Cities: Back on My Good Side

Trip Start Jul 28, 2004
Trip End Sep 21, 2004

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Flag of Ireland  ,
Thursday, August 5, 2004

I left England with a smile on my face, since the British woman who checked me in for my flight found it "smashing" that I had no sharp objects in my bag. This attitude, coupled with their tendency to tell you that everything you say is "brilliant," leaves the visitor with quite a sense of confidence.

Dublin surprised me, in that I really liked it. Oddly enough, since I've accepted that I really dislike cities, I've been able to enjoy them more. With the pressure off and expectations low, I'm able to notice the little details that make a city unique--the brightly colored, lacquered doors standing out along a wall of dull brick, the nooks and crannies of quiet solitude in a sea of chaos. I walked all over the city, listening to conversations and looking for clues to its character. I also took in the requisite sights--the Book of Kells was, as expected, astounding, and the museum was well-done (and so was I by the time I reached the Vikings, after a full day of touring). I stopped in for an overpriced pint and some traditional music before wending my way back to my little hotel.

I'm here during the height of tourist season, which makes everything a bit crazier but also provides for some amusement. My favorite thing that tourists do is to come to a sudden dead stop, in the middle of heavy human traffic, to pull out the map or camera. Oblivious to the Domino Effect he has created behind him, this tourist knows only that he's going to find the damn museum, and he's going to find it now. Though I'm thoughtful about pulling over to look at the map, I know I'm just as obnoxious with the camera. Can''m in oncoming traffic. Not to scare anyone at home, but I'm not entirely clear on how I haven't gotten killed yet.

I did come close on the 20-minute walk to my hotel, when I was nearly crushed by the three tons I've decided to carry on my back. I reached the hotel and immediately went into a manic flurry of discarding random objects from my bag. This is my second flurry of the trip, and if I keep up the pace I'm going to return home with nothing but a toothbrush and a change of underwear. So far I have not gotten desperate enough to dispense with my wide array of hair products, but I did cut my soap in half and slice out irrelevant sections of my guidebook. I'm not going to think about what this says about my priorities.
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