United Airlines) offered free wine, beer, and liquor. I had two little Canadian Club shooters, popped two melatonins, and hoped for some sleep. I dozed for about 10 minutes and watched movies and Cowboy Bebop the rest of my time on the flight. If you have the dough, I would suggest upgrading your seats to First or Business class for an overnight flight.
After a bit over 7 hours in the air we arrived in Dublin. This particular section of the airport was being renovated and reminded me of nothing other than the Catholic K-8 School I attended, needing repairs and all. I unfortunately did not take more pictures of this section of the airport, but it was an absolutely odd experience. Oh, also, the ceilings were roughly 7 feet high, and the doorways were perhaps 6 and a half feet high in this section of the airport. Likewise, there were several sections where there were only stairs and no elevators. Good thing there were not any handicapped folks on this particular flight, they would’ve been fucked. On my return flight, I didn’t see this odd little, munchkin-ready section of the Dublin airport again. Here’s a quick shot of the Irish customs line:
I wandered out of the airport to find Phil (who instigated this trip to Ireland) and our friend Tim who would be our gracious host and tour guide for the entire trip. Some expatriates quickly assimilate the local accent, and as Tim has been in Ireland for 5 years or more I readily expected to be greeted in a thick Irish brogue. I was slightly surprised to hear Tim, more or less, speak in the same manner as he had when he lived in the US (later, I had pinpointed perhaps the only Irish manner of speech that Tim adopted, and that is how questions are asked. Generally, for an Irish speaker I heard the inflection for a question rise, and then drop on the last several syllables of the question. The result is a somewhat subtle difference in speech between an Irish speaker and an American speaker). Due to his altogether American accent, he is sometimes treated as a tourist despite living in Ireland for roughly half a decade. So, when he asked one of the airport folks where he could find the 16 line for the bus into Dublin, the young lady told him where and then proceeded to describe the color of the bus… never minding the fact that he knew the exact line he needed, was wearing a Manchester City hoodie (premier league soccer team), and when he heard in which direction the buses were, immediately started walking in that direction (also, they’re public city buses, they have generally looked the same wherever I have gone). Until he learns Irish or speaks with a spot on Irish accent, I imagine these kinds of minor mistakes will continue to happen (a minor gaffe of being overly helpful, what a burden to bear, right?).
I’ll pick up in the next post where I’ve left off here. Each post will generally be centered around ‘events’ and not necessarily a day to day account of what we had done.