Published: November 10th 2008November 5th 2008
Hi everybody! Due to reasons which will be later explained, I wasn't able to get this entry off before this weekend, so you'll have more than one entry clogging up your mailbox if I can get my act together. As a side note, "the pale" is the area of and just around Dublin. The expression "beyond the pale" referred originally to those Wild Irish that the English occupiers of Dublin were not too thrilled about.
Halloween night found me in an airport in Edinburgh, waiting with Kim and Rowan for a flight to Dublin. We bought chocolate, but other than that, the holiday passed fairly uneventfully for us. Back in Edinburgh, the normally fairly staid city was going utterly mad, and to be sure Dublin was rocking when we got in at 1 AM. But then we were staying close to Temple Bar, which only takes breaks on Sundays and religious holidays, otherwise weekend, weeknight, this place parties until 3 AM regardless. We bucked the trend and went to bed, having had an exhausting week, and wanting to be up early to see the sights!
We woke up for breakfast at 8 provided by the hostel (tea and
toast) then the girls now joined by Jaime and Eliza went wandering around the city while we waited for Ben to finish watching a Rugby game being played in Australia. How he managed to find a pub open, showing the game, and crowded with rugby fans at 8 in the morning... I have no idea. After collecting him, we set out to the guinness factory at 10 AM, which was good because even though we had to queue for a little while it would have been a far longer line later in the day.
The Guinness factory was AMAZING! The design of the place was just really well laid out, and beautiful, especially the first few floors. It was really interesting too, though for the first part of it we were all wondering if whiskey and beer were made the same way, having already been to a distillery where they were doing the same going on about malt barley and fresh, unpolluted, spring water. The best part was the view from the top where we had a pint of Guinness (free with admission). The sky bar is on the 7th story and has a 360 degree view of Dublin
and the surrounding environs, including the Wicklow Mountains. We spent the rest of the day wandering the city, having lunch in St. Patrick's Green, wandering through the gorgeous St. Stephens green looking at all the swans, and artists. We got back to the hostel, had a quick nap (because now that we don't have our parents telling us we have to have one, we've discovered that they're GREAT) Then out to dinner. Part of our group went to a chinese take away up the street, but Rowan had gotten this craving for a milkshake, and we got a recommendation for a place called the Gourmet Burger Kitchen which turned out to have the best burgers that we'd had...ever. Well, maybe not but they were really good. That night we went out and had a good time in Temple bar, which was a lot of fun.
We didn't have too much fun though, becuase we were up early the next day for services at Christ Church cathedral, which was a beautiful church. The choir was incredibly beautiful, as was the architecture. Later that day we walked around the city some more, exploring the National Gallery where we saw some beautiful
works, and happened to hear a rehearsal by a classical music group for a concert that would be held later that night. Then we split up to see various sights, and in my groups case; to shop! We got some absolutely gorgeous sweaters, made in the Aran style, which were 3 for 2, so we took advantage of that to get 1/3 off, and now Eliza, Rowan, and I all match, which is thoroughly ridiculous looking, and we plan on never actually wearing them at the same time. After all that, we went back to the Hostel, with the intent of taking a short nap and then just staying up until 4 AM when we would leave for our early flight back home to Edinburgh.
For me... that did not happen. I woke up early from my nap with the realization that something was wrong with my stomach. I'll spare you the gruesome details, and leave it at this: Hostels are germy and I do not like them. Grrr. My friends were all very sweet, and let me sleep, and got me the closest thing that there is on the British Isles to Ginger Ale: 7-Up. They for the
most part, followed the original plan and woke me up a little before 4 to get us all to the Taxi. We waited in a frigid cold section of the terminal until our plane arrived for the quick 45 minute ride home. We saw the sun rise over the Irish sea, which even in my weakened state was a sight to behold, with the clouds beautifully rose colored, and the coast of Scotland a dark outline.
A few of us that lived in the same area all walked back together, and while I had originally intended to get off the flight and go straight to my 9:00 class, I decided that would not be such a good Idea. I rested and slept for a good portion of the day, as my bug morphed from stomach to light fever and runny nose. I was determined to get better in time for the next night: Election Night. I skipped the Ballet that I was going to go to in favor of sleep, and went to go meet my friends to watch it at the student union. Unfortunately, and somewhat amazingly the line (at least 5 people across) stretched across the square
from the Union to the street. Luckily Kim and Jaime have a TV and a TV License so we went back there for a more low key version. Yet even though there were only around 10 of us, the nervous energy in that room could have powered the city. We were flipping out before the counts even started, and when the first call came in, we were all but screaming. The tension was high, and though the time flew by, it seemed to drag on for eons once they got to 15 minutes before the polls closed. Slowly, once it started getting to be 2... then 3 in the morning, people started leaving, ready to watch on their own TV's or online. Eliza and I had no such option, so we stayed with permission, long past when even the residents of the flat we were in had gone to bed. We were yelling at the BBC announcers every time they made a statement like "with Obama's win tonight" hours before the polls were in. We were knocking on wood like some deranged woodpecker, and our annoyance eventually devolved into a rant that went some thing like "YOU DONT REMEMBER 2000
YOU @%$#$@%@#!!!" I did however enjoy the Brit's no nonsense attitude towards John Bolton, who was as usual a hideous pig.
When the time came for the final votes to be called, we were curled up in our chairs silent, praying. Then the announced that the next President of the United States would be a man named Barack Hussein Obama, and we both started crying, hugging each other and calling our loved ones back in the states. We stayed glued to the TV for the next hour listening to the screams of joy from the flats next to us. We were in shock, euphoria. This was the first election where our generation had a chance to do something, and we had done it. Both of us had signed that first petition of over 100,000 names 22 months ago asking Obama to run. We'd donated small amounts of money that had turned into millions. We weren't just idealists, we had made a change. We had tears in our eyes when he made his speech, and watching it the next day, I felt the same. Everyone that I talked to over here has said that they've had the same reaction, guys
and girls. I've been congratulated by people in my classes, my flat mates have had discounts offered to them, and people smile when they hear my accent. It's a whole new world. and it's wonderful. I didn't get back to my flat until 5:30 in the morning the next day, but that didn't matter.
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