Part II: Dublin, Ireland – The People, The Friends, The Sweatpants
January 13, 2013
January 13, 2013
Going any place where people speak with foreign accents instantly turns you into Madonna.
After about a day in Ireland I was speaking (and acting) like Rita from Arrested Development much to my husband’s deep chagrin. But despite my ill-received fake accent, one thing was clear: The people in Ireland are charming. Friendly. Deliberately photo bomb-y.
From our tour bus driver who gave me a rib-crunching hug for tipping him (and that is not a euphemism) to the adorable Irish sales clerk at Ted Baker on Grafton Street who complimented my American accent.
Her: “I just love your accent.”
Me: “My accent?” [swooning and blushing and a flash mob all soon followed].
I thought the only accent I had was my non-Hallmark-verbose mouth. But I’ll take it.
Europe is a magical place. It lets you see other cultures un-Americanized. It peer pressures you into drinking. It makes you realize you say “awesome” and “cool” way too much for your own comfort.
One day in Dublin and it was clear. I am not a teenager anymore. But I do know how they should dress. And it’s certainly not in tights paired with crotch-revealing shorts.
But wait. Yes. Yes it is.
The rules for the Dublin youth are simple. Sweat pants for the males, complete with sweatshirt hoodies and gangsta moves. Shorts and tights for the females, cigarette in hand. Note: ass crack must be dangerously close to showing on either of these.
The teens travel in packs, with one female for every three guys. Put ‘em together and baby you got a stew goin’.
Or the most epic face palm in the world.
At Temple Bar we met a pair of Germans. Maybelle and Mark. We danced and sang along to the Cranberries circa 1994. Just let that image burn into your mind.
One thing Europe does is instantly make you have low self esteem. They spoke better English than we did. They know two languages. I can barely form a sentence as I’m scooping cake into my mouth.
Bridging the culture gap was interesting. After about three times I gave up trying to explain what public relations meant. And still we managed to have fun together and have actual conversation. They bought us drinks. On our third round, my husband turning down the offer, the German boyfriend, Mark, stared at us blankly. We do not accept no, said his stare.
So, relenting, we drank more.
Damn those Germans.
The owner/bartender at the Ha’Penny Inn, chatted us up all night. Dad-like, grey and wise, he warned us about staying away from Romanian Gypsies with a serious frown on his face.
That is all.
And that is fucking awesome.
This is what life and Twitter is about. About two years ago I met Hubert O’Hearn on Twitter and stayed in touch ever since. He’s a great writer and inspiration and when he moved to Ireland a meeting between us was in the making.
We shared a pint (or maybe three) of Guinness at a pub in Dublin and spoke of Irish and writerly things.
It was damn cool. And surprising. I met a social media connection face-to-face and was not shanked.
But seriously. I jest. Meeting Hubert was a dream. Great guy, great conversation, always a great story.
And to steal Hubert’s words, “It figures that friends from Phoenix and Thunder Bay would finally end up meeting face to face on O’Connell Street in Dublin.”
It figures, indeed.
Our last night in Ireland was New Year’s Eve.
A leprechaun copped a feel but that’s beside the point.
After slumming it at the tourist-infested streets of the Temple Bar area we decided to take our thirst for Guinness to a more local pub called the Stag’s Head.
There, my husband and I met two Irish gents who offered to take our photo for us after I was caught fumbling with the camera. We started to chat and ended up at the bar until one in the morning. They knew more about American politics than I did. They cursed more than I did. They drank Guinness faster than I’ve ever seen a mofo drink it. In short, they were the nicest guys.
And again, it was another case of them happily buying us drinks and Irish peer pressure.
Midnight struck. I kissed my husband. We hugged the new stranger-acquaintances.
We shared politics and what struck me was how respectful they were. They were genuinely curious about our way of life in America, what we perceived it to be, and our opinions. And though only sometimes differing in opinion, it was a comfortable and polite conversation filled with many jovial “fecks”.
This. This is what travelling is made for. Even though I don’t know more than one night about them…about the Germans…about the girl at Ted Baker, I’ll never forget them.
I’m a sap at remembering the random connections I make.
Coming up next week…The Food, The Tears and Final Observations…