Sunday, July 18, 2004

Back from the North

Um...that was a pretty amazing weekend if i do say so myself. and i am. amazing!
Thursday i did the usual, off to work, did some more campaign research for Cathy, talked about Belfast..hung out with Liz, Kat, and Erin during lunch, back to work, left around 430 so we could have enough time to pack and get ourselves to the train station, and we ended up getting there only about 12 minutes before our train was due to leave...yay for super fast walking WITH luggage in tow. booyah.
really nice train ride up to belfast, beautiful scenery and it's only 2 hours away, and the UK phone companys send you text messages when you cross over, so weird! and kat got one that said 'uncle jim bowen would be right proud'...we still are'nt sure what one was about. and there was this family next to us speaking another language..possibly japanese? not sure, but they sounded really annoying and their language was very on the ears and i really didn't like it and they were so LOUD. then at one point the mom was saying something and she turned around to lookb ehind her and the middle of her sentence she burped REALLY loudly! and just continued talking...i couldn't believe it i started to laugh really hard but tried to hide it b/c she was sitting right next to me and i felt bad! but kat started cracking up too and it was all over after that. so we had to get up and move to a different place on the train we just couldn't take it anymore. but the rest of the trip was very uneventful.
got to belfast, claire's mom was waiting for us in the train station! she's so nice and she drove us arond belfast quickly and took us on a wee tour, then drove us back to ballygally via the scenic route...soooo pretty. just gorgeous. we saw carrickfergus castle and the black arch and claire's little town is so adorable! we also passed through a bunch of towns that had union jacks and ulster flags EVERYWHERE b/c the july 12 marches had just finished last weekend...and one town had in huge writing on this big arch, "WELCOME TO LOYALIST LARNE" so it didn't take long. and all the sidewalks were painted union jack colors and whatnot...we got to her house but she was still at work, so kat and i sat and talked to claire's mom and dad for a while, and went up to the den (room above the garage with futons for us to sleep on) around 1130, claire wasn't due to be home until 1ish, but i wanted to stay up so we started to watch 'gladiator' and waited for her to come back!
around 115a claire came running up the stairs and we hugged and it was so happy! yaaaaay! she hung around with us til around 230am then she went back in the house and we went to sleep then she came to wake us up around...930a i think. jenna, claire's younger sister, made kat and i an "ulster fry" which is basically bacon, sausage, an egg, 'tatty cakes' (potato bread fried), a pancake, and soda bread. yeah, enough food for you? i wasn't hungry again til like 430 that day. but that was grand, then we took off for Giant's Causeway, again via scenic route..and we passed through a nationalist town that had tri-colors flying and more loyalist towns...oh wait first we went to...crap i don't remember the name but it was kind of like a state park, and we went on a 2 mile hike and saw all these beautiful waterfalls and almost got lost but we didn't! yay sense of direction! then off to Giant's Causeway...long ride lots of pretty things to look at.
Giant's Causeway was really neat i had fun just climbing all around..and you can see scotland up there which was weird i couldn't believe it was so close! we sat on the rocks for a while relaxing and listening to the ocean and takin pictures and people watching...then back to the car (can i just say it was so nice to be travelling in a car. not a bus, not a train, a caaaaar! so lovely.) and back to claire's and out to dinner with her parents to Matties pub. such good foood! and her dad kept buying kat and i la la! Magners (Bulmers) is sooo delicious! so we ate and talked then moved downstairs to the bar area and hung out there for a while...and we put some money in the juke box for songs, but halfway throught he ones we picked, this one man badn started to play...literaly, he had his double keyboard and the music was arleady on cd or something, and he played his little heart out! there was also a group of women there having a night out and they were soooooooo loud and the one woman's laugh just cut right through me...ugh. but other than that we had a great time, then claire's mom took the 3 of us over to um...i forget the name...a castle hotel that has a bar in it, and we had one more drink there then headed home, put on the rest of 'gladiator' and claire slept up in the den with us!
up saturday morning and off to our day in BELFAST! so excited. got there around lunchtime, and stopped in this really cool posh restaurant to eat, and it had pink lights and big statues inside...odd but cool. then over to city hall b/c we were supposed to have a tour there but somehow we were misinformed and we didn't get to do that..bummer. but we took pics then went up into the belfast tourist office and got into on a black taxi tour, which we booked i think for 4. so we met the guy outside city hall and he said he was well known for the tour in the u.s.? b/c some tour book guy had written about him a few that was good at least he knew what he was doing. first he took us down Falls Road (Catholic) and stopped to show us murals that Sinn Fein had done supporting other rebellions around the world...Palestinian's for example. then we saw a Bobby Sands had his picture and one of his poem's on it...awesome. then he took us down a street by the Peace Line...which is basically a huge concrete wall that they added fence on top of twice...they had to make it higher b/c people kept throwing rocks onto the houses on the other side of it. we stopped on...bombay road? i think? damn i can't remember. but there was a memorial there and a mural depicting what happend in 1969 when protestants came over to the catholic side and set it on fire. then he took us back down Falls but there was a protest going on...people were protesting strip searches in prisons..and kat wanted to get out and see but claire was like 'hell no i am not getting out here.' so i stayed with her and kat went to go check it out..and as she was walking back some guy stopped on the street to talk to her...she was right outside a bar with a tricolor flying in it and across from a Sinn Fein protest....i was like oh my god...not good! but she politely declined his flirting and ran back to the taxi, and he took us over to Shankill Road and we stopped at the Peace Wall...where people write messages and whatnot, so we got out and all wrote something on the wall and read what other people had written and got scared every time a car walked by b/c we were the only ones there. back in the taxi and over to the middle of protestant territory...not gonna lie, i was nervous. especially when the first mural we saw was of oliver cromwell and some quotes about how all catholics should die. so the driver let us get out and walk around this area...there was like a big area of grass and houses all around it...and there was another mural of a protestant paramilitary...and it was huge and it was just him pointing a gun at you, and the gun followed us wherever we walked around was intensely creepy. so we did a quick walk of that b/c....again..not feeling so safe. i mean i know it's not as bad now but still...
so back to the taxi and he took us back to city was really great i'm really happy i did that...although i wished i had gotten to see some more nationalist murals...but i would assume he didn't feel completely good about going into catholic area, being a protestant. but that's ok. after that we did some shopping (that sounds really weird and like...i don't know..after seeing all that stuff...anyway..) and wentb ack to the car...and possibly saw Bobby Sands' son...claire wasn't sure if it was him but she thinks it was b/c he was coming out of the restuarant where he works.
so back to the car, drove past the Europa (most bombed hotel in the world) and went out to the Oddessy  (huge building/mall type thing...restaurants, movie theatre, bowling, cool place), had dinner and went up to see 'the prince and me'...don't make fun, it was really cute and the guy is hot. meow. then we drove back through belfast at night and looked at all the drunk people stumbling around then went up to belfast castle (and went through south belfast on the way...huge murals of the red hand and red fist of ulster...and a paramilitary in a ski mask and gun painted on there...wheeee.) and that was cool, then back to claire's house! watched some of 'braveheart', claire went in the house and i passed ouuuuut i was so tired, and we wanted to get up early today and go down to belfast one more time, but none of us woke up til 11..whoops. so mrs. montgomery made us an ulster fry (mmmmm), we went up to claire's grandad's house b/c he has a really great view of her town and you can see scotland from his balcony..hellooo. then we drove to the train station and said goodbye..but claire is pretty sure she can come to dublin next thursday which would be funnnnn!
train ride was uneventful except that there happend to be an entire hurling team sharing the train with us!!!!!!!! hellooooooooooo there young hot fit men! and of course we didn't know they were in there but we went to go get a drink and walkd in the car in front of us and they were alllllll there and kat fell into one of them and i started to laugh. and when we got to the end of hte car the little train man was like 'we're not serving for another 10 minutes' so we had to turn arond and walk allllll the way back through. wheeeeeee! at least my face wasn't BRIGHT RED.
so now i'm back in dublin and i gave my dad a call and it was nice to talk to him..i'm getting really excited about coming home...i mean i love love LOVE being here but now that's my trip is ending i'm getting excited :) and august is going to be a busy month.
so....alrighty then! was this blog long enough for you?! i'll probably remember other stuff and add it in. but for now i have to get started on the um..3 assigenments i have to do that are due tuesday! yippee!
(bobby sands poem instead of e.e. poem...check it out)


Blogger beez said...

sounds like you had an amazing weekend!!! glad you made it back safely. and yes, i'd be pretty scared every time a CAR WALKED BY too. (refer to paragraph 7) love ya babes!

11:34 PM  

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