Here Comes the Sun

Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 21, 2006

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Our final day of the road trip was also our shortest day in terms of driving. This was good for two reasons. Firstly, it meant we could sleep in a bit. I've spent four days and nights on the island (can't say Ireland -- this is technically the UK) and all four ended late and started early, so sleep was a treasured commodity. Second, and more importantly, it meant we wouldn't be on the road as much. This day was also Heather's turn to drive and coincided with my turn to sit shotgun and play navigator. Devotees of the blog, or at least people who have kept up from the last few days might remember that Heather is a terror on wheels. Riding shotgun brings the terror to a new, higher level with the road, or at least whichever portion of it she decides to occupy at the time is right in front of you. Apparently with Heather driving it was not only my responsibility to figure out the map and the route and supply the car with music (but not, NOT, to fidget with the dial too much) but to read all the road signs as well. According to Heather, the only thing required of the driver was steering and, when the mood struck, shifting gears. I was so frazzled that I forgot to direct us through the town of Muff and seek out the local dive shop.

Fortunately, though, we were treated to the best weather of the trip -- more sunny and pristine than any of us could have ever mentioned for the north coast of Ireland in mid-October. We enjoyed the coastal drives and made a couple stops as we took the scenic route toward our ultimate destination -- the Giants Causeway. We first stopped at some old temple-y thing out on a nice green pasture with lots of sheep and then at a castle that sat right next to the sea. The castle stop included an illicit climb through a cave.

Shortly before lunchtime we finally found the Causeway, which was much more of an ordeal than we expected it would or it should have been. Considering it's the single biggest attraction in the region, we just assumed it would be abundantly easy to find the place. We also thought they would've covered their bases a little better, but they made it exceptionally easy to skip paying the 5 quid parking fee by parking for free in the restaurant lot right next to the pay lot. There's a long loop walk you can take up to the Giants Causeway and we learned fairly quickly that we did the loop in the opposite direction of what most people do. This turned out to be a good thing. As we zig-zagged down the cliff and went out for a walk along a ridge on the coast we were very glad we were going down and not up. The walk and the views were superb and we continued to feel particularly lucky with the sunshine we had.

Eventually we made it down to sea level and over to the actual Causeway. It wasn't necessarily as impressive as it had been made out to be, but it's still pretty cool nonetheless. The Giants Causeway is a series of cylindrical rocks of varying height that form their own patterns and little hills that lead out to sea. This also happened to be Adrian's turn to share the legend, and what we learned is that Adrian is a sick, depraved little boy. But that's why we love him.

We really didn't have any other stops after the Giants Causeway (there turned out to be a really cool rope bridge that we skipped because our map that highlighted the 'cool' stuff and overhyped it had made the bridge sound less than impressive) so we meandered along the coast while trying to figure out our plan for the night. We tried to salvage the previous night's goal of finding a campsite in a small town. But once again we came to the realization that all the campsites on the island were shut for the season. There was a 'hostel' in the town but it appeared to be a branch of the Irish equivalent of the boy scouts, so we didn't trust it one bit and went to our fall back plan, which was spending the night in Belfast. Thankfully, by this point, the sun had gone down and Heather had relinquished the wheel so I could breathe easy, relax my shoulders and unclench my rectum.

We pulled into Belfast around 8 and got to see most of the city as we drove around looking for a hostel. It looked like a nice city as we wound up and down the one-way streets but we never got to see the famous murals that were erected throughout the conflict that rocked the area. We settled on the soulless, clinical Hosteling International hostel because it was close to the Golden Mile and had a parking lot. The Golden Mile is the nightlife district of Belfast and if this was more than likely my last night out with Adrian (we were going our separate ways but there were rumors of a spur of the moment side trip to Morocco -- but that would require using my Dublin to Glasgow flight, skipping Scotland and going straight to London to fly down there and getting back in time to meet up with my parents who were arriving in a week and a half, in other words it wasn't very likely), we were going to make it count. We stopped at a place with a crazy Medieval theme because they had huge comfy throne-like chairs to relax in while we drank our pints and listened to the same old cliched Top 40 crap.

But after a little while The Untouchables came on to perform their set, and in a word, they were awesome. They were completely ridiculous but actually really good, and the lead singer was an absolute pisser as he played to the crowd between songs and somehow managed to pull off respectable covers of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy' and The Scissor Sisters' 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing.' The real entertainment started when we moved from our thrones closer to the stage where some guy with Bugs Bunny muscles started hitting on Heather by flexing his 'muscles' without actually saying anything. Nothing could get him to go away until I pretended (I swear!) to be a little gay and very impressed with his guns and asked if I could touch them. Shortly thereafter we saw him making out -- actually getting engulfed -- with a girl at least twice his size. I think Heather was a little relieved but also a little less flattered by the earlier attention. But she made up for that by quickly garnering a lot of attention from the lead singer. Unfortunately Kate was of the mindset that since she didn't want to hook up with anybody (she was Adrian's brother's girlfriend after all) that nobody wanted to hook up, so poor Heather went with out. Although that just might've been karma for all the near heart attacks she gave us on the road that day.
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