use of perspective
no matter where you go, as long as you can see this mural, the weapon is pointed at you
I knew I only had today to make Belfast work. I changed my original plans of running down to Portstewart when i figured out there are tour companies that run out to the Giant's Causeway as a day trip from Belfast, in order to get some time to run around the city, and specifically to take the Black Taxi tour.
The Black Taxi tours are a thing unique to Belfast. They are specialized tours of the city, telling the history of "the Troubles" as they're called here (they're referring to the Catholic-Protestant sectarian violence, specifically to that of the last century). The reason these tours are sweet is that it's no-holds-barred on what questions you can ask. In the city proper, you need to watch a bit what you say and how you say it. for example the city of "Londonderry" to a Unionist (generally a Protestant) is just "Derry" to a Republican (Catholics, mostly). The driver tried to use a framework of nationalism for the conflict, but i might argue against that. This conflict isn't my specialty, but i'm interested in learning more about it.
I went on the tour with Cat, a Michigan-ite who goes to a
small university in Shreveport, Louisiana, and a guy named Louis, who is a comedian from Newcastle, England, in town for the weekend for a comedy competition. Louis looked like a skinny, slightly tweaked-out John Candy lol i could tell he had some comedic chops.
After the tour, Cat and I wandered around Belfast a bit, stopping at a really cool pub called The Crown Bar. there were no tables here, only booths with doors on them. when a booth is taken, the door is left open. there were operational, gas-based light fixtures. Carvings, engravings, and detail work was everywhere. it was a really, really cool place.
After lunch, it poured a bit. it was brief and violent and cold. but after that, we wandered the city. It's surprisingly small, Belfast. I climbed a giant fish like a boss. and on the walk back to the hostel, Cat was tired, so we split up. I went to the Ulster museum, which was just what the doctor ordered. It was a great break of pace from all the gorgeous scenery to cool-lookin dead animals. there's an extinct deer native to Ireland with a rack wider than my wingspan. there's a
inside The Crown Bar
this bar is so historically valuable, it's owned by the Northern Ireland National Trust
dog, the Irish Wolfhound, whose shoulders come up to my chest. and lots of cute little Redwall critters :P I took about a bajillion pictures at the museum, which also covered some Irish history, and then headed out to the gardens.
I think i soothed my itch to go to the biomes in England. there is a tropical greenhouse in the gardens here, and it was pretty cool. I'm excited for the Giant's Causeway tour tomorrow!! they say on a clear day, you can easily see Scotland : )
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