Last Night in Cork...Then to Galway

Cork, Ireland
Ok, so I got some feedback that my blog is actually still 'in circulation'...good to hear. I just spent the last 45 minutes sprinting around all of Galway to find the 'best deal' on the Internet. My hostel charged 5 euro/hr (like $6.50 USD), but I finally found s place for around $4 USD/hr, so here is my last, likely $8, post. On my last night in Cork I went back to my room to shower and met a girl, also traveling on her own. She's been doing western Europe for the last 2 or 3 months. Her name was Boram and she was Korea. We talked for probably over an hour. Periodically she would giggle and it would sound like she was on a ventilator, but what was initially annoying became incredibly infectious. She was shocked with my love for kimchi and said the stuff is too hot for her. I went out to grab a bite to eat and when I got back she was already asleep. I fell asleep in bed reading my book, 'Dune'. The book, by the way, is the basis of the movie which my cousin Phillip really liked when we were younger, and we always said I should watch it...I'm reading it instead. It's allegedly one of the best science-fiction novels ever written...similar to lord of the rings. The next morning I woke up early...around 6ish. Packed my bags and was off for my long trek to the bus station...with my broken duffel bag.

Galway, Ireland

My bus left at 7:45 and I passed through Limerick and some other larger cities. I arrived in Galway a little before noon. My bus ticket wasn't too bag...16 euros, just over $20 USD. When I had left for my trip the exchange was about 1.25 USD to 1 euro. A few days before I left India for Ireland it was up to 1.28 USD to 1 euro. The last I checked it was way up at 1.38 USD to 1 euro...shit! O well, we're only talking about a total trip increase of 50-70 USD, as as the famous James Bond title goes, 'I'll live another day'! I walked to what I thought was my hostel when I arrived. I double checked my reservations in my book and discovered my hostel was Snoozles in and NOT Sleepzone. My hostel was not in my lonely planet. Luckily I had jotted down directions in my scrap notebook while in Udaipur, India several weeks ago. I followed the directions, but they were ambiguous, to say the least, and got lost again. I finally asked the information office at the bus station and was correctly directed to my proper hostel. It was less than a 3 minute walk. So I had just wasted over an hour walking and looking for my hostel...but I did see much of the eastern part of the city, which I would not return to (there isn't much there). I dropped my bags off at the storage facility since my bed wasn't ready until 3:00...this seems to be the norm. I took hold of my bible and went out. I walked through Eyre Square and then took a sharp left to head into the city center. Before heading into the heart of the city I wanted to get all the tourist things out of the way, since they were a little out of the city and I knew I would want to stay in the city center later. It turned out that the Galway Cathedral was much closer than I had expected. It was beautiful, but you can see that for yourselves. I walked back into town along the river and took some photos. I walked along the outdoor market on Church St. where they had wine and cheese shops. Then I strolled up and down Store St.. There were street performers all over, despite the cold weather. Some people played the violin, others a guitar, some danced, and other yet made balloon animals. I was scouting a place to sit and read some of my book when I finally spotted an opening at a wine bar and restaurant called Martine's down on Quay St. I got some cream of vegetable soup with some soda bread, which I absolutely LOVE. I was writing in my journal and started to read my book when I felt like chatting. I made small talk with a couple that sat across from me. The woman was Swiss, but has been living with her husband in Ireland for the last 6 years. He's Irish himself. We talked about Galway and my travels and they had said that Galway was a great place to be at this time of the year because the weather isn't too bad and the tourists haven't flocked here yet. We talked for over an hour and then I departed to see some more of the city. I walked down by the Spanish Arch and along the docks. I got back to my hostel around 6:00. I relaxed a bit and made friends with some of the people in my hostel. I made plans to go out with Tim, Teagan, and Margot. They were Aussies studying abroad in Leads, England. They where in Ireland for just a few nights. We walked down to the city center again and looked for 15+ minutes for the best place to eat. Some places were too expensive (actually most were) and others were pubs and had stopped serving food. There was the 6 Nations Championship FINAL that afternoon and the pugs were PACKED. Wales played Ireland for 1st place that evening. It was 14-15 with Ireland loosing with less than 3 minutes remaining and Ireland pulled off a win of 17-15 at the last moment. There had been MANY people from England and Wales on my bus from Cork going to Galway, as well as others on buses from Dublin to Galway. I guess Galway is the place to go to watch that sort of thing? People were drinking all day for it and it was packed...everywhere. We finally found somewhere to eat, but had to eat outside since there wasn't room for us inside. There wasn't anyone actually eating outside since it must have been in the low 40s or upper 30s, plus being on the ocean (and even closer to the river) there was a chilly breeze. We all ordered the same dish since it was on special...only 9.50 euro. I am just going to upload the photos on the picture site instead of in the blog so make sure you check there. Afterwards we went into a pub and it was PACKED. We all ordered some drinks. I got a Coors Lite...which I was actually shocked to see they had on tap. I have never paid 4.50 euro ($6 USD) for a pint of that before. There was live Irish music and everybody was dancing. The band consisted of three men, a violinist (or violist...I really couldn't tell), an accordion player, and a guitarist. It was very fast and it was quite a sight to see the Irish Dancing of the drunk (or nearly drunk) locals. We decided we didn't want to spend the money to keep on drinking and we left after 1.5 hours or so. We got back to our hostels and chatted in bed for a bit before going to sleep. At 2:45 in the morning we were awoken by some drunk people that apparently in our dorm. They were well-drunk and one of them was trying to introduce himself to me. I said I was sure he was a nice guy but it was too early for me to know my name and goodnight! The lights went on and off for almost an hour and they were still coming and going until well past 3:30. I finally got back to bed, but was woken up before 6:00 by the ridiculous snoring from the guy sleeping under me. I have some type of anger problem because I wasn't just upset I couldn't sleep, but I found a deep hatred for this man. He had a piggish nose, well suited for the animal noises coming from him. Maybe he was a rugby player himself and had gotten hit in the face too many times...he sure looked the part. I weighed my options. I could strangle him and force him to stop breathing, and thus snoring. After hours of deliberations I deduced that this would just mean I would likely be imprisoned and it might be tougher to sleep in a prison cell. I decided against it and just got washed up and ready for the day.

Thus my day started bright and early at 6:00 (with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep). I met a guy downstairs names Derek who was from New Jersey. He was on spring break from his Senior year as a Civil Engineer. We talked a bit and I turned on the TV. Thankfully they had satellite and I was able to find something agreeable to watch...How It's Made! Too bad I've already seen the episode. from 7:00 to 9:30 breakfast was served...toast with butter/jam,..again. I poured myself several cups of hot tea with milk and got 4 or 5 pieces of toast. I waited and waited until my Cliffs of Moher and The Burren tour departed at 9:45. While waiting I met a German girl who had been living in Dublin for a year and is planning on moving to Vancouver with a friend in a little bit. I do NOT respect that type of lifestyle. She works at a book store now and doesn't know what she'll do once in Canada. I would feel to empty if I had no career of my own. I won't get into this too much since my opinions are LIKELY (VERY LIKELY) to upset many. I have drive and passion and WILL make a large imprint in humanity from the products of my mental faculty. I have practiced for years and will continue to peruse this ambition. For a person to just wish to travel somewhere and 'do' whatever he can to make a few bucks...then pack up and do that again, witch no long term plans...I don't know if I find it more despicable, shallow, or just incredibly said. People derive happiness from many different places, and that is a very important characteristics of life, but it saddens me that people don't find pleasure in their career and thriving for ambitious goals. I've met SO many people complaining about the horrible conditions of certain regions of the world and 'yada yada yada'. But it's these same people that have no 'profession' or 'unique talent'. Did they go to LAW school to peruse public policy...NO! I've met people that talk about how horrible it is that India doesn't have drinking water. Yet, most of these people just work an unskilled labor job to save up enough money to travel around. They travel to India to make their (in my mind, meaningless) complaints about humanity, yet they themselves are easily dispensable humanity. Sure they mean something to their friends/family, but to humanity? You see where I'm getting at. They are content with making an observations about the world and do nothing about it. Pathetic, sad, choose? Maybe I am just too young and pure and haven't had the enough grind of the workplace to kill my spirit, but it will be a hard battle and I won't give up anytime soon. I see people without limbs, diseased, starving, etc. I would not DARE say, 'How horrible' or 'someone should should do something'. My mind's gears read 'How can I help that person' or 'I wander what efforts I can make to ensure the child gets dinner tonight'...thus my interest in biomechanical engineering.

The Tour to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren was great, but too long. I have been used to traveling on my essentially this entire several months and don't' like a guided all. It was tiresome being on the bus and having to always report to certain places at given times. The landscape of The Burren was magnificent and the Cliffs of Moher were great. I wasn't completely taken aback, but was still impressed. I think ignorance is a great thing to have when one travels. Knowing things kills the excitement and wonder of typical things. Knowing about plate tectonics, geological formations, glacial retreat, and the like take the splendor out of such things as the Cliffs of Moher. To be fair, at the same time, it makes me appreciate other things. To be discussed at a later point. I don't mean to rant again, but it's been quite some time since I've met someone with whom I may bounce back Ideas. I like the travelers that I've been meeting here in Ireland, but find that many of the travelers in Asia were 'cooler'. Here is an analogy I've devised to contrast travel in Europe and Asia. Mind you I've only traveled in Ireland and Rome, but from what I've gathered I think it still holds:
'Imagine you're at a video store searching for a DVD to watch that night. You can choose a.) the familiar big-production comedy you know you would like, or b.) the unfamiliar film that could either vastly disappoint or revolutionize your view of the world.'
This is how I see travel in Europe (mostly Western Europe) and travel in Asia. Europe is nice and you know you'll find the comforts you can find at home. But it doesn't help you grow, 'as a person' other than cultural awareness. Although even in that respect western views are all very similar. If I where to travel for a short time, sure Europe is the place to go. If I wanted to travel to see a couple of things then Europe is the way to go. But in the respect, why not just travel within in the much is being missed? Drinking in an Irish pub was nice, but the atmosphere isn't much different in an Irish pub back at home. The people speak in a different accent, but what you talk about is the same. Everybody in the bar is likely the same religion and have the same concerns about, school, job, sex, etc. You CANNOT reproduce the atmosphere from ASIA. I guess what I've learned about traveling is that I like learning and growing as a person from it, and this just can only marginally be done when traveling to a place SO similar to your own. I think of it like this: (I rant because this is my last posting)...
Our views, perceptions, sense of reality, and truths are all outputs of our own mind's function. This function, call it conscienceless (or a soul for the religious out there) generates an output from a provided set of variables (call them inputs). These inputs are all unique to the individual, and thus the outputs are all unique. Many inputs are pushed on an individual like, say say religion onto a child, many many are self motivated. These inputs are what makes us unique, they are one's: bank of knowledge, life experiences, developed skills, abilities (innate or developed), etc. Disregarding the process of how we see reality etc, let's focus in on the inputs, which are easily modified and increasing. I posit that increasing the amount of 'inputs' (be it through travel, learning, reading, training for a sport, etc) provides a more accurate, and therefore better, output. In short, being a Renaissance Man, or a person with an ever increasing bank of variables is the man I want to be and think everybody should strive for. How can having a diverse set of talents, skills, and experiences hinder one's view of life? Some people are content as they are and that is one thing I PRAY I never subject myself to. A life of being content. Who ever said being happy means to be content?...I digress...
Today I was planning on going to the Aran Islands or Connemara, but the weather isn't too nice and I don't want another tour. the Connemara national park is closed until April anyways. Today it was misting and may rain later in the day, a high of 49 degrees F. It hasn't rained on my ENTIRE trip thus far and today is likely to be the first/last time it will. How symbolic, to rain on my last day of the trip...I'm just going to walk around the town and have a few beers in some pubs and some more soup and soda bread. I'm getting into my book, though it takes me forever to read it. It's so complicated, but good none the less. Tomorrow I catch a 3:30 bus to the Shannon International Airport, but have to wait until 10:30ish for my airplane's departure. I am scheduled to fly from Shannon to Chicago via Dublin and then to Cleveland from there.

Conclusion of Trip
Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and share with me in the joys of my travels. I hope I have not offended any of you. And to those of you that I have, you don't me well enough..or perhaps you've gotten to know me too well. I mean no harm, just some cerebral entertainment. I don't want to be ending my trip. I will try very hard to be able to do something like this again in my life, but that's easier said than done. I would most definitely do it alone, or on another independent tour. NOT a tour group. Europe is nice, but I'll save the 'easy watching comedy' for my later years and enjoy the more unique (rich in learning and adventures) locales of the world for my next journey. This blog has cost me more then $10 USD so I hope it is enjoyed! Much love and farewell.