Jeggings are the new pink.

Trip Start Jan 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 09, 2010

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Where I stayed
Christa's Apartment

Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Friday, January 29, 2010

So we got to Dublin yesterday at around 2:30 PM. We really had no idea what we were doing, so we walked around for a bit until we found a cab that would take us to Christa's apartment. She didn't live that far away really, but it was too far for me to want to lug all of my baggage around to her apartment. So, Erin hailed a cab and he helped us get our stuff into the trunk and then off we went. At first sight, Dublin looked like any other big city for the most part, without the sky scrapers and stuff. Traffic everywhere, people running across the street all of the time and crazy driving. From what I could tell, people don't really use their signal lights to turn on the street and also, Ireland is one of the countries that drives on the other side of the road. I am just figuring out which way to look when crossing the street. Unfortunately, all of this new found wisdom will go to waste since France drives on the same side of the road as we do. Oh well.
(Side note-- I found out that the reason we drive on the right side goes back to the time of Napoleon. Apparently, we started driving on the left side of the road in order to free up our right hand for swords while driving, which goes back to the time of the Romans and the chariots. When Napoleon took power, he changed the rule to the right side of the road because he could to prove his power. This carried in to the US, but not into the UK and Ireland retains this from the days when they were a part of the United Kingdom. Interesting, right?)

Anyway, we got to Christa's apartment and the fare was 9.90 Euro and I went to go pay the cab driver and he looked really confused because I gave him 12.00 Euro. Apparently, you don't tip at all for the most part in Ireland. I learned this in Galway when I instinctively tipped the bartender. I guess its belittling to pay them since it insinuates that you are higher than them. I knew that in certain countries you should or shouldn't tip but I forgot in the heat of the moment. So its probably best to check that out before you enter a country. Also-- for the most part, theres no tax on a lot of things-- in Ireland, at least. The tax might be built into the price, but for the most part, when they say 4.95 Euro, thats what it is. If you do pay tax, you can request a VAT form, and when you fill it out you can take all of your receipts and forms, they will refund you the tax money that you spent at the airport when you go to leave. You aren't technically living there so you shouldn't have to pay the taxes to the country. 

After we relaxed at Christa's for a bit, she took us out to show us around and we headed to the St. Stephen's Green shopping area. St. Stephen's Green is a park but along the street that it is on, there is a complex of some sort-- a mall, really. The street was like Times Square meets 5th Avenue or something. It was a center with a lot of people hustling and bustling (and the Irish walk really fast) in and out of stores and restaurants. There were street performers-- some people singing, playing music, etc. It was cool to see and interesting to experience. I didn't buy anything because I am cheap and was also worried about sticking to my weight limit for the plane ride to France on Monday, but it was a good time. However, let me bring this point up again. I am not a fan of Irish fashion at the moment. It's like the 80s puked on the stores. They have "jeggings", which are like stretchy, legging like pants that are denim and everyone wears obnoxious colors and sequins on their clothes. Jeggings, skirts and flashy tops are all the rage. I pray this look does not come to Niagara. Even men wear the extremely tight jeans. They are really revealing and they look skin tight. Almost every store that we went to had men wearing jeggings and really pointy looking boots with crazy styled hair. Not all guys look like that, just the fashionable ones I guess.

After shopping, we came home and made dinner and then went out to see The Pianoman and the Mean Fiddler at a pub around the corner. They were really good so it was a fun time. The Pianoman played the piano, obviously, but also did the vocals, while the fiddler was just crazy. Not only was he really good, but he danced, laid down bent over backwards and upside down all while playing the fiddle really fast and really accurate. They had a nice mix of music-- a lot of it was American classics like "The Devil Went Down the Georgia", "Don't Stop Believing" and "Sweet Home Alabama", but they also played Irish songs like "Galway Girl" (which Ashley and I have heard like 15 times since arriving in Ireland). Overall though, it was a fun time and I highly recommend finding a pub that plays traditional Irish music or some variation of it while you visit. It's fun, fast and everyone gets into it. We already had two pints in us so we were getting into it and singing along with the rest of the bar. The Irish are fun at night.

We tried to go out to the clubs after the bars but some of us only had our student IDs and apparently they don't accept them in Dublin. I don't know if it was just for the night, but for clubs, they tend to ID even though you only have to be 18 to drink-- but bring your passport or ID out if you want to go clubbing.

Things I learned today:

1. Tires is spelled Tyres in Ireland. And super might be spelled "supper" but I'm not sure. I saw it on a shirt in a store, haha. 
2. I already knew this, but figured I would say something. Chips is what they call fries. So don't go and order french fries. Also, condiments aren't necessarily free here, like ketchup and mustard. Sometimes they have little packets on the table of vinegar, ketchup and barbeque sauce, etc. but other times they don't and you have to order it on the side and it will cost you a eurocents. 
3. If you aren't using the facilities at a restaurant or pub, they may charge you to use the bathroom. Public bathrooms aren't necessarily free. 
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