Hello, hello, hello! It is I, the one and only (since I destroyed the Good Twin) Jenni Brown. Reporting in from a hostel called Barnacles in Dublin, Ireland.
You read that right, my friends.
I'm in Dublin! We came here today from Galway, a smaller town a fair distance away. Tomorrow the group is headed to Trinity College and the Dublin Writer's Museum. No sign yet of the book I want to get by the author who lives here which is not yet available in the States (Skulduggery Pleasant 4, Derek Landy). But the experience so far has already been worth the months of work and saving and scrimping and thiev-er-jet lag.
Which is the answer we (the pilgrims) have decided to use for any wrong doing. Jet lag.
Now, prepare for an onslaught, beginning from day 1 in Ireland:
April 27th, 2010
Lacking a solid and constant availability of internet powerz, I have decided that I shall simply type up my experiences as they occur, and then post them all up in a heap on SKaM when I have the opportunity. There was a very anxious moment where the over-priced universal-mabob for the crazy outlets here on the other side of the pond wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted it to; I realized after a bit of trial and anxious error that my netbook of awesomeness has a converter built in, which means that A) netbook and iPod shall live throughout the tour and B) I wasted thirty-five bucks at RadioShack on a fancy converter.
But enough games!
Today, thirty-nine other students and myself traveled up to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced closer to ‘more’ than ‘mow-her’ in the slinky dialect of the locals). The rabble (my peeps) may better recognize these by the name of The Cliffs of Insanity!
The Cliffs were gorgeous; phenomenal, breathtaking, I took many photos and will do my best to share them with as many people as I can. Standing so close to these green-ribbed behemoths, with their white-capped toes hundreds of feet below, I was caught up with thinking of who else had seen this wonder, who had been inspired by it, and how. The wind howled and cold little blips of rain flecked all over; the wind was so strong that it practically pushed you in through the door of the little castle/watch tower that you’ll see several photos of.
I had intended on risking my foolhardy neck by edging as close as I could on my belly and taking a photo straight down for an incredible aerial shot of the cliffs and the water below, possibly later photo-shopping myself into the shot with a black mask, climbing up with my bare hands. However, I was stopped by a small garden dedicated to those who have previously died by the Cliffs; furthermore, a sign which plainly asked that visitors honor the garden by not crossing the wall.
April 28th, 2010
Across a ferry where the definition of sea legs was discussed (I have mine, others didn't) we made it to the island of Inismore. Beautiful place, long bike ride which my group stupidly took up the longer, higher side, thinking we'd find seals but finding out we went the wrong route (and eventually learning that YES, it is possible to go uphill both ways!) we eventually made it to Dun Anges (forgive me if I'm spelling it wrong), an ancient fortress. The fortress itself is amazing, old enough that its ownership is uncertain, and giving one chills of ghostly imagination. But once you enter, then travel up a small door, then traipse along to your left...there is a sheer drop off of a cliff. No sign prohibits you from inching along on your belly and then staring down, down, down several hundred feet to the crashing, impossibly blue surf below.
The wind whips your hair and you can't stop a grin from plastering across your face. You don't know the meaning of 'breathtaking' until the very ocean is challenging you.
Later that night, a few of us slipped into a pub. There was a soccer game on so we didn't get to hear the live music, but we had black currants all around (I shocked the bartender by giving him a ten cent tip ((the "T'anks a lot!" was well worth it))) and the atmosphere was great. No tattoos--this time.
April 29th 2010
Up early and only slightly conscious today. Showering at night is a good idea, so I don't have to worry about just stumbling into my dirty clothes and having the combined bad odors offending my classmates. We got our awesome bus driver, Bart, again today. He has a PHD, a Doctorate, and a second PHD. He's the most knowledgeable bus driver any of us have ever seen, and we've learned more from his commentary than we have from any books.
We went to W.B. Yeats' grave today, which nearly satisfied our combined morbid fascination with cemeteries as well as deep poetry. Being in the place where Yeats was so inspired, I felt strangely close to him. I wonder where I'll find my great inspiration; it seems as if every great author has one.
From Yeats' grave to the Yeats museum. I felt rather bad because I was exhausted, and kept nodding off during the lady's wonderful, informative lecture. I still managed to learn a lot, and half the group was in a similar state, so I assume it's alright.
On the way out, I and a few others were casually snapping pictures; of the museum, of the bridge nearby (everything's green in Ireland apparently applies to the water, too) and of the statue of Yeats. All of the sudden a wiry Irishman slips up in front of us with one arm twisted around his back and the other clenching his elbow. He hissed something at us about being members of some organization none of us had heard about before. I thought he was joking at first, but the tension didn't leave his stature and he snapped at one girl who tried to respond to "be quiet, let me talk and then you can talk!"
He proceeded to ramble quite heatedly about how taking pictures of him was 'psychological assault,' and that if we didn't desist he would 'reciprocate.' He paused to let this sink in (we three responded with "Uh...") then continued in the same heated tones that he would take pictures of all of us if we continued, and make them available to such and such group so that we would all be recognized globally. He said something about how some sort of rules applied to daughters, wives and girlfriends of members of such and such secret police. At one point, when saying how we all knew these rules, he stared firmly at me and snapped, "In particular, you!"
I'm still not entirely sure what he was on about. When he stopped, we blinked a few times. Then there was this exchange:
Me: "Sir, I'm sorry if-"
He: "My name isn't 'Sir,' it's Paul!"
Me: "Paul, then. I'm sorry if we offended you with taking our pictures. We were just taking pictures of the Yeats Museum."
He: -gestures angrily- "The Yeats Museum is over THERE!"
Me: "The Museum, the river, the bridge, the statue. We're just students from Brigham Young University, in Idaho. We're just tourists."
He: "Yes, well, I'm sorry if I caused you duress, but you-" some word I can't remember right now that means 'started it' "-it by taking those pictures."
Me: "Well...again, I'm sorry, but we didn't mean to offend you. We're just here for school. We're just taking souvenir photos of places."
Then he huffed a bit, made a hand gesture, and stalked off across the street.
The bus ride away from Sligo was mostly spent dozing. Then we arrived in Dublin, and I paired up with my delightful buds Gabby, Tempe and Sara and wandered the city a bit.
And now you're all caught up!