Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome to Dublin

Well, I have been in Dublin for 2 days already, although I just moved into my residence earlier today. Prior to that, I was staying at a hostel just north of the River Liffey. It had a great location, and I was a few minutes away from some of Dublin's greatest sights. It was a good introduction as I found my way around a bit, got a cell phone, and defeated my jet-lag. The following documents my time up until now.


Travel.

I'm pretty sure my eardrum ruptured on the plane. I think I am prone to ear-realated ills for whatever reason. Nance gets some nasty vertigo, (caused by an imbalance of internal fluids in one's ear which causes a sickening feeling of nausea and disorientation...like seasickness on steroids) and this also wouldn't be the first time my eardrum has "popped".

I was falling in and out of sleep on the plane for maybe an hour and thirty minutes, with my massive Skull-Candy headphones on, (they cut out ALL sound...glorious) leaning against the plane. I could feel how clogged my ears were when I finally took my headphones off.

As we started to descend, I frantically chewed gum hoping the pressure would release naturally. Instead, it built. I felt nauseous as though I were going to vom on the cheery old Irish guy who sat next to me. "Welcome to Dublin" he said as he noticed I was fixated on looking out the window onto the city below. I forced a smile out, but now I was sweating. The pain mounted, and I became fidgety, but there was no way out of this, even if there was I wouldn't care. I needed to get off this freakin plane. (There were 3 adorable, blonde, little, British boys sitting in front of me that spent the entirey of the flight jumping on the seats, playing peekaboo with me, or quoting "Goldmember" that they watched on the screen in front of them...Initially, I found them very entertaining and cute. They had tiny voices with British accents, and I fought the urge to ask them to act out 'Charlie Bit Me' for my own personal enjoyment. I thought their antics would die down. They didn't. Although I do give them credit for their stamina....)

Back to my personal hell. The plane is descending, and these kids still won't STFU. Now, I hate them. They were short enough to constantly move around, and seemed to enjoy the general awe of being in the air. I on the other hand could only imagine how I was acquiring Deep Vein Thrombosis with every passing minute. I felt like a calf doomed to be veal - unable to move, with people constantly trying to shove food down my throat. Seriously, how often do the flight attendents offer food? pretzels and a drink? another drink? dinner? more to drink? a light breakfast?

Well, we landed, I survived, (minus my ear drum which was damaged at best and ruptured at worse) and was completely exhausted. Yet despite my fatigue I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to sleep so I could wake up and explore.

Going through immigration was simple enough. The 'Charlie-Bit-Me' Family even let me cut them in line. That was nice of them, I thought...but why? Because I tolerated their children's incessant bullshit in silence? Whatever.

After the immigration guy told me he needed to take my picture, I got my answer. HOLY SHIT who the fuck was that HAGGARD looking woman staring back at me? Did the plane make me age 15 years? I looked like Amy Winehouse on a crack binge. If I ever see that picture of me again, I will get my hands on it and post it because it is that unbelievable. It makes my RU Fit Card look like a glamour shot. (The few of you who have seen THAT gem know the level of hideous I am talking about).

I was too tired to be embarrassed. Additionally, literally no one knew who I was in this city. I spent half a second concerned that if I met anyone famous in the next few hours I would be too embarrassed to approach them. This passing thought, however brief, was the indication to the small fragment of my still-functioning mind that I had become delusional.

I was thrilled that my cab driver was kind enough to carry all my luggage, since I packed everything but the kitchen sink. Literally I can't walk ten feet with my luggage, and surprisingly haven't needed to. (In retrospect, he probably took pity on my physical state, assuming the plane must have run me over a few times to make me look so...dreadful).

In my sleep deprived yet euphoric state, I made the mistake of chatting socc-FOOTBALL with my cab driver. I commented on United's huge victory against Chelsea as I glanced at the picture of Berbatov on the cover of his newspaper. He said he didn't take me for a football fan and then spouted off a slew of excellent swear-words. He was a Liverpool fan. I assume I'll be meeting a lof of Liverpool fans simply because of the proximity, I can very easily make a day-trip to L-Pool from here via ferry. Anyway, I couldn't understand this guy with his thick accent. I was exhausted and half-deaf at the moment, I couldn't hear anything in my left ear when I spoke.

I checked into my hostel at 7:30 am Dublin time, completely spent. I passed out cold for 5 hours. I ate breakfast when I woke up. This little hostel is situated directly below a main train line. I feel like James McAvoy in "Wanted". Every 8 minutes or so a train whooshes by so close that even after being here for half a day part of me feels it wil surge right through my window.

I wandered the streets, it was a pleasant day out. A bit of sun, no wind, Temperate.


City.

Dublin, it appears to me, is full of endearing paradoxes. Perhaps I have this perspective because I'm still such a stranger to it. The city itself is sprawling, yet totally walkable. There are no subways, which I am pleased about. I feel like despite their convienence, it would eliminate a bit of the personality of this truely ancient city. You need to know this city to a certain degree, in order to navigate it. Subways destroy that notion and make the city disjointed, impersonal, sectioned.

It's remarkable to me that cobblestone streets connect one modern building to another. This city has so much history layered on top of it. They isolate certain monuments to illustrate this exact point, (i.e. Dublin Castle, Book of Kells, etc). As intriguing as these sights are, I can't help but find them touristy. Of course, Dublin can and should cash-in on their ancient history (some of the sights are even free) What I would enjoy finding are more subtle examples of Dublin's history. The lesser-known history. I've yet to discover what I'm speaking of. I want my understanding of Dublin to expand beyond the recognizable nightlife, highlights from travel guides, etc. I have plenty of time here. I'm sure I can find my own personal piece/identity of Dublin.

Everyone looks like me. I blend in completely. As soon as I open my mouth, that's another story. "Are you Canadian?" this guy at my hostel asked me...What the fuck?...Well, I am..."slightly" Canadian, to be fair. Nance was born there. Anyway, the city itself is "diverse" in that it isn't COMPLETELY white, but just about everyone looks like me, for the most part. It's a bit eery, actually. Certainly in stark contrast to the streets of NYC where I am the minority.

Now.

I'm in Blackrock, at a cozy restaurant with Wi-Fi. United plays today but I have to leave before the match starts, unfortunately. I can't wait to watch a football game in a pub. =)

I moved in today, and met some of my floor-mates. I'm in what is known as the international dorm, so I was excited but not surprised to meet others from The Netherlands, France, and Spain, along with other Americans from Georgia and Cali. Not everyone is even moved in yet, I have only met a handful of people. I'm so excited for this all to begin.

My building itself is really old. It used be a convent. (insert joke about my juvenile behavior here). It has high ceilings, stained glass, even a dusty old organ tucked away behind one of the doors. I like it, it is certainly unlike any place I've ever lived. We all have singles, then share kitchens and bathrooms. I think it will be a perfect mix of privacy and interaction. I'm not going out tonight, I'm still tired and have orientation in the morning.

However, I anticipate my first night out will be tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. Rumor has it that my liver, is not.

1 comment:

the Sunscreen Queen said...

hi sliz... great post on Dublin! SO rando and povo but you are a good writer or some shiat!


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