. When the girls finally arrived, Heather announced she was too hungover to drive and Adrian and I gave each other a look saying that we both immediately recognized the presence of a kind and benevolent force working above.
So I'm glad to report that the return to Dublin was an uneventful one. We went to the airport to drop off the car and bid adieu to my road trip-mates. At this point, the dream of Morocco was fairly dead, so I handed him my Southeast Asia cheat sheet and we said our goodbyes. I might've shed a tear, but I had a hostel to find, three girls to meet for lunch and a heavy drinking session ahead of me so I had no time to waste on nostalgia. I tried to go back to Isaac's, but they were booked out so I settled on Globetrotter's for an obscene 23 euros, the most I'd spent on a night's accommodation in 10 and a half month's on the road (Rome would have been more expensive, but we famously didn't pay for that one). I chose it because it came with a full breakfast and seemed cozy and spacious and a place where I could finally get a good night's sleep. I would come to learn that it was the worst money I'd spent since getting on a night train in Croatia.
I unloaded my gear and set out for downtown Dublin (which I had yet to explore since I came to town at night, immediately went to the pubs and then left the next morning) to meet Aoife, Gill and Shelley, my crazy neighbors from Ios
. Since I was especially lazy in my blog-posting during that time period I never introduced them, so I'll do it here. The three of them are crazy -- and I loved them. They moved in during the week and a half or so that I was living with Matt (one in the litany of Aussies I roomed with in Ios) and while Matt was too nervous to go over and introduce himself their first night I barged right in, beer in hand, and we've been friends ever since. Their apartment was generally my pre-gaming spot, where we played many a game of Kings. There was the famous night of Swedish Midsummer when I stumbled in in nothing but my boxers (this story might sound vaguely familiar to those keeping track) and proceeded to sit down and recite Irish slang such as 'yer man,' 'savage' and 'legend' in my 'brilliant' Irish accent. And did I mention they were crazy? I'd often be woken up (on the nights that I was lazy and went home at 5 am and skipped out on Sweet Irish Dreams) to their bleating Daaaaaaaaaaan, Daaaaaaaaan, like they were deranged, drunken sheep. There was the night that Gill, who had a bit of a thing for Matt, got so drunk she forgot Matt had been off the island for a week and broke into my apartment to sleep in his bed. This would have startled me a little more, if say, Aoife didn't make a habit of doing that in my bed on a semi-regular basis. Aoife and I had a bizarre unplatonically platonic relationship that really demands no further explanation.
So it was nice to sit down with them and eat lunch on their home turf, three months after I had left Ios
. We spent a few hours reminiscing and wandering the streets of Dublin until it was time for them to return to their studently responsibilities and it was time for me return to my backpackerly responsibilities and meet CJ at the pub. We started at Sinnot's, a classy little pub where we could have a few Guinnisseses and have some grub. We were sitting next to a single older woman who CJ dared me to talk to because he has a thing for older women and lacked the mineral to do it himself. So that's how we started talking to Carmel. Aside from her penchant to break into song it wasn't too bad until she said CJ looked like he was in his 30s (he's my age), fat, balding and in need of a new image. CJ responded with some less than tactful remarks and suddenly we had our cue to leave.
We moved on to another bar where CJ announced his intentions to be leaving shortly. Normally I would've hurled insults at him, but I accepted the fact that he was a working man and enjoyed the drink or two he decided to stick around for. We picked a bar that was holding trivia night, but we quickly realized the questions were absurdly easy and also could've very easily been answered with 'a dildo' or 'your mom.' CJ decided he was leaving, but I was sufficiently buzzed and had built up enough testicular fortitude over the course of my trip that I decided to keep my night going and try to integrate myself in the crazy, Viking-themed pub crawl CJ and I had been seeing all night
. And that's how the lunacy started. As it turned out the pub crawl was put on by RCSI (the Royal College of Surgeons...the I stands for Ireland) and was meant to be an icebreaker for all the foreign students. So that's how I became a first-year med school student. Before I knew it, I was friends with just about everybody on the crawl, especially the Norwegians who shared their Viking horns with me, while I told some people I was in RCSI and told other people the truth so I could glean some information off them so I could be a more believable RCSIer. As it turned out, about half the bar was celebrating a birthday. I was in a festive mood, so I was buying birthday drinks, and that's how I got in with the group of Northern Irish and was willing to be the foreigner to supply Laura with her birthday kiss. It's a dirty job but someone had to do it. By 3:30 I had decided I had inflicted enough damage and was looking forward to crashing hard, sleeping right up until checkout time when I'd eat my glorious free breakfast and then check out Dublin as unhungover as possible until it was time to fly out to Glasgow.
As it turned out, the operators of Globetrotters Hostel knew of my plan and were going to do everything in their power to foil my plan. I was awoken at 8:30 when the lights flickered on. In a word, I was pissed. Especially since there was a lightbulb right next to my eye. Over the last several months, I've shared rooms with plenty of rude, selfish, obnoxious people, but never with someone who would do something so ridiculous as turn on and leave on the lights
. I looked around and didn't see anyone so I begrudgingly got out of bed to turn out the lights. Only they wouldn't turn off. I would later learn that the lights were controlled by reception. Somehow the woman who I checked in with and so readily accepted my 23 euros failed to mention that this would happen. Since a nice long sleep was my number one priority the day before, that certainly would've been the deal-breaker. As a silent protest I walked barefoot to the breakfast in defiance of their shoes must be worn at all times policy. The cleaning crew also came in and started moving my stuff around a half hour before checkout time, so once again, I was less than pleased.
I still had several hours to kill before my evening flight to Glasgow so I decided to play tourist in Dublin for the first time. Like any good visitor to the city, I dutifully made my first stop at the Guinness Store House (which also offered a student discount -- Ireland, like the Czech Republic, was a country with its priorities in order). The Store House is massive, as the self-guided tour leads you up seven stories. In all it's a fun way to spend a couple hours. The first few floors are devoted to the beer-making process, but there was also a cool area that showed the history of Guinness' advertising lines and the history behind all the random cartoons. There were also floors with interactive games and information, but the highlight is the top-floor bar
. It's not the highlight merely because it's the bar and thus where you get your fresh Guinness, but because it's windowed all around so you have a fantastic panoramic view of the city. With Guinness out of the way, I proceeded to walk around in search of all the 'big things' on my map, the style of tourism that has yet to fail me in finding all the major highlights of each city I visit (assuming they have a gaudy map with large icons printed on it). I meandered the streets, checking out the castle, passing through the Viking District and Dublin's vast array of churches, highlighted by St. Patrick's Cathedral. With a couple hours yet to kill and my puppies barking, I figured I'd hang out at the hostel, catch up on some reading and some R&R and maybe make a friend to talk to for a little while. Of course, once the receptionist at Globetrotters realized I had already checked out, she kicked me out of the common room. Apparently, the common room is for paying guests only and she would be loathe if a guest couldn't make use of the common room because some vagrant such as myself was in his or her spot. This argument might have had an ounce of validity if, for example, I wasn't alone in the room. So believe me when I say this from the bottom of my heart -- Eff you Globetrotters.
If this was going to be the last morning Adrian and I would be together, then the least I should've expected was that I was going to receive a creative and, more than likely, unpleasant wakeup call. I've had soccer balls, balled-up socks, thongs (as in flip-flops), sneakers, all thrown at me. There's been loud music, obnoxious alarms and gun-shot farts. And this morning I was greeted with Adrian sitting down pressing all his weight down on my legs. We'd been out way too late and had to wake up way too early (to get Kate, Adrian and Heather to the airport to fly to London) for some stupid Skip to be doing this. The two of us got to the lobby when we all agreed we'd be ready to leave and then of course had to wait half an hour for the girls. With that extra time did allow us to do was devise a plan to talk Heather out of her absurd idea for her and Adrian to split the drive back down to Dublin. Not only was it ridiculous to split up a two-hour drive but, as I might've mentioned previously, she was a terrible driver and we didn't feel like going through the ordeal of having near-death experiences while also hungover and oh so close to completing the road trip