Friday, April 27, 2007

A Dublin Miscellany

Today was my last day of work on this trip, and I've just recently finished working out (roughly) what I'll be doing for the rest of it. I'm leaving Dublin bright and early tomorrow morning, then spending two nights in Dingle, and two nights in Doolin. Then back in Dublin by Wednesday night, in time for one more swing dance before my flight home Thursday morning. Before I leave Dublin, though, an assortment of things to share....

Getting to my desk on my first day of work at the new office two weeks ago was an interesting process. I needed to get up to the 2nd (=3rd) floor, but the elevators were slow and full of the morning rush of people. So Signor Pezzin led me up on foot: The stairs in the lobby led to a door saying "Ladies WC." Through that, we took the door that wasn't the Ladies WC, but which led down a hallway to a mini-kitchen. Turn left, down a hall, turn left, down a hall, then through a door saying "Gents WC." Find more stairs through there, go up one more flight. Then U-turn to another door and U-turn to my desk. I thought I'd never find my way out on my own.

There are a few sets of "airlock" doors I go through regularly here, two doors with just few feet of space and nothing else between them. The ones at the top of the stairs here in my hotel are relatively airtight, and not latched, so when you open one, it opens the other a little and then drops it closed again. I always imagine a ghost that lives in that tiny little space between the doors, and vacates it for you to pass through, so he's leaving through one door just as you're opening the other. Very polite little ghost, not wanting to frighten anybody.

Some random teenagers on the street the other day told me I look like Gerry Adams, an Irish politician. I disagree.

There's a smoothie shop nearby called Zumo. Last night I got a discount on a smoothie because I pronounced "açaí" correctly, without prompting. The fellow working there proceeded to tell me all sorts of interesting things about açaí, like how you can't grow it anywhere but Brazil and they'll only export juice and pulp. It's also apparently used for lots of things, including treating children with dyslexia, and it fills the role of "the viagra of the amazon." Somewhat along those lines, this place offers "boosts," like Jamba Juice does. It has the usual expected ones, like energy boosts, immune boosts, etc. It also has one specifically for hangovers, as well as "love factors" for women and men. I suppose the latter probably includes açaí.

Apparently, Polish has recently surpassed Chinese as the second most commonly spoken language in Ireland. (Or third? I can't remember if it beat out Irish or not.) I would probably never have guessed either of those two languages for being so high up the list.

So far I have not had my umbrella out even once since I've been in Ireland. I realize this is completely atypical weather and I should not get cocky about it. However, if I make it through one more week like this before I go home, I'm going to consider writing to the newspapers and asking for a medal or something.

On a related note, as I write this, the weather report has just said we were going to have a warm, dry, sunny weekend. With occasional, heavy, thundering showers.

The house cleaning service here at the hotel always leaves all the lights on. It doesn't waste energy because they don't actually come on until I get home and put my key in the slot that turns the circuits on. But still, it means that the first thing I do is going around turning off most of the switches because I don't need everything at once. I could understand this if they, say, needed the extra light for cleaning purposes. But this extends all the way to the little light on the Mirror of Insecurity in the bathroom (the magnifying one, so you can enjoy your blemishes IMAX style). A couple times they've even left the TV on. Sheesh. If it weren't for the fact that they also replenish the tea supply, I'd just leave the "do not disturb" sign out the whole time.

Anyway, that's it for now. Any further updates of note will probably be from California, after I get back.

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