Wander and ponder (part II)
Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
80Trip End Dec 05, 2005
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* I've noticed Irish drivers seem to be much more pedestrian friendly than drivers in the UK - they often stop to let you cross the street. This, of course, does not apply to taxis.
* Ireland is known for their friendly people. I can't say that those in the city (Dublin) seem all that friendly, but the people I've met in other parts were nice. They want to know what you're doing, if you have any Irish heritage and wish you luck in your travels.
* A smoking ban was put into place in all of Ireland as of March 29 (yeah!). Before the ban, a lot of pubs and restaurants were worried they'd get fewer customers but that doesn't seem to be the case. Now you see groups of people hanging around outside the pubs smoking. It's pretty nice being able to go out and not smell like smoke when you come home. I think I heard the EU was planning on putting this into effect for all member countries.
* The driver I had for the south tour introduced me to the term "session". From what I gathered, it's going to the pub with friends for drinks. Example: "O'Malley's pub is good for a session". I didn't quite figure out if a session was just one round of drinks or time spent at one pub. Like I think you can have a session at one pub then another session at the next pub.
* Like the UK, the main thing to do in the evenings seems to be to go to the pub. I haven't found much else. (While having a cold, it made most nights kind of boring 'cuz I didn't want to drink and make the cold worse.)
* There's not a whole lot of recycling here like back home. UK it was very hard to find recycling containers. Ireland is better (some places in the city for cans and bottles, hostels recycling) but not great. I'll have to see what the rest of Europe is like.
* The situation in Northern Ireland still seems messy despite there being a peace agreement. There's a lot of tension between the Protestants and Catholics. Both groups have a few military groups policing and fighting though I don't think most the people really support their methods. Another interesting tidbit one of the drivers told us is that the IRA has killed more Catholics than the police force, British army and Protestant military groups combined. I guess the IRA has a tendency to "eliminate" people that they think betrayed their cause. I have no idea how to fix things in the north. I don't know that anyone really does and that's why the problem still exists. I guess there's just a fragile peace while they try to figure things out.
* A couple people have asked me if I'm going to skip Spain and/or Madrid since the bombing, or if I'm changing my travel plans. Hell no, would be my response. The terrorists are trying to scare people and I won't let them frighten me into missing sights or altering my plans.
* When I tell people of my travel plans and sometimes what I hear from people back home is "you're so lucky to get to do that!". Ya, but I don't know that it's all luck. I chose to travel. I saved money and made sacrifices in spending to get to do this. Anyone could do the same, they just have to make the choice.