Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why I Love Ireland

A friend once asked me, "Why do you even want to go to Ireland?  I mean, there's nothing much there."  My answer was "because it's beautiful!  ...and the culture is so interesting".  Yes, it's probably not as cosmopolitan as other places but it makes up for it in other ways.  My favorite is the southwest of Ireland.  They say that if you've only been to Dublin, then you haven't been to Ireland.  To me, the Southwest is real Ireland.  Here is a list of why I love it so much.

1.  The People -  The Irish are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  They are open, welcoming, and will buy you drinks all night if you're not careful.  As a tourist in other countries, sometimes you feel like the locals don't really want you there.  In Greece, I have been LOOKED AT as if to say, "go home, tourist.  This is my place!"  In Ireland, I've never felt that way.   As you walk down the street, the old men will wink at you and say, "Hello, how are ya my dear?"  Lovely.
2.  Pubs - We just don't have the equivalent in the U.S.  Our bars seem to usually have a somewhat seedy "meat-market" element to them.  Or the music is so loud you have to shout to hear anyone.  You wouldn't usually go to a bar alone unless you were trying to hook up.  Irish pubs, however, are kinda like coffee shops but with beer.  It's a relaxed atmosphere where you can sit, have a pint, and chat to the local characters.  It's perfectly alright to go there as a single woman and no one will think anything of it.  The musicians that play are usually not up on a stage and will chat with you between numbers.  Also in some pubs, if you bring along an instrument and want to play along with them, it's totally okay.  How cool is that?  

3.  The Countryside - Beautiful!  Check it out.

4.  The smell - There is a very faint smell of grass and peat and sea.  This smells like Ireland to me! 

5.  The Sayings - When refering to a man, they say "yer man".  When refering to a woman they say "yer one".  "Feck" is used instead know, but it's not considered a curse word at all.  Even little old ladies say it.  "Slainte" = cheers!  "Gobshite" and "eejit" = my favorite insults.  In Kerry, they put the word "so" at the ends of sentences.  I don't why but it's cute.  (As in "shall we go to the pub so?")

That's good start.  I'll add more tomorrow.  For now---off to the pub so!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cuisine and Fashion at the London - Stanstead Airport Holiday Inn Express

Well, here I go again.  I'm off traveling on my own.  I do admit that it is very selfish of me to leave my poor husband on his own working while I traipse off to Ireland.  For some reason though, I feel compelled to go out and do my own thing lately.  I guess it's my last hurrah before I start fertility treatments again.   (Which will hopefully work this time.)

Traveling by yourself is lonely but at the same time, it can be very liberating!  We all live in a bubble;  (Some more than others) surrounded by people we know, our books, habits, jobs, etc.  When you get out of that, it can really help you get to know yourself.  Once stripped of all of my creature comforts and cohorts, who is left?  Just me.  It's nice to know who that is.

Okay, I'll stop the whole introspective, pycho-babble thing now.  I flew into London Heathrow Airport today and took three buses to get to Stanstead airport.  Now, I'm staying overnight in the Holiday Inn and I'll catch a flight to Ireland tomorrow.  Why did I stay in a hotel when I have lovely lovely inlaws who live really close to Heathrow?  I mean, I would love to see them but I didn't want to crash on them for such a short time.  Also - have you ever seen me after a transatlantic flight?  It's not pretty!  This way, I can be ugly and anti-social and just sleep, shower, and blog until my heart's content.  I hope to see them later when I would be much better company!

Tonight's dinner was unexpectedly delicious and entertaining!  There was a "curry of the day" on offer in the restaurant.  Since the only people who work here all seem to be Indian, I figured this was probably the most authentic  thing  on the menu.  Afterall, I've heard it said that there's nothing more English than an Indian curry!  Well, I was right.  It was lamb curry, served with rice, poppadoms, naan, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  It was better than a lot of curries I've had at Indian restaurants in the city!  As I ate, there were three bunnies chasing each other on the grassy hill right outside the window.  It was very fun to watch.

Also, fun to watch was the local color.  Lots of people seem to do the park and ride thing where they stay a night at the Holiday Inn, then get a reduced parking rate for the rest of the week while they catch a shuttle to the airport for their trip.  A good idea, really.  Anyway, there were some interesting characters around and I love to people watch.  One woman stood out to me.  She was probably in her late 50's and was wearing a canary yellow silk blouse, a mustard yellow knit wrap, with jeans, and mustard yellow spiked peeptoe high heels with orange toenail polish.  (I never knew yellow could clash with itself until today.)  Also, bleach-blond hair.  She was flaunting around the place like she felt really stylish.  It was Great Britain's equivalent of "ghetto fabulous".  I loved  her! One day, I hope to have her confidence and really own my style!

If you had told me "hey, let's go to the Stanstead Airport where we will get a delicious Indian meal, watch some bunnies run around, and check out the fashion scene!"  I would have thought you were NUTS!  But there you are.  If you're in the area, check it out.  It's a hoot.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Florida Trip

I am testing this out on my husband's new laptop just to see if I can do everything and put up pics before I take it with me to Ireland.  This is the summer of me!  I decided that I would take the time to visit friends this summer.  (It was my new year's resolution.)

Anyway, we just got back from Florida where we had a great time!   My dear friend and her husband live there and I hadn't seen them in about 4 years.  We went to the pool, the beach, ate junk food, played games on their Wii, watched movies, and got up to general mayhem.  It's so worth the effort to go visit your  friends!  You won't remember your tiredness, effort, or expense but you'll have awesome memories that will last a lifetime.  Do it! 


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Mug Says.....

I thought I'd share the saying that is written on my favorite coffee cup.  Reading this in the morning makes me feel peaceful and happy and sets me up nicely for the day.  The mug is various shades of blue and it says:

"May the sun bring you new energy by day, 
May be moon softly restore you by night, 
May the rain wash away your worries, 
May the breeze blow new strength into your being, 
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life."

--Apache blessing

Isn't that nice?