These are my last few moments in Ireland, and I spend them in the airport writing to you, my droogies. Show some gratitude!
I capped off my trip with beers with my old friend John, who ironically was also spending his last night in Ireland, after being posted here for four years. So it’s a bigger event for him than for me. We imbibed those beers (well, beer, because the plural of beer is beer; elliptical sentences and all that) in a place called McGowan’s Pub, which was up the street from my residence.
What we were not prepared for was that it was singles’ night in the pub. All these eager and horny 20-somethings with nametags were clumsily getting to know each other, while we old folks tried not to judge them from the fringes.
Here’s a few seconds of the ambiance.
Here’s John in all his Guinness-y glory:
And here’s me, only one beer in:
But my spirits perked up when two things happened. First, when John ordered another round:
And second, when I discovered that the pub had an entire wall dedicated to Star Trek:
It was an interesting evening, allowing us to reminisce, reflect on what it means to be middle aged men (hard not to think about that when surrounded by young people in the pinnacle of their young peopleness), and wax nostalgic about the greatest era of mankind, the 1980s.
I wrote that solely so I could segue into this meme that I forgot to post earlier in the year:
If you didn’t get the joke, you’re a fucking nerd. And speaking of fucking nerds:
Earlier in the day, I had the great pleasure of having lunch with my former student Justina and her friend:
It’s a strange thing. I came to Ireland to have one of my old fashioned solo walkabouts, something I haven’t been able to arrange in years. Instead I found a veritable cornucopia of people I already know!
Speaking of cornucopias, we ate at one of Dublin’s most famous vegan restaurants, called Cornucopia. Here’s a selection of the entirely plant-based lunch specials:
The street music in Dublin is, of course, great. Sure, there were a lot of U2 cover acts. It seems everyone was singing an acoustic version of “With Or Without You.” My tabla-playing friend Kulpreet emailed me to comment that Irish music seems to have some Indian raga overtones, and I can totally hear it.
That was my clumsy segue to talk about the very brief limerick war Kulpreet and I had this past week. (Get it? Limerick? Ireland? Heh.)
This was his opening salvo, which wasn’t really a limerick but an attempt at a Canadian Irish ditty:
If I had a wife, the plague of me life
I’ll tell you what I would do;
I’d buy her a boat, and push her afloat
And paddle me own canoe.
I responded with:
All I have to offer is that you should try t say aloud, “Irish wristwatch”. You can’t. But Kulpreet sent a real limerick:
There was a young man from Limerick
who wielded a mighty big stick
but all that was hard
in a flash turned to lard
and she said boy that was quick !!
So I responded:
There was a young poet Punjabi
Who abhorred the taste of kohlrabi
He said, “Just between us
“It deforms my penis
“So my member’s weird looking and knobby.”
And he concluded:
that Guyanese fella, old and brown
wears two hats – professor, clown
up and formal
down and dirty goes to town
Kulpreet wins. The fucker.
Oh, gotta board!
Well that was a miserable flight. Mine was the only seat whose entertainment system didn’t work. And there was no power to plug in my laptop. And my head hurt too much to read. And the seven hours in a cramped seat did horrible things to my back. On the plus side, I got my vegan meals long before anyone else got their food. I love those envious carnivorous dagger stares from the other passengers.
I’m in Montreal airport right now, awaiting my connecting flight to Toronto. The woman across from me just photographed her bare feet. Let the theories begin.
And I just opened up a random episode of American Dad (season 16, episode 11). Guess what? It takes place in a Dublin airport bar!
Okay, final thoughts about my two weeks in Ireland. Yes, I’m a tourist and not a resident, and I only got to see three major locations. But I’ve traveled a lot in my life, and I honestly would rank Ireland among the best places I’ve been.
(Mind you, I’m glad I got the fook out when I did, since Conor McGregor is now punching out old farts like me in random pubs.)
I’ve long maintained that the best places I’ve ever visited are Turkey, Spain, and New Orleans, for reasons I won’t get into here. And the place with the most things I want to see and experience, but find too frustrating to go back, is Egypt. But Ireland is an easy trip with stress-free navigation, beautiful terrain, incredible food and beer, and very very friendly and lovely people.
The highlights for me were: (1) Goat puckery; (2) the Bram Stoker exhibit; and (3) the Killing Joke concert. Why? Because those aren’t typical tourist things to experience, or had special meaning to me personally. It’s always a special thing to experience a truly local phenomenon with the locals, and both Killing Joke and the Pucklord fest qualify.
And as John will remind me, all three of those events were accessed solely because he knew about them or arranged them. Otherwise I would not have known.
I’m disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see this hallowed and ancient cultural event. Maybe next time:
And certainly an unplanned and unexpected highlight was getting to spend vacation time with old (and new) friends whom I don’t get a chance to see regularly, due to their distance and busy lives. Here’s a pic of Kristine and Andrew helping me celebrate my birthday a day early in Killarney:
I did not visit the Guinness storehouse. My only reason for doing so would be to take some pics so I can tell my stats students about the Guinness origins of the Student’s t-test. But I can Google some pics of that shit.
I will say, though, that what they say is true. Guinness definitely does taste different –and better– in Ireland. It’s freaking delicious, man.
Apropos of Nothing
I googled my birthdate and “Florida Man.” This is what I got: