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Published: July 11th 2005
At 9:30 this morning, I was getting cereal.
This is usually an easy thing for me. But usually I don't have to weave my way in and out of the Korean students who are running around shouting and chopping vegetables for curry, or help the German women with the gas stove so they can make porridge, or avoid the Arkansas guy checking on his pizza. I also don't normally sit at a table where two Italians are in the process of repairing a bike.
I love this place.
It took me a while to think of it, but what it really reminds me of is the Muppet house in Muppets From Space. It's absolutely crazy, but I've met a ton of people here. The kitchen is a really social place - and it's always sort of interesting to see what everyone's cooking. I'm going to miss the Korean students when they leave today - I never understood a word they said, but they always made tons of great food.
I thought I had left the organic recycling frenzy behind - but it's actually the same here. Not to the same degree (some stuff does actually get thrown away),
but you have to wash and sort everything else into the bins. And the oven and stove? Still gas. I'm beginning to think that the idea of just turning a dial to cook food is just something I imagined.
I did have to ask some people how to use the oven, though. They explained that it was actually very simple - you lit the fire, and you put in the food, and eventually it is either cooked, or burnt.
... yeah, I really miss being able to turn the dial to a degree marking. It's such a fantastic concept when you think about it.
Actually, yesterday during dinner (for most, spaghetti - the ultimate cheap backpacker food) I was talking to a girl from Boston who said she was also, technically, working in Ireland. I asked her what she did.
Guess. Guess what she does.
.... that's right. She's the researcher for my guide book. Not ONLY for the guide book I was complaining about (which is the only one I have), but also for the exact section that I thought was a bit weird.
She's writing for the new edition, of course (so she's not responsible
for the weirdness) - but, wow. Small world. Turns out she also had the bed next to mine. It's been fun - we got a group together and went out to catch some trad last night (traditional irish music, with the accordian and pipes and all that), and we had a fantastic time. Then today we met up again to go on a day-trip to see Dunmore Caves (supposedly the darkest place in Ireland). The caves were great - they were pretty and there was tons of historical stuff about a massacre that took place there.
It's a bit of a hike to get there from the bus stop, though.. and then the caves themselves have over 700 steps. And a hike back, and the bus didn't show up until half an hour after it was supposed to. We probably looked absolutely insane, flagging the bus down and shouting, but it was fun. And technically, we could have walked back. It just would have taken two hours.
(And I know that in the last entry I said it was a bit ridiculous to tell people you're a guide, but when it gets you free entrance to the caves? And
the friend you've brought with you? It's okay then. Just thought I'd let you know. I'm all about free guided tours.) I actually might be in the guidebook next year in a little featurette on alternatives to tourism. Crazy world.
Anyway, that's it for Kilkenny. Yesterday I went and did the whole tourist circuit - Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, St. Canice's Cathedral, and the Round Tower. This city is great - it's really compact, and all the sights are within maybe a two mile stretch. The castle was everything a castle should be - turrets and an amazing grounds that goes on forever - a lake and stream and miles of disgustingly perfect lawn. It's the first castle I've seen here (which would make it the first castle I've seen, period), so.. good times.
The Round Tower was pretty interesting. It's a tower next to the cathedral that gives you a perfect view of the city. All you have to do is climb up seven ladders in pitch dark, in a very tight, enclosed space, while not knocking off other tourists who may or may not be going in the same direction as you.
I thought it sounded okay until I realized just how tall each of the seven ladders was. I got some serious vertigo. (But, eventually, a good view.)
If nothing else, I'm getting really great at walking. I didn't think I'd be doing that much - just an occasional hike - but I didn't think about how much I'd be walking every day just getting around. I took out my Waterford map and calculator yesterday and realized that every day of the Tall Ships Festival I had been walking an average of 8 miles. Poor feet.)
Tomorrow it's off to Dublin. Who knows if the hostel will be anywhere near as fun, but I think it will have better showers. Anyway, there's a lot more to do in the city, so I think it will be great. Right now, there's a couple of trad sessions getting started, so I'm going to head back to the hostel to get ready.
Pictures are at http://photobucket.com/albums/a233/haley_m86/.
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