Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Dublin, Day One

I arrived in Dublin after an overnight flight on which I didn't really sleep (I have no trouble sleeping in cars, or on buses and trains, but I find it really hard to fall asleep on a plane), and met up with my friends at our designated airport meeting spot. In a sitcom, of course, we wouldn't have found each other, or someone's plane would have been late, or the map of the airport would have been wrong, or an elevator would have gotten stuck with a pregnant woman inside, but actually it worked out fine and I found them without a problem and we proceeded to take a taxi to our hostel and explore Dublin. Here's what I learned on my first day in Dublin:

1. Apple-flavored soda is not that good. Cidona sparkling apple drink (slogan "It has bite"), to be specific. This will become a running theme -- I find foreign convenient stores relatively fascinating, and have trouble resisting the urge to try something I've never seen before, even if I have no reason to believe it's any good. So the apple soda. Not so good.

2. The Dublin Natural History Museum is free for a reason.

3. It's so nice to be somewhere where it's not 95 degrees outside.

4. Little children speaking in Irish accents sound much more civilized than American children. But grown men and women cursing at each other on the street in Irish accents don't.

5. Irish butter seems to be the same as butter.

We basically spent the day wandering around the whole city. Our first stop was the Dublin Writers Museum, which sounded like it could have been interesting but looked really underwhelming, and cost actual money, so we skipped it. As we were walking, an old man with a cane accidentally or purposely hit a younger woman on the street with it, to the effect of:

WOMAN: "Watch it, you old man."
OLD MAN: "Shut up, you filthy slut."

I really can't remember the actual words though. They sounded funny with the Irish accents.

We saw Trinity College, which is old. They sort the library books there, the tour guide said, by the size of the book. This seems strange. We saw the Book of Kells there, which is an old manuscript with fancy writing. There was a whole room with busts of famous people (Plato, etc) and old books. It was neat. The Trinity College tour was cool. Worth the 10 euros.

Lots of restaurants advertised things like Pizza + Mineral, which made me think Mineral = Mineral Water, but then I saw one for Pizza + Mineral + Water, so I'm not so sure. I still think it must be water, or else that's a lousy idea for a lunch special.

The Natural History Museum, which was free, compared unfavorably to any natural history museum that cost money. It was basically just lots of cases of stuffed animals. I mean dead animals that are stuffed, not Teddy Ruxpin. Lots of birds. The whole thing looked like a relic from the 1920s or so, before they knew that unicorns and phoenixes weren't real. They didn't really have any unicorns or phoenixes. But they could have. They would have fit.

Our hostel was dorm-style rooms with 12 beds (6 pairs of bunk beds) and a shower and toilet in each room. Given that, it wasn't terrible. The only weirdness was that the lights were automatic -- they stayed on until 11PM and then went off. We ate an early dinner and I tried to get to sleep before 11, but spent 10 minutes feeling like an idiot because I couldn't figure out how to turn the lights off (no one else was in the room at the time), until I gave up and went to sleep anyway, with the lights on. It was okay.

Other random thoughts:

"Left Luggage" means a place you can leave your luggage, not a place to find the luggage other people neglected.

Dublin has a bunch of electronic signs we passed yesterday saying how many parking spots are free in various areas of the city. Never saw that before. Cool idea.

One store had on its awning: "Probably the best coffee in Dublin." It needs some more self-confidence.

Fanta greenz, advertised on all the buses, looked to be the next sparkling beverage I should try. Apple, melon, and lime.

Movie theaters here are playing Fantastic Four, Wedding Crashers, and Herbie Fully Loaded. I was hoping maybe the Irish had some cool local cinema, but still looking.

The Temple Bar and Grafton Street areas were cool. Consensus, though, was that Guinness tastes the same here as back in the US. Oh well.

"Flanagan's Pizza" does not inspire confidence.