So yeah, To fly standby you are forced to achieve a state of mental and emotional detachment lest you become the epicenter of a full blown case of air rage ,you have to learn to exist inside the belly of the beast..the D3 designation that accompanies airline buddy pass travel means that you are the lowest of the low in terms of priority and consideration..Airline staff will treat you with all the contempt they can muster which is quite a lot ,I can only imagine this is the result of years of putting up with the stupidity and ignorance of paying customers without any sort of outlet..so be it! consider yourself fair game.. "Oh you're D3?" I could practicaly see the foam forming at the corners of her mouth ,savoring the meal to come..
Anyway all that aside I did manage to get on all the flights I was listed for but was regulated to coach after they offered some cheap Business upgrades to the real peop..I mean passengers..I can't help thinking that the conditions in Coach must violate some international treaty somewhere ,of course my back always feels worse after long periods of inactivity so I admit that I was a bit grumpy. the only other incident was that I had the misfortune to have to sit next to an older lady who was flying over for her brothers funeral naturaly she was an emotional wreck and managed to parlay my pity into to ownership of the entire rest of the middle row for her naps..
Arriving in Dublin at 7:30am is not something I would recomend , the airport itself is in the process a badly needed upgrade and is not capable at this point of handling anything remotely like traffic My fellow americans began the usual rounds of whining and yelling and generaly fussing at everybody and anybody that would listen ( Our tourists are notoriously easy to spot)..Its true that we were in line for immigration for almost an hour and a half but you see this is the sort of quaintness that I love,Americans have it way to easy and can't seem to appreciate that this lack of expediancyand convenience is a clear indication that they aren't in Kansas anymore, why spend money on all the hassle that is traveling over seas and then bitch about how things are better back home.
My friend being the lazy ass that he is couldn't be bothered to pick me up from the airport so I grabbed a cab and gave the cabbie address in Lusk, he promptly got lost upon entering Lusk and after asking for directions twice he had to call Oliver ( my friend) and get directions..Taxi's aren't cheap iether especialy considering the Dollar's current condition,I think I paid almost 50 U.S for a 10 minute cab ride.
Oliver and his wife Anne live in the town of Lusk which is located about 30 minutes by train from Dublin or as the blurb says
"Lusk is charming little village located 23Km (14mi) north of Dublin City Centre. Features include a delightful thatch cottage on the way into the village and a formidable looking building which includes a round tower"
Its small and quaint but not twee..on a side note: ever since the E.U came into existense Ireland has seen a steady influx of people from all over europe which I must say has made visting there a much more multicultural experience than it ever was when I lived there back in the late 80's..more on this later.
Oliver works full time and is working on a computer science degree and is also expecting a child this summer which of course means that his time is actualy valuable (unlike my own)..so it was really nice of them to put me up for a few days :). Upon my arrival I was informed that the only shower in the house was broken and poor Ollie spent an enormous chunk of time on the phone with the plumber, his wife and his wifes brother (who as it turns out is also a plumber) Many angry words were said and many tears shed before the new shower was installed at an inflated price (according to the brother in law)..nothing like a commitee to foul up the decision making process eh?
pictured above is Oliver ( caught in a moment of unbridaled broodiness) with his wife Anne and their nephew Dylan aka the unstoppable force. Obviously a post shower incident moment.
Anne is a brick by the way and I mean completely unflappable, Zen like a Zen Master.
So I spent the next couple of days walking around Dublin and enjoying the trains and general ease of commuting around, an experience alien to anyone who lives in Texas. That Friday we all headed down to West Cork or Bantry in West Cork to be precise, a place of fond memories from my illspent youth..so we got the train to Dublin's, the light rail through town to the main station and another train down to Cork city..this only takes a couple of hours and anyone who has ever traveled by train can attest to the general air of civility that is endemic to this product of a previous age ,Planes are filled with need, exhaustion and the fear of death, trains are repleat with a rolling snack bar , comfortables seats and a panoramic view of the countryside rolling by..This experience though wonderful lulled me into a false sense of security in terms of Travel..the Dreaded Bus to west cork was the last leg of the journey.
I had rationalized that the Bus couldn't be as bad as it was 20 years ago, after all when I left the country , Ireland was still economicaly drepressed and therefore one expects certain things to be below average.. but in the interim there was the rise of the mighty Celtic Tiger, everyone had cars and cell phones, realestate development was rampant and it had all gotten bright and shiney like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow..surely some of that bounty had trickled down to the public transport system even in the wilds of Cork County..also Memory tends to play tricks and I thought that perhaps I only hated the Bus because I was a whiney teenager..Apparently my memory wasreally good and its is true that some things never change..I have to say that in the face of all the dramatic changes I had seen so far it was refreshing to find myself somewhere familiar. even though I was hating life I felt like I was 15 again..oh wait...
The buses themselves would appear to be the same actual buses from 20 years ago ,although some genius had thought it would be a good idea to mount a video camera on the front of the bus and transmit the signal to a 30 inc flat screen monitor inside the Bus..I am guessing that this was supposed to be aestheticaly pleasing or to be some kind of attempt at a diversion to pass the time,but it only served to amplify my queeziness. I once heard that the roads were original mapped out by using a Bullock with a stone tied to his tail and where ever the stone fell the road would follow..It actualy seemed like a plausibe theory at the time.
OK so really, Bantry is really pretty but it's the kind of pretty that tends to gall after a bit , like too much sweet and I found myself sneering at the magnificent and verdant views around every corner...I mean Bord Failte really needs to give that shit a rest so we all don't get burned out on the twee factor ,I would advise throwing in the occasional landfill or penitentary just so to break up the monotony of the rolling green hills and picturesque thatched stone cottages surrounded by Lambs gently bleating..UUghhh Anway Oliver's Mom picked us in town and off we went ,her name is Marlise and she is also of Swiss German extraction but has lived in Bantry as long as I have known her..I hadn't actualy seen her in almost 20 years but I had spend a great deal of time at her house along with several other runagates and knaves of my aquataince, so she after a few awkwards moments we were all talking and laughing and it was as if the years in between had never gone by . Her house is amazing and I will provide evidence of this fact asap..it is perched atop a mountain with views of Bantry Bay and more mountains behind ,It had 3 bedrooms, two baths a kitchen ,a living room and a conservatory which in my mind was the absolute best spot in the house, When we first arrived it was raining and the cloud was hanging over the mountain so the house was engulfed in a thick fog while the rain came down pretty fierce. I felt as if I was aboard a ship. Oliver's sister had also come down to visit with her son Dylan,(pictured above) naturaly the last time I saw her she was still in primary school , shocking that she is now a beautifull and accomplished adult with a son in tow.. Dylan..well he deserves and entire chapter of his own.. He really likes rap and breakdancing so naturaly I tried to teach him some Capoeira movements which almost lead to some serious injury as I feared it might given his shall we say strong personality...ok so I need to go to bed but I will be popping back in to add to this behemoth task as I can... thanks for your patience
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