Published: April 29th 2006April 29th 2006
After a week of mixed-to-good weather, strong Irish music, selling my bike, and returning to my home base of Cappoquin I have reached my last weekend in Ireland.
Stay tuned because over the next couple of weeks I will fill you in on some more of the details and do some wrap up of the trip and what I learned - plus a spacial interactive opportunity bonus offer. How is that for a deal?
In sort it is turning out to be a bitter sweat ending. I am tired in the core of my body and ready to settle back down and open the next chapter of life ahead. Each of the last few days has provided little snippets that stir a desire to stay on and soak in every little bit that Ireland has to offer. A lot has been lived and accomplished and I am celebrating that, but at the same time I am feeling the sting of those things not accomplished but hoped for. More on that later.
I will leave you with one story. As Ireland lives with 40 years of economic progress in 10 short years a lot is changing. Some for the better and some for the worse. I am afraid some of the worse things follow patters the world is picking up from the United States: more cars per family; more communications toys and less time with ; turning farm land into suburbs; and putting more stress on the environment as population and consumption grow.
I do not wish the Irish to be more like American culture, except maybe in one regard. That would be showers. The Irish live in smaller spaces then we do generally. this also holds true for shower stalls. Most showers are these small square units with two sliding doors that meet at the corner. How does one wash your hair when your elbows keep crashing into the shower doors. How do you wash under your arms when the shower stream flows a few inches from the wall. These are the things I ponder in Irish Showers.
This leads me to the search for a good bath. On my fifth day of cycling I was wondering if any B&B's ever had a bath tub. Lucky for me the crazy place I stayed in in Skibereen had one. "And there is plenty of hot water" the proprietor said with a flourish as she left me to drool over the tub. I don't know what plenty of hot water means in Ireland, but when I got in the tub there was barely enough to reach my knee caps when my legs were pressed to the floor.
My second and third attempts where met with brown water coming from the hot water taps. The idea of a brown hot bath is not helped by the reading of an article concerning the lack of clean water in Ireland. Appears that over 40% of water systems in the country have levels of Eco-Chloroform higher then acceptable levels. Nice.
When I reached the small village of Doolin on Wednesday I was wrecked. First thing I did was take a nap in a very cozy bed.
They had a bath!
As the hot water filled the tub I took a large triangular bottle of bath salts from the window sill. Humidity had stuck the salt crystals together in a bright blue mass. Complicating matters was the fact that the cork was stuck inside the bottle. Lost in my lust for a hot salt bath I shook the bottle with ever increasing force.
Wet hands, upside down triangular bottle, delirium - I think you can see where this is going. KER-SPLASH. After picking the bottle off the bottom of the tub I was please and surprised to see how many crystals had left the bottle. Once my lizard brain had let go of control of my brain my first concern was that maybe too many crystals in the water would dictate my future as a salt pork hanging in the window of a butcher shop. That fear was soon allayed when I discovered the volume of crystals had exited trough a brand new hole in the lower corner of the bottle.
You know that moment when your lizard brain asserts itself to negotiate with the rational mind and at first seems to have the upper hand. "Surely if I am careful I can take a bath with shards of glass and not get cut?"
Luckily for me this B&B had enough water in the tank to refill the cleaned bath and I was neither brined nor sliced thin.