Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Don't Feel So Good

Today is rough friends and family.  While you slumber I am up starting a new day.  Before I get to why I'm very sick today let me tell you about all the places I have been. 

I jumped on the Hop On Hop Off  Bus determined I was not going to be scared of getting lost.  I wanted to find that blasted whiskey shop.  I made myself get off the bus at quite a few stops, bought about 50 Euro worth of whiskey in little bottles that I can bring home in my limited one quart bag that you are allowed through airport security without checking the bag (I sure hope).  Anyway I then went to St Patrick's Cathedral and it was an amazing building.  I kept thinking how much Rich would love this place as he loves old churches.  I snapped some incredible pics I will post once home that will really amaze you.  They are in the middle of reconstruction of the church thanks to the Guinness family and it needed it badly.  It's an Anglican Church but is filled with gorgeous stained glass a few graves of notables from the community.  There is a statue of the Guinness patriarch on the front lawn that the Irish have jokingly dubbed, St. Guinness.  I bought a Claddaugh ring (Sterling Silver) at the St Patrick's gift shop along with a shot glass for my whiskey, some Irish Whiskey Fudge and a rosary that a friend of mine had asked me to pick up for her. 

Then the tour bus stopped at a Victorian Era pub so I had to go in (strictly to see the building--LOL) and I had a lunch of seafood chowder with delicious brown bread and 2 pints of Guinness.  I watched an older gentleman talk to this young gal about how sorry he was that she was in love with him but he had been very honest about being married and that he was not going to leave his wife for her.  I watched him pay for their drinks and leave the bar while the gal dabbed her eyes, put on fresh lipstick and left.  Very sad. 

I jumped back on the bus and by this time I was pretty tired so I went back to the hotel room to regroup and relax for a bit.  Then I decided to take a walk down Henry Street, a shopping street off the main drag that was PACKED with people.  It runs alongside the Spire, which is a silvery pointy structure at the main center of the city.  I like it but it's called (excuse the naughtiness) the erection at the intersection.  It helps to find your way around and is one of the tallest memorial statues in Europe.  It's built in memory of all those who fought for Irish freedom.  5-6 pm is a GREAT time to be out and about in Dublin.  Everyone is out of work and the streets are PACKED.  It's wonderful.  They have Christmas decorations up everywhere and everyday I pass by a storefront that has been gradually putting up a window display.  You know, the old fashioned kind where they have scenes you can admire?  Well this one is quite impressive so I knocked on the window and asked the young man doing the display if I could take his pic among the display.  He blushed and nodded and I snapped a pic I'm sure you will love to see it when I get back.  I stop everyday and compliment him on the single most beautiful display I have ever seen.  Sadly I won't see it done as I'm leaving tomorrow.  After walking around I decided to go somewhere that made my night a little more than scary.  Wait until you hear about this turn of events. 

I was up late last night with a couple of people I met at Madigans.  Madigans is a traditional pub about 2 blocks from my hotel.  It was the pub I ducked into to avoid that woman who was badgering me for money on my first day.  Well I meet a group and we partied there and then they took me up the street to another pub called the Woolshed.  It's a sports bar and it was PACKED as Ireland was playing a soccer match against Norway.  Luckily we found a table ok and had a great time for about an hour or so.  I was very very drunk as I'd already drank 3 shots of whiskey before I even went out walking so after about 5 Guinness I was pretty loopy to say the least. What I did not know was that one of the men in the group had taken a fancy to me and when I told the others I really needed to get back to my hotel and asked one to walk me back this man was very aggitated and announced he was taking me back to my hotel.  He said he wanted to take me back to my hotel bar and we could drink and 'see where things go'.  Well it made me very uncomfortable and suddenly I realized that I was very stupid. I'd let myself be led somewhere drunk and had no idea how to get back.  I was at their mercy as a tourist in a strange city.  VERY VERY STUPID.  I knew I wasn't far from main street so I started plotting it out in my head.  Unfortunately my head was spinning pretty good but I still had enough sense to realize I could be in trouble if I didn't act fast. 

When the others went to get more beer this man asked me to kiss him and I told him NO.  I then told him I was going to the toilet (can't get used to using that word instead of restroom) and made my getaway.  I snuck downstairs went to the head bouncer standing outside and asked him how to get back to O'Connell Street.  He told me I was only about 4 blocks away and pointed me in the right direction so I set out walking VERY FAST.  It was drizzling, dark, and I was drunk and by myself.  Again, very stupid.  Lucky for me no one messed with me, mugged me or worse.  As I started getting near the 3-4 block mark I asked a sweet elderly man standing in a convenience store doorway if O'Connell was still up ahead to make sure I didn't pass it.  He said it was the next corner and asked me if I was all right.  I told him I was now that I knew where I was going and thanked him for his concern.  The Irish really are a very generous, polite, and friendly lot.  I turned onto O'Connell thanking my lucky stars I found my way back and proceeded to go to the hotel.  I went into the bar and got some almonds as I needed some food.  I then went upstairs and was feeling quite sick.  I also felt rather sad that my experience at meeting people went sour but I still had a good time. I won't let one person ruin my night. It was fun until he got a little crazy acting so I will store the happy parts of the night and forget the bad parts.  I went back over my behavior and at no time can I find any reason why he would think I was going to take him back to my hotel.  I offered to buy a round of drinks when it was my turn but he said no.  Irish men do NOT let women buy them drinks, it's just not done.  But I tried at least 3 times so he can't say I was 'using' him for free drinks.  I certainly attempted to pay my way.

I laid in bed wondering what that man thought when I didn't return from the bathroom.  I felt sad about the others in the group but decided it was better to be safe than risk being in a situation that could prove very dangerous and I AM a woman traveling alone.  Lesson learned and I am the wiser for it.  I was very relieved to actually be ALONE with no one following me or showing up at the hotel.  I think he pretty much got the message and even though he was assuming a lot, I do think he was basically a pretty decent guy, he didn't try to come after me or show up at my hotel so I think he realized I said no and meant no. 

So in spite of my scary experience I had a good time partying and when I woke up this morning, OMG I am SO SICK.  It was a damn good thing I didn't fly out of here today or I have no idea how I would have made it. I feel horrible.  I have been drinking a lot of water and juice and avoiding a lot of food, which brings me to my only complaint about my trip. The food!  It's horrible here.  LOL, I thought Irish food would be great but about the only thing I like is the brown bread and scones (the raisin scones are horrible, too many raisins but the fruit ones are GREAT).  They make terrible coffee, their breakfasts are all fat and grease (they take little button mushrooms and throw them in a deep fat fryer) and their idea of stew is roast in beef broth with a filo crust on top.  It's just not good folks so don't come here thinking you're getting great food because you aren't.  Good luck ever getting chicken.  The entire menu is beef, lamb, and pork.  And the irony of it all is that they really pile it on your plate.  You get your monie's worth.  When you order chips (french fries) you get like 2 or 3 cups of them!  When you order scrambled eggs you get what is probably about 4-5 eggs!  I have not been able to finish a meal here yet.  I get too full.  And to be honest, bless their hearts, the food is horrible. I tried fish and chips and the fish was mushy and full of bones!  I can't wait to get home and have some good ole American fare.  I would KILL for some chicken wings right now.  I am missing it badly.  I haven't tried their versions of Italian or Chinese food, and I'm not sure I want to venture that way with a queasy hangover stomach. I have little whiskey bottles that need to be drank up today as I can't take them on the plane but I guess I'll leave them for the maid with my usual 2 Euro tip for her as I am NOT drinking today.  I'm probably going back to the hotel and lie down once the maid has my room tidied up.  I'm very tired and I want to relax and just leisurely stroll around and reflect on my trip.  I may venture down Henry street again and just wander main street looking at people and dodging the beggars. 

I love this country, it's beautiful, it's wonderful and I am SO glad I came here.  Believe it or not I totally HATE flying in airplanes so I am NOT relishing taking off over the ocean tomorrow but I will actually be really glad to get home. I miss my bed and my fridge and my American food and all of you.  I have enjoyed this trip and it was all I could have ever wanted it to be but I know that Dublin would not be where I would live if I had the choice.  It's wonderful to visit but I am an Irish-AMERICAN girl and I will be glad to step foot on American soil again.  It's fun to visit another culture but after awhile you begin to realize that this is THEIR country and you are but a guest, you are not at home and you don't belong.  Maybe if I wasn't alone I may have felt differently because I really haven't had much of anyone to talk to in the entire time I was here unless I was transacting business or buying something.  I took pics but I was very considerate NOT to snap pics where people could have their pic taken without their consent.  I have tried to be a considerate guest and hopefully that made my visit pleasant for them. One of the people I partied with last night was pretty open about things so I asked, 'Do you find it amazing that people come from all over the world to see your city?'  and the answer was, 'Yes, it's weird to me to see all of you on tour busses as I find the city rather boring.  Our economy is suffering so badly though it's good you come, it helps us out.'

All in all, I'm glad to have been here and I'm ready to come home.  I will not be finishing this blog until Friday night as I will be leaving at around 5 am my time to get to the airport and get ready to leave on Friday.  That is midnight your time.  My flight is at 8:40 am which is 3:40 am your time.  I will be home by 6:30 your time.  I will be trying to get readjusted to the time change before I start work next Monday.  Luckily I only work 3 days and then will be off for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I think it will be a while before I finally get myself back to normal.  I hope you have enjoyed my blog and I will type my last entry after I have returned talking about my journey home, customs, and my reflections post trip. 

I will be VERY CAREFUL today and I'm not drinking anything to give my body some rest time.  I will take it easy and I may or may not do a lot today.  A gentleman beside me in this internet cafe is having trouble with his computer and we were chatting a little.  I will sure miss the beautiful lilting Irish accents, they are so beautiful.  Bless the Irish for their warm hospitality and their loving welcome of me. 

The woman at the tourist center gave me the lowdown on the bus back to the airport and was very sweet.  She really helped me get used to Dublin and was the first friendly face I saw. She's an older lady with a big smile. I will miss Ana.  I will also miss Sean at the front desk of the hotel. He has had to reprogram my keycard a dozen times for some reason it seems to deprogram itself.  He just smiles and says that these things happen and fixes it for me.  He's probably my son Joe's age and he's a really nice young man.  And I will also miss the bus tour drivers who were so nice and pointed the way for me to visit stores, sites and other things when I stared at them with a blank face.  I will miss you all and thanks for a wonderful time! 

I love you family and friends, I will be home soon, HUGS!!

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