No Room at the Dublin Inns The breakfast room gratefully was on the second floor of the inn. Morning is too early for mountain climbing stairs. At our table was a couple from Ireland who had just returned from holiday and flew into Dublin. They live two hours away and said they arrived too late to feel like driving home, so they staid the night. One is from Holland and the other is from England. When they met and decided to get together, they compromised by moving to Ireland and both rented out the homes that they owned. This plus other property that one of them inherited give them the income to travel at least once a month for extended periods. Neither of them needs to work. Our Irish breakfast was almost the exact replica of the Scotch and Welsh breakfast with little difference. Still here we were served toast and not Irish soda bread. When I got a peek of his frying the eggs, the frying pan had about two inches of oil in the pan. They were close to being deep fried eggs. The payphone in the hall was not working, so the breakfast cook lent me his cell phone and I called Emma about the apartment. She had secured the apartment for us, but since they usually work over the Internet and fax, she had to find a room for us to go over the paperwork and sign papers. We arranged to meet at noon. Again the hotel was willing to allow our luggage to hang out while we got ourselves settled elsewhere. We took off to find the tourist office and investigate the possible tours. The tourist office in Dublin is located in a converted church, so there are domed ceilings and stained glass to remind the visitor of the buildings past glories. When you take a number there is a flashing board that shows your number and then your are directed to the booth number where you will go when it is your turn. They also sell a number of maps, tour guides, souvenirs, and other mementos to bring home to remind you of your trip. They are quite comprehensive. They are also able to book rooms throughout Ireland. We stopped at a café quite by accident that was famous for being included in James Joyce’s Ulysses. We had a spot of tea before going off to meet Emma. Her office was around the corner. Dublin is a great literary city claiming a number of famous authors within its ranks and a Writer’s Museum, the James Joyce Museum and others. But it was time to leave the perusing of tour brochures and time to meet Emma. Emma found a temporary office for us to use. She took my credit card and went off to make a copy, then returned with the papers. I sensed that something was different about this company since the bell to ring in was labeled Short Term Solutions for Corporations. That is not the way it was listed in our guidebook, the word corporations was omitted. When Emma returned, she explained that there would be a commission for her agency of ninety pounds. We thought that was hefty, but with the ability to cook in our apartment, we could still save some money. She further explained that there would be a security deposit of 270 pounds, which would bring our total to over 600 pounds to be put on my credit card. We questioned what could be deducted from the security deposit. We would be responsible for all electric, gas, and phone bills, plus cleaning and breakage. For a weeks stay, we felt that was a bit much and said we would need to discuss and get back to her about it and left. I knew there was no way we would make that type of a financial commitment for only a week. Without a guarantee of a room for the weekend at any cost, we decided the most prudent choice would be to go to Galway on the west coast for the week, then return to Dublin afterward. Back to the Tourist Center, we were able to secure a B & B in Galway for forty pounds a night. The bus we were told, would be a great deal cheaper than the train and take just as long to get there: three and a half to four hours. While we were there, it seemed prudent to make reservations for Dublin on our return just to be on the safe side. A Dublin B & B was available two kilometers from the city center for forty pounds a night and we reserved it also. So much for living in the moment. What we did discover during this short time in Ireland is that green is more than a color here it is a national obsession. Just because Ireland is always shown as green on world maps and referred to as the Emerald Isle, does that mean that France is the yellow globule or Italy the pink boot? What advertising agency made their fortunes with this association? Other countries have just as much green space as Ireland does. Did I tell you the Irish mailboxes are Kelly green? For those of you who hope to travel in that elusive ‘someday’, if it is culture you are after, you had better get a move on it now. With transmigration and immigration, there are few real cultures left. This really dawned on me the first time this trip when we were in London waiting in queue for the Buckingham Palace tickets. The person holding us at bay was Asian, had a nametag that identified her as Risa and Risa had the strongest British accent I had heard in London. With the European Union, most of the member countries citizens are free to move about freely and live where they want. That means that cultures are being blended at an alarming rate and the things that you may have thought you would find charming about a culture may not exist any longer. Add to this the phenomenon that has become know as the McDonaldization of the world. United States had infiltrated through out the world with their product identity. It is rare that we go into a pub and not hear U.S. music playing. McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, The Body Shop, The Gap are all over, eroding what was here and creating the same establishment, different country mentality. Yes, I will admit that we have found these companies comforting and sometimes a port in the storm, but if they did not exist, we would cope and survive and maybe even benefit. I will say that if it is a choice between instant Nescafe or a Starbucks, you can put your money on Starbucks. However, if it is a choice between McDonalds or a similarly priced little ethnic place, our lips will never touch anything associated with the other Ronald. That is my sociological speech for the day, but there may be more to come so be prepared. We traipsed back to the hotel, I with my twenty-pound backpack on at all times, since I will not leave my laptop sitting somewhere and we gathered our other luggage to drag to the bus station. We were warned that the taxis could get to be expensive only because the traffic in Dublin is so congested and it is easy to be caught in traffic for long periods of time. Most of the streets are only two lanes and many are one way only. We walked to the bus station like seasoned travelers knowing that this was part of the fate of the nomadic homeless. When I purchased our tickets to Galway, I was informed that the bus would be leaving in a half an hour. Ron wanted food before we left and the cafeteria looked like it had a decent selection. Since I am on a forced food reduction program, I told Ron that I would sit with the luggage while he selected something adding that he should only anticipate me eating two bites of whatever he selected, and then reminded him that we only had twenty-five minutes before getting the bus. I was sitting at the table watching him look over the selections. Minutes were passing and Ron was still walking back and forth looking over each item. Then they received a second perusal, then without selecting anything he went to do the same think with the selection of drinks. Five minutes passed, six, seven and then I finally told him his time was running short. Ron has to scrutinize menus and food selections with the same intensity that most people do their career choices. Later I told him this and said sometimes I find it really funny and other times, it really makes me angry that it takes him so much longer than anyone. His typical Ron-ism response was “I am glad I can provide you with a range of emotions.” The bus ride was an adventure in itself. From the feel of the bus, you would think that the bus was driving over roads that had been dug and rained on that morning. Stagecoach rides in the Wild West had nothing on this ride. There were no freeways, only two lane roads for most of the trip. Our bodies were bumped and tossed in ways that we did not imagine they could move in. We tried reading holding the book tightly in our hands, but there was so much bouncing around the words jumped off of the pages. It took an hour to get them reassembled so we could set the books aside. Ridiculously, I tried making notes, but my pen kept flying in the air. I do hope I don’t get charged extra for the graffiti on the seat back in front of me. We think we saw flocks of sheep grazing in fields, but with all of the bus movement, we could were never sure what was passing us by. When we went through small villages, the driver drove just as fast as he did on the open roads and then he would stop suddenly at obscure places to let passengers on or off. The last stop was Galway, a smaller city than Dublin and in the dark it looked quaint. Since we arrived late, we called the B & B to say we arrived late and were going to get some dinner before coming out. Ron went into a local ‘fast food’ restaurant while I waited outside. I knew this was a mistake, but since he was eating and I wasn’t it made sense, but I knew it would be awhile before I saw him again. When he returned I teased him with the fact that when he enters a ‘fast food’ restaurant, the whole theory grinds to a halt and losses the significance of fast. The bus station is located on the main square and the Dublin reservation desk told us that we needed to take the number 2 bus three stops after Quinns store, to get to the B & B. Beyond that the directions were not very detailed and I had forgotten to ask when I called. We asked the bus driver to assist in letting us know where to get off and he did. With the bus sailing off into the night, we looked again at the address of the B & B. There was no house number provided, but we have found that house and store numbers are used as frequently as we use the metric system in the States. We knew the B & B had a view of Galway Bay, so we crossed the street and saw homes with lights on so we headed in that direction. The closer we got, we realized that the whole street was one B & B after another. Being out in nowhere, with no public phones and no one to ask, I ventured to a B & B and hoped to get a sympathetic ear and some directions. They did not answer the door. Looking at the reservation sheet again, there were printed directions for driving to the guesthouse. Using that as a guide, we finally found the place on the same street as the bus stop.Patty, the owner gave us a warm welcome, showed us our room and then invited us downstairs for a cup of tea. She was very pleasant and hospitable. The house is quite large and she and her family live on the first floor. They have five rooms that they rent out and stay full most of the year. She provided us with brochures on various tours, as this area is centrally located to tour to various sights of interest. She can book them for us and they will pick us up at the front door. Our large room is well equipped with a full and twin size bed, television which gets about seven channels, a private bath with a wonderful looking shower that I cannot wait to test out tomorrow. We have a view of Galway Bay from our window. Breakfast is anytime we want it as long as we tell her the night before. In Dublin we saw postcards with ‘An Irish Breakfast’ that included an overflowing dish of mussels and a Guinness beer, so when Patty asked us if we wanted an authentic Irish breakfast, we were not sure what we would find in the morning. Good night for now!