Archive for January, 2009

Newcastle: 24

30th of Jan. It’s my ex’ birthday tomorrow. I sent her a card, saying on the front in cut-from-magazine style letters,

"I KNOW HOW OLD YOU REALLY ARE"

And inside,

"Made it myself.
Happy birthday."

I wouldn’t really know what else to tell her. Funny, isn’t it? After over a dozen goodbye’s in the last 30 days I still don’t know what to say. Wether it’s my host, driver or soulmate, farewells never get any easier. At least with the first you can return the favor to some degree by leaving a positive reference on their couchsurfing.com profile, adding to their popularity. Though I’m not sure I really want to do that in this case, although it seems appropriate somehow.

She was a wonderful life partner and fun to be around with. Going out, cooking, sex, travelling, cuddling, sharing, fighting, joking, fondling and supporting each other, I have nothing to remark but positive things. Highly goddamn recommended. Thanks.

 

Weren’t we going to be more positive?

Back in Leeds I was hosted by a student in their dorms. It turned out, more than half of the people I contacted lived in the same building. They were very nice and all but I have to say, I really felt like an outsider. In a place with over a hundred people gathered, I couldn’t help feel very alone. My host basically saying "Here’s ny room, here’s internet, I’ll be either studying or with my girlfriend" didn’t change much on that subject.

Oh well. I still managed to entertain myself (in fact, York is very refreshing. If New York was supposed to be founded on the same principles, they fucked up) and the time that we did share felt quite natural. Of course I gave a positive reference, because let’s face it, he gave me a room, shower and kitchen for 3 days and nights free of charge. No matter what you do or don’t add to that, it’s an extremely generous thing to offer to a complete stranger.

 

Leeds itself was, dare I say it, boring. You had the town center all about shopping, a few nice old buildings to look at, a few museums, and voila, your day is over and leaves you awkwardly unsatisfied. So what does Muhammed do when the mountains won’t come to him? He goes to the mountains. I made my own fun.

The Leeds city museum is… nice. With nice paintings, the odd sculpture here and there, a nice broad marble flight of stairs, that take you to the next level to continue your slow walk while you try so very hard to enjoy all this because well, it’s exactly like the nice stuff at home but not quite the same. And, on a good day, I succeed.

I was strolling along the wall, probably looking very unimpressed as I tilted my head to try and get the point of an entirely green canvas. I neared a doorway and as I was about to move on, I noticed that it lead to a hallway parallel to the room, with double doors leading to a sort of massive balcony. Clearly not the way to go, I tried them anyway but they were locked. Oh, well. I suppose it would be inappropriate to push my luck any further.

The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to lock double doors is to lock one in place using slide latches or similar, and an oldfashioned doorlock to then lock the other door to the first. This has one flaw, however: Unless you have additional locks anywhere, it is easy to undo the latches and swing open both doors simultaneously, making a key absolutely redundant. However the door was massive and the top latch was out of reach. Was that a folding chair against the wall?

The doors swung open like the gates to heaven, with the reddish glow of the sunset dead in front of me stinging my eyes. The view was lovely. Not as marvellous as I had hoped, but still much more than I had been provided with thus far. Amazingly, the room I had been in had no cameras or guard (must be because the art was rubbish anyway) so the only one to spot me through the window was another visitor, who followed suit with the thoughtful wonder on his face if he was supposed to even be there. He quickly figured it out and scurried off again.

And I felt so proud of myself. No harm, no lecture, no rules that others seem to find as logic as their imposers make them up to be. For once I could just do as I liked, and the whole world could fuck off.
I made myself the promise that I’m going to seek out more roofs to climb. Why? Because the view is nice. There.

 

The trip from Leeds to Newcastle (officially "Newcastle-Upon-Tyme" holy shit) went quite well, all things considering. There’s this website, hitchwiki.com, that is proving to be more and more helpful.

I’m staying with a self-employed market researcher and his lady "friend". She was the one to welcome me, and she fascinates me… in a remarkably negative way. I think it can be summed up quite well in this snippet:

"You just got home from work?" She was in high heels, suit, the works.

– "Yes." Big sigh.

I had to laugh and asked, "You don’t like your work very much?"

– "Oh no, I love my work." I nodded slowly, smiling. I like it when people enjoy their work. But she wasn’t done. "I Like the money. I like being rich, so I love making lots of money. So I love to work."

I nearly choked on my tea (We’re in England remember). It was unbelievable how sincere and sure of herself she sounded. She loves her job for no other reason then the fact that it makes her rich. Also, she talks very fast and in an almost surreal, informal tone. She offered me something to eat several times and every time, though she was very friendly, I felt like she asked this a million times before today. I mostly talked to her back as she was typing on Facebook, and with the work outfit, it was extremely hard to read her, something I’m usually quite good at. But the main image I got from her was kind of like this:
UNIMPRESSED

As I said, a fascinating little thing. I want to find out what makes her tick, mostly because I can simply not imagine what it could be. Yet somehow, she seems happy.

My host himself appears to be a wonderful man, eager to show me around. THis puts a lot of pressure on me, as I will be deciding what the both of us will be doing instead of visiting his terminally ill friend in Manchester. And I’m not even joking on this one. I don’t suppose "not going home" would could as a worthwile activity right now. I need to think on this.

 

I’ll be staying here until wednesday- And it’s um friday now so that makes 5 days. The reason I have the exact date set this time is because I’ll be meeting up with a fellow RoP player, which I am quite excited about. Sharply contrasting with Leeds, I have people I can talk to here. It’s… a relief.

Pictures are updated, so is the map.
If you don’t have the addresses bookmarked by now, you’re of no use to me.


Leeds: Pleez.

27th of January and I’m in Leeds library, surrounded by books and microfilm logs of every newspaper in the UK. Rooms, corridors, it doesn’t end.

Going from Liverpool to Manchester couldn’t have been easier. I was positioned right by a gas station (they call it a garage here) and after no longer than 30 seconds I was first asked if I wanted anything to eat, and then spoken to by someone willing to go out of his way to drop me off right where I needed to be. To be on the safe side, I asked to drop me off at Manchester airport, where I was supposed to meet my host, who works there. I was supposed to meet him there at 11pm and even though it was only noon when I got out of the car, I figured an airport would be interesting enough to keep myself busy.

Think again. I think the managers there want to keep traffic going simply by boring people out of their building. The few cafes that they had were closed because it was sunday, so all there was to do is check out the architecture, hang around the gates for a while to watch planes take off (which didn’t happen, in fact despite my efforts I failed to spot a single plane in the air) and… sit. I sat, all day long. Needless to say, I was pretty fed up with it soon enough and wandered outside to gather cans thrown out of passing cars. I was fully aware of the impression I must have given, sitting there cutting away with 4 beer cans next to me, but I no longer cared at that point.

I’m actually becoming quite good at it. I noticed how the model I was shown isn’t quite deep enough to use effectively as an ashtray, so I’ve begun to think further and make some changes. I have a can opener on my leatherman so I can try different things the other guy could not. I must have been at it for about half an hour when someone came to stand next to me. Wearing my cap and looking down at my work, I could only see his shoes, but had figured out I was in trouble before I bothered to look up at some security officer.

"What are you doing there?" His voice gave the impression that whatever he thought I was constructing, it was an utterly insane thing to do.

-"Making ashtrays. I sell them, want one?"

-"I think you ought to do such things at home, son. Why don’t you put those scissors away." I blinked and looked down at my pair of scissors. Red Dot kitchen scissors, you couldn’t cut yourself with these if you tried.

-"They’re kitchen scissors." I was trying to figure out if he really was thinking what I thought he might be.

-"Yes well you can’t have those out in public, not in today’s society. You’re going to scare the life out of people, put those away. The police have been watching you for hours, and so have I." He pointed upwards, and looking up I had to laugh, I had been sitting smack under a surveillance camera without even noticing. It’s amazing just how quickly you get used to them. Terrifying, in a sense. He was bluffing though, because if he really had been watching "for hours," he would have noticed the leatherman I used for the starter hole, which is slightly more effecient to hurt people with than damn scissors.

Not in today’s society. Ladies and gentlemen: England. Gone to hell. A place where they let murderers run loose but take away their scissors.
I put the scissors away and nodded sweetly at the lecture I got. He did mention he liked what I was making, but and so on and so forth.

 

Manchester itself was… okay. Not much to see if you ask me. However, this city hosts the work of an extraordinary artist: Banksy.
Banky is (mainly) a stencil artist. Look him up and you will immediately notice that this guy is a genius, hands down. Walking through what the tourist folder described as "the alternative shopping street" in search of something truely "alternative", I ended up in an urban art shop that had a book Banksy published himself, with photographs of his work that he himself made and comments of his every few pages. I noticed there were a lot of works that I had stumbled across befor, including a few examples of his rat stencils and the works he did on the Palestine wall.

Old man: Are you painting on our wall? You make it look beautiful.

Me: Thanks.

Old man: We don’t want it to look beautiful. We hate this wall. Go away.

Banksy understands "today’s society" better than most, and in ways you can only describe as truely revolutionary, and truely artistic. The images he paints not only make people think, but in many cases makes them act.

Sometimes this world makes me so sick I, can’t finish my second apple pie.

Rather than "them versus us", a holier-than-thou attitude that practically all rebels/protestors adopt, he talks about "us". He is fully aware that, all in spite of his lifestyle, he is part of the problem. The main difference is, is that he sees the problem and what’s more, can identify it through one image, both abstract and almost obvious. The icon of Che Guevara in sunglasses, rats painting over a "vandalists will be prosecuted" sign, a police officer snorting coke.

They exist without permission. They are hated and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilizations to their knees. If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model.

If you ever wonder why, back in the days, I chose ‘Vermin’ as my alter ego, my cynical and resistant persona, there you have it. As I read this, and yes I did write it down, I looked up and around me as though he was right behind me, reading what was dormant in my thoughts all along.
I didn’t buy the book, but I wrot down its ISBN number. As soon as I get home, I’m buying this thing and putting it on top of my others.

"You’re not getting a quote from us to put on your book cover."
 -Police Department spokesperson

 

Lacking anything better to do, I eventually went climbing. Bouldering, to be exact, indoors. There’s this simply stunning hall about 30 minutes walk from city center, built inside -you’re not going to believe this- a church. The bouldering area is right where the altar used to be, and the climbing walls go up all the way to the roof. the bell tower is repurposed as a spot to practice rapelling techniques. Amazing.

 

I slept with two hosts in three days, and I didn’t feel like looking for a third, so today I took a hike. Not hitch-hiking, however. I did try, for two hours straight, but after the thirty-fifth retarded gesture from some douchebag and after two cars had stopped only to floor it again as I approached, I lost my patience and took a trian. So sue me. I’m only willing to put up with so much.

So here we are in Leeds. Only two spots with internet in the whole freaking town, according to the tourist office, but the library computers are for free. Two hours, such luxury.

 

I was thinking the other day how the trip had gone so far, and more importantly, what I had learned from it. And one thing I noticed is that I seem to reach back for the same misery time and time again, almost as though I’m seeking it out. I mentioned I just might seek help once I get home, but truth be told, he/she could probably tell me little I haven’t heard already. So if the knowledge is there, why aren’t I using it?

One of the things that is supposed to work in my favor, is keep a "positive diary". It’s tacky, I know, and this kind of things are for people on the edge of depression, but work with me here. What I’m supposed to start off with is a list of my good traits. Sadly I only have 48 hours left on this computer so I’m a little short on time (har har). I’ll keep that for some other time.

Meanwhile… not much. Map has updated, which means there’s a line there that wasn’t there before.

It’s time to track down my host for tonight.
ISBN 1-844-3787-2
        978-1-844-3787-9
Not sure which one is the right one.
My birthday is February 4th.


Liverpool: “Berimbau”

Yeah yeah, I know. One post after the other. I just want to catch this moment while it’s fresh in my memory and well, stil pumping through my veins. I’ll keep it short. Promise.

I mentioned I had stumbled across this "alternative" style cafe, right? I liked the atmosphere so much there that I went back today to sit and ponder, and maybe actually succeed in talking to people. With nothing to do, I busied myself with something I picked up on Tara Hill: Making ashtrays from beer cans. I actually went and bought a pair of scissors for this, and I plan to be making these whenever I have nothing better to do and sell them for a pound or something. The money is nice, but in truth I mainly use it as an ice breaker.

It’s highly effective. The two times I went about doing this in public, someone approached me about it. This was the second time, and seconds after making it, it was gone and I was a pound richer. We shared a few awkward words and he went back to talking to someone he knew there and I proceeded to mind my own business. But it’s a step forward, right? Yeah.

That’s when the word was spoken. The voice was soft and deep, so I hadn’t caught any of the conversation, but this word stirred up vivid and intense memories. "Berimbau." Out of the blue.

A Berimbau, boys and girls, is an instrument. It is made from a 1,5m long stick and a metal wire extracted from a truck tyre, with a hollowed out gourd (kalebas for the belgians) attached, which serves as resonator. It is the main instrument of a roda, which is a gathering of people playing capoeira.
Capoeira, boys and girls, is a true marvel originating from Brazilian culture. It is a martial art and an improvised dance all at the same time. I play it, and it has served as my workout and therapy. And I’ve been dying to get some training.

It didn’t even cost me any effort, or time wasted in consideration. See, this is the main thing: If I have a reason to talk to you, I will. If I don’t, I simply can’t. This is why I am here: To force myself to talk to others so I would get over this.. fear? Reluctance?
To the point! I got up instantly and joined the small group. "I’m sorry, I couldn’t help overhear- You are a capoeirista?"

He was, and just that night he was going to give a workshop in that very building. I eagerly -yet politely- asked if I could join, and the response was a very warm one.

Looking back now, it was alright. It turned out he was an Angola practicioner, which focuses almost exclusively on technique and such, as opposed to energy and acrobacy. Look it up if you care to: Caopeira Angola and Capoeira Regional, you’ll see the difference. Me, although I have a deep respect for Angola practitioners, I prefer Regional. It’s fast-paced, energetic, and I can really channel my energy outward, something I often have trouble with doing.

Keeping to just the very basics of Capoeira Angola today, I have to say it was borderline boring, although we got to try the instruments and learned a song or two, something my Mestre tends to forget about. But all in all, the game was besides the point. I made friends. Spontaneously. Distant friends at best, who I will probably never see again, but for me, this is quite new.

Yes yes I know, it’s sad. Some guy who can pull off all sorts of things gets excited over a conversation or two. But you have to understand something very clearly here.
There’s a gap in my personality at this very point. It’s a social skill I never developed, because I never felt a need to. In school, friends would almost come on their own, and I had a girlfriend all through puberty. Now that all this changed, it’s simply… not there. Like a quarter-sized hole in the hull of a ship, a constant source of frustration. I figured, by putting myself in the position I am now, I would be forced to address people, and sort of develop a knack for it that I could take home and use when I needed to cross that line. It’s been largely unfruitful so far, but tonight shows, that however slowly, I am at least moving in the right direction. Hurray for me. It’s amazing how different the world looks now.


Liverpool: Liverpool

You know what, I really like Liverpool. So far this
whole city has been one pleasant surprise after another. My host is alright
too- but then, they’ve all been great so far. He literally gave me the key to
his house on the first night and told me I was free to go in and out as I
pleased. His trust in strangers is remarkable, though of course I wouldn’t have
much places to run to if I decided to take off with the flat screen that he
doesn’t have.

Seriously, I could see myself living here, and I don’t say that easily. The
town centre is a little focused on expensive fashion, but once you set foot
outside of it, you find yourself pausing to take a good look around on just
about every corner of the street. The city declared itself "Capital of
Culture" last year, resulting in the most amazing of spectacles (Seriously, watch that), with the
effects still very noticeable just about everywhere you turn. Bars, clubs,
venues small and big, are all centered on music. No square is left without some
artwork that makes you tilt your head, and even the underground scene is very
easily spotted. Just last night I stumbled across what seemed to be a cross between
a tea house and a squat, which turned out to be an artist community and the
center of a whole complex of studios and rehearsal rooms. I stayed there for a
while, enjoying the atmosphere very unlike the usual cold cleanliness that make
you wonder if you have nowhere better to be. Even the waitress, Spanish and
heavily accented, had quite an attitude. What more can you ask for?

Modern as the traffic-free centre might be, the rest of the city is mainly
composed of bricks. I came to realize yesterday just how much I like the
impression brick walls give. The dock warehouses have been largely abandoned
and are in a state of decay, which makes them look all the more authentic. With
the external hoists now gone and most windows broken, what is left is the silent
witness of what was once a heavily industrialized zone, one of the most
important ports of England
until the independence of its colonies and the development of cheap air
traffic.

Amidst all this, you will find yourself running into medieval buildings as
well, although both (yes, two) cathedrals were built in the 20th century.
Things like churches and um, churches. Museums too, and quite interesting ones
at that, covering subjects like slavery, music history, modern art and Liverpool
itself.

Also, something I’ve been missing terribly in Ireland.
A dead honest, in-your-face, I don’t give a shit attitude. Because showing it or
not, strangers just don’t give a damn. Regardless of their willingness to help
you if there’s a problem, they really don’t care who you are and where you’re
going, and they ask you how you are only if they really want to know. Back on
the west coast of Ireland,
it was a standard way of saying hello and always made me stammer confusedly
that I was quite alright, thanks, as if they could care less. On top of that,
the crowd here is very young. 15 to 25 young, with all consequences to be
expected: Maarten can’t keep his eyes to himself. Hey I just came from a
country of fat stout drinkers, mind you. Besides, I’m 24 and barely- wow I’m sad.

There’s supposed to be an SM club here as well, but I haven’t found it yet.
Not that I’ve been looking (actively), but I noticed they seem to have
forgotten to put it on the tourist map. Curious. I don’t think I would have the
balls to check it out, anyhow. But you never know some wind might drag me in
and provide an interesting experience or two. Something to tag on the list of
experiences before I die. I think you’d like to see me do that, too.

 

Encouraged by the experience so far, I think I’m going to focus less on
moving on, and more on staying put where ever I find myself. Not just to explore the city, but spend
some time with my host, as well. Share a few ideas and you know, get to know
each other. The few times I bothered with this have proven to be rather
pleasantly surprising.

Besides, all this distance is having its wear on me (ohh here comes the
complaining again). My left foot is killing me. My big toe seems slightly
misgrown and has been giving me trouble for years, so I have to tilt my ankle
slightly as I roll it forward while walking. Nothing anyone would notice I
hope, but with the weight of my rucksack and the daily distance I cover, the
muscle doing the tilt is getting very sore. So I walk on the outside of my
foot, again hard to notice, but it’s causing me blisters. Walking is getting a
little awkward at this point, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Secondly, there’s something you wouldn’t expect at first. Let me give you the
gist of what I’m carrying, though:

  • Leatherman pocket knife.
  • Digital camera.
  • A belt pouch (Official
    Guinness merchandise!) carrying my wallet, cell phone, travel log and
    important papers.

  • Rucksack, with in it my
    clothes, sleeping bag, and small things like batteries and whatnot.

There’s a hip bag I have with me as well, but that’s of no
concern right now. All this allows me to adjust easily to my plans for the day,
keeping what I need on my body without the need to transfer stuff from my pack.
BUT, and here’s the catch.
Even my lightest attire had about half a kilo attached to my belt. When traveling,
I think I’m holding about 30 kilo in total, food included. And with the pack’s
waistband, almost all of that rests on my hips and abdomen. And bladder. And Christ
that’s annoying, you have no idea. In the suburbs, you can’t just pick out any light
post and go at it merrily whistling the Power Rangers theme, not in
conservative Britain.
They can seriously arrest you for that, and here, they will.

Blah my host was so clever to give me the "office" to sleep in, which
means I can sit here without disturbing anyone. Inevitably, the result is 2am and I’m still up.

Okay so here’s a few updates.
The map is starting to come together nicely, I think it’s going to look quite interesting by the time I’m done.
I started a new "Tourist Pics" folder to put my pictures in, as the first now has over 200 pictures in it. It already has a few nice one of Liverpool, if I do say so myself.
I’ll be going northeast from here, probably to Manchester / Leeds / Newcastle or yeah whatever. Note to self – contact addresses. Like I ever read this.
In the unlikely event of getting to know someone here, I might stick around a little longer. I don’t see why not. All this running is exhausting and has proven to be utterly pointless, so let’s try it another way.


Liverpool: Stretching It

20th of Januari, I made it to liverpool today.

Let’s sum things up as I only have a short time in this overpriced internet cafe thing. I hate pre-paid connection.

I went from Ballina to Dublin, west to east, in one day again, despite getting caught weather that made the headlines:

Winds of up to 80mph cut electricity supplies to around 100,000 homes across Ireland, and fallen trees and debris damaged power lines and blocked roads.

Some weather to be hitch hiking in. But, I got extremely lucky and got a ride straight into Dublin centre by a pack of guys who were attending a kickboxing even there. I stayed for 2 nights, but because I had so much preparations to do I didn’t have the chance to visit the Tara Hill protestors, which I regret. Looking back, I think I should have stayed a day longer. Oh well. Looking back, there’s a lot of things that could have gone differently in the recent past.

I fucked up royally. It’s funny how I will give 8 euro to a man who can’t pay for his bus ride home, but I prefer to be set back 50km rather than pay and extra 5 to get dropped off by boat in Liverpool rather than some random town that happens to be closer by Dublin.
I swear, this town was designed to rip me to bits. It’s a shredder, catching any unsuspecting hitch-hiker in its claws and eating them alive. First of all, there are no indications whatsoever except for the town next door, 70% of the signs are in fucking Welsh, and I am not permitted to go anywhere near the road I need to be on. Seriouslym they put fences up and make the sidewalks impossible to walk on just in case someone should need to catch a ride there. I ended up halfway into town, serving as the laughing stock of the locals and the target of a shitload of useless and unasked advice. Eventually I did get a ride to the aforementioned town, with a name I am happy to have forgotten, in the right direction but only slightly down the road.

I figured I couldn’t possibly be worse off, but it so happened I was dead wrong. The 2 hours that followed were pure frustration and worrying. I had contacted several couchsurfing addresses, thinking I could thankfully cancel the others once I made it to one place, so I had multiple people waiting for me. With this in mind, I ended up underneath a motorway, with two roundabouts on the end of each driveway, with exits leading in all directions. No sidewalks, short bends, fast traffic with no place to stop. A hitch-hiker’s fucking nightmare. I once again tried to position myself in the nearby village, but besides getting laughed at, I didn’t accoplish much there. And it was getting dark.

I found another one of those B&B hotels, kindly willing to help me out but for no less than £35. I’m not even going to convert that. Instead of getting my money’s worth as a good night’s sleep, my cell phone decided to bug on me, reset itself, and tell me it was time to get up at 5.30 in the morning. I was showered, fully dressed and wondering what happened to my breakfast, when I noticed it really was still strangely dark outside. I suggest you try that if you really want to know how hard it is to get back to sleep after that, only to have to do it all over again 2 hours later.

I took a train the next morning, for the first time on this trip. So far I had considered public transport to be "cheating," but I really am at the end of my patience here. I said before, I lack the patience for this kind of adventure. Cold, wet and with nothing to do but wait in hope to get lucky, I get frustrated very fast.

In other words, Fuck Wales. You’re UK, learn English. Grow sidewalks and learn to walk, you’re 6 million years behind on evolution.

>>Hi Maarten
>>
>>Well, I suppose you found somewhere to syat which I am
>>happy about. Howver, I’m a little dissapointed that
>>you lacked the good manners to respond to my offer to
>>let you couch surf with me. A simple message would
>>have been polite and considerate.
>>
>>I hope you have fun in my city.
>>
>>[Host’s name]

 

This said, I get the feeling I can connect with people a lot better here. It seemed to me that there was a whole generation missing in Ireland, situated somewhere between 20 and 35 years of age and in extreme minority, which is located in Temple Bar in Dublin and all looking like little dolls. Besides beig provided with individuals I can openly gawk at, people here also come over a lot more natural. It could be because they don’t start chugging Guinness at 9 in the morning, or that they have a slightly less vague connection with the actual world, focusing less on their miserable weather and equally grey American politics.

Isnt’ Obama doing his little speech today, by the way? €50 says he gets assassinated, soon if not today. I watched a special about him last night in the hotel, and though I wholeheartedly agree with 99% of his viewpoints and sincerely hope he can make his promises true, I get the feeling that I am the only one who truely realizes what he is up against. It’s not citizens who rule the nation as in a real democracy, but dollars. And in that sense, he is turning against his own nation.
I wish him the best of luck. He’s going to need it.

 

I got no response from my couchsurfing address yet. It’s 1pm and I don’t know where I’m going to sleep. I wrote down where to find the only youth hostel in reach but there’s a good chance it might be fully booked. I’m going to check the net again tonight, if able. Finger crossed.


Westport, Kiltimagh, Ballina

14th. Oh look what a nice font. [Note: This font was the standard on a computer that had no internet access at the time.]

I was going to "take it easy today," so I decided to climb the pilgrim’s trail up "Croagh Patrick," in other words Mount St. Patrick.. I can’t remember when I last did a trail this hard.
This mountain, with a small church on top, was where St. Patrick supposedly decided to turn Ireland catholic. Every year no less than 30,000 people (50,000 last year because it was sunny) start a hike from a nearby town, up to the very top of this mountain over a trail covered in medium-sized rocks. These are an absolute bitch to climb because they cover the path so thickly, that you slide back down all the time, resulting in the dreaded ‘3 steps forward 1 step back’ effect. The person I am staying with mentioned that some even do it barefoot, and a select few are crazy enough to do it on their damn knees. Personally I completely fail to see how anyone could pull that off, unless you are wielding industrial type kneecaps which would kind of defy the purpose of getting down on your knees in the first place.
Either way, it takes about 2 hours to get up there at a decent pace, and you are rewarded with a view of the neighbouring towns (if you’re lucky with the weather like I was) and the nagging thought that you should have gotten some breakfast before taking off.

But that’s… hardly the highlight of the day. Sure, the endophines get you high and the thin air makes you dizzy and you’re the king of the world once you reach the top, but I’m repeating myself. I mean this in the best way possible, but once you’ve seen one mountain from up close, they all look kind of alike.

No, the actual climax (dun dun dunn) came just this evening, staring into the fireplace.
The cottage I am staying in now, with a quite exraordinary man to say the least, is one of the smallest in an area of oversized houses. It’s… a home. 4 cats, 2 dogs, and all sorts of things on the wall that make you wonder who lived long enough to collect them all. And sitting here in silence for I think 2 hours flat, I came to notice, despite the feeling of dissolving in a world incomprehensibly big, how much at ease I was. In one sense I could hardly be further away from home, in another… I am home.

I thought I would be leaving all this baggage home. That rebirth would come almost effortlessly, in a completely new place, with new people, under a new name. The blossoming. But, here I am, still the same. Unchanged, if I would like to or not. And although frustrating, it brings a feeling of comfort. Like a turtle figuratively carrying its home along, I have my identity in my back pocket. It was a little naive to think I could start from scratch simply by drastically changing my surroundings, perhaps I should focus on coping with myself a little more. Concentrate on the little things. Like calling my friends.

One of the things I’ve been missing fiercely is the simple presence of a water tower.
Yes, a water tower. When you want water to be brought up to the second floor, you could install a pump. But that pump will only activate when you open your tap and the water pressure drops. So you get an initial burst of water, then nothing, and then another torrent as the pump automatically responds. If you’re lucky, the pump has the same capacity as the pipes and as long as no one else opens anything on the same network, you don’t get that same process over and over as the pump activates and deactivates repeatedly.

Understandably, they don’t feel like seeking out the highest mountain here just to plant a water tower on it. So… they install pumps. Water pressure is near zero where ever you go. Taking a shower is a tedious wait until you get wet, taps give about just enough to use for your toothbrush. As a metter of fact, showers have their own little electric pump that seems to heat the water simultaneously. Small and cheap, they overheat easily and when you turn the water off and on again without thinking, you are treated to a gentle spray of water so damn cold it yanks your nads straight up with your kidneys. Sonovabitch do I hate this system.

Back on Tara hill we were introduced to a strange kind of fuel, that seems to consist of little more than dry mud. They call it turf and it’s actually a premature sort of coal, dead vegetation that never quite rotted fully and had stacked up on the bottom for a few thousands of years. Hardly sustainable, was my first thought, but the guy in question said "There’s a lot of it."

Looking around now, I realize that he said this with a rather dry feeling for understatement. The whole of Ireland is covered in this junk. It is commercially squeezed into brickets and sold cheaply, and gives off a distinct smell that I will probably fondly remember for the rest of my life.

The soil is very poor here however, and I can’t help but wonder where all this turf comes from. It just seems to stick to the rocks, covering whole bogs and meadows with a kind of silly tuft of grass on top. There’s no real earth underneath, only stone. It almost appears like this stuff is brought with the wind and has slid down the mountains over time. Ireland, covered in fuel. Curious.

Anyhow. Off to a place called Roosky tomorrow. My host is so kind to take me halfway there, and I think the rest should’t be so hard to do. I already made my hitch hiking sign, following the tips on hitchwiki.com or whatever and adding ‘please’ at the end.
Cute huh? I thought so.

I’m nearing the northern coast of Ireland, and I really don’t feel like following it to North Ireland. I think I’m going back to Dublin after this, catch a boat, go north through England to Scotland, grab a boat in Edinburgh to Norway and move on from there. Of course, all this providing that I don’t get turned around or find a better place to go to. Someone convince me to go to Iceland, instead.

I think I’ve pretty much seen as much of Ireland as I wanted to.
On that note, I noticed I’m beginning to dislike the Irish accent as I’m getting to know it. Unlike my friends as far as I know of, I was never particularly fond of it and maybe it’s just the west coast, but it’s just starting to sound like ugly English to me. I am beginning to feel the pain of the elders, who see their traditional Irish language fade away to make place for this half-assed kind of dialect. Or maybe I’m way off.



16th of January, feels like 2 years later once again.

I didn’t get to post my previous entry, as my host’s connection failed. So I copied the html code on my memory stick and pasted it here. NERD. That’s why the font thing made no sense to you.

The last few days were… trying. I was supposed to hitch hike over to Roosky from Westpot, which I did, only to discover that Apparently there is more than one Roosky in Ireland. There are in fact 4, and the cross-section with a house on either side, a 7km walk through rain and wind away from civilization, WAS NOT IT. It had gotten dark by then, but a local who was just passing by was so graceful to pick me up. I ended up in some shithole named Kiltimagh (I swear I am not making this up) with one and only one B&B there, charging €50 per night.

Okay, I thought. For €50 I will be put to bed in a palace with a man called Clyde standing by my bed to hold it for me during midnight bathroom breaks. I’ll make the most of it and get a good night’s rest so I am fresh and bushy-tailed for the emergency distance I would be covering the next day unprepared.

But nooo. As I was the only one there, this greedy cow didn’t even bother put the heating on an acceptable power. Even hot water was too much to ask for. It was the first real bed I had seen in quite a while, and yet it was the worst night in far longer. And not in the least because, under 4 layers of blankets, I was freezing.

Things like this wear me out in no time at all. Under physical stress I feel alive, but this kind of situation drains me completely before you can say "homocide". The frustration builds up and kills my mood. The whole world can fuck off. When asked to sign the guestbook, I simply put "Can we go home now?" and closed it before the woman was back. It was the most subtle thing I could come up with, but I do hope she got the hint. All in all it was friendlier than "I had better without spending a cent – yesterday."

 

After a difficult start the next morning, I eventually made it to a charming town called Ballina. The place here is somewhat dirtier and less um, disinfected than most I’ve seen recently, and that is probably why I took a liking to it. The outskirts, where I’m staying, are a little upper class to my taste, but I’m not going to complain about it.

I’m sleeping with a single-parent family of 3 and like they tend to, it has had a few strange effects on me. First of all, I feel exceptionally comfortable with the mother. Is it because she is from the mainland, that she is roughly my age, or that she has the tendency to overthink like I have, I’ll leave that in the middle. I know what it’s not: She is not a mother figure to me. There’s no mistaking on that part, the difference is more than obvious to me.
To the point, please? When I was going to bed last night (I slept quite literally with the dog as my sudden arrival made things a little overcrowded) I passed by the children’s room. Now let me tell you I don’t like children. I don’t dislike them, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t have that "Oh My God It’s A Babeeee" reflex that the whole world seems to have, judging me as heartless because I don’t. And if I did have that tendency, I would suppress it. There.
Where was I. Passing by the open doorway, I saw the daughter in bed. She’s tiny. With my limited experience with children I am a poor estimate at ages, but she’s just learning to read and write. A miniature, in a miniature bed. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I’m no father figure. I do have a guard dog complex for those I care about that are physically weaker then me, but that’s where it ends. Still, this pile of blanket and pyjama with this teeny girl sleeping in its embrace, was… heartwarming. Suddenly this whole hype around children made a little more sense, and a parent’s love for his kids was all the more understandable.

Now let’s not make a fuss about this.

 

Welp, This was Ireland as far as I’m concerned. Tomorrow I’m going to try and make it back to Dublin, and decide where to go from there. However I’m not sure if that kind of distance is a wise thing to undertake on a weekend. If I get stuck, I get stuck bad. So yeah, why not.

Thanks to all who sent their support. It’s absolutely great hearing from you.
I didn’t bring the cable for my camera so I’m a little stuck with my pictures until I find a computer that can take memory cards up the slot. I am eager to do so because although they aren’t that great at all, some of them still give me a chuckle. You’ll get the joke when you see them. I think.

To keep you and myself busy, I put up a map of where I’ve been staying, marking the highlights.
View Larger Map
Hmm not sure if that worked. Here’s the original.


Letterfrack: The Horseshoe

Funny how things can go.

As far as I’m concerned, I was mostly right about Galway’s skin-deep friendliness. It took me a disgracefully long time to get a ride when hitch-hiking to Clifden. In the end I was picked up by a woman who had to be near there, and was so kind to take the scenic route despite being in a hurry. By pure coincidence she dropped me off here in Letterfrack, where I wanted to go in the first place, but planning a night in Clifden because I didn’t think I would make it in one go. So instead of hitch-hiking further, I turned my back to check on the local youth hostel, the old monastery, where I had a bed reserved the next day.

First of all, let me try and describe this place. Where Galway was clean and crowded, this place seems about as random as the man who runs it on his own. This man could be John Cleese himself, in fact I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t him. Pictures will be posted when I get on a computer fabricated this decade, but here’s the gist:
The front is covered in cozyness, lacking a better word. Random objects, from deer antlers to christmas lights, are all over the place. The inside gives a less chaotic, but nonetheless surreal feel. The bathroom tops it all effortlessly. There is a German opera radio station always playing softly, and illumination is provided by strings of twinkling blue lights. The shower stalls in particular actually made me laugh. They are build out of rough concrete, the walls covered in see-though plastic plates. behind which more of the same light shimmer as though you just ended up in something between a clear night sky and a whorehouse.

The first night I was here all by myself, at least that’s what I assumed. The manager/cleaning crew/housecleaning had gone some place else, and I had dozed off with a book on the second world war’s political aftermath (politics have that effect on me) in front of the fireplace. I had wished I could at leat have someone to have a decent conversation with (and an evening of flirtation and a night of boundless sexual exploration if it’s not too much to ask) but as I woke with a start, I got way more than I bargained for.

Kids came in screaming and swearing, 7 of them and no older than 15, flopping down on the couch in front of me and babbling something about some horseshoe in a dialect I could hardly make out. I instantly grew an everlasting grudge against the parents and a rather soothing urge to strangle each one of those instruments of noise.

Not long after they were gone and I was joined by three adults, whom I presumed were the parents. During the conversation that lasted all evening I learned that the kids were in fact not theirs, and they were working for a government program that put troubled youngsters through an "endurance" program. The next day they would go through their final test, the Horseshoe.

There are actually two of those in Connemara, laying side by side and in that way making a sort of S shape, 12 mountains in total and thus called The 12 Pins. The path they would take, or improvise really, did 7 of those and could take up to 12 hours, putting these kids to the ultimate test. I was quite amazed to hear this, of course. The kids had gone through a 3 month training but even then, pulling this off would be a remarkable feat. It was only logic that I, with zero training and hopelessly underequipped, agreed to come with after about 2 minutes of hesitation when I was aked.  Almost instantly I had forged a bond with these kids that I will probably have with no one else.

 

I came to Connemara looking for a challenge. I bought a file of different walking routes and picked out the most difficult ones, but after doing one upon arrival in half the estimated time, I had given up on it. The view is absolutely breath taking and the walks quite exhausting, but I actually had to stray from the paths and go up in a straight line to make it actually hard on myself. The good part about being on your own is that no one thinks you’re trying to prove something when you want to go and do stupid things like this.

So after being told that this route has simply broken many an adventurer in half, I didn’t want to miss it. The person responsible tried to describe to me that there would be cliffs on either side and no way to go back, but I didn’t want to hear it. Going back was never an option to begin with. I wanted to be pushed to the edge so I would at least know where to find it.

As predicted, the weather had changed drastically overnight. The cold sunshine we had before was now a wamer rain front with strong winds. The kids were iddued professional rain gear and hiking boots, a rucksack with protective cover and all that shit. I had to make with my vest and fleece underneath, 2 year old walking shoes (not to be mistaken for hiking boots) and pants that I got in a hurry at H&M before flying over. Oh and a hip bag. When asked where my equipment was, I shrugged and said "I like to travel light".

The kids were, after all, quite enjoyable once I got to their level. Many of them were actually quite smart, they just have… a different way of expressing themselves. More than once our mutual greeting consisted of little more than,

"Hey, Dickhead."

– "Cock sucker."

I quickly started enjoying this, as for once people weren’t in utter shock at the language that I sometimes spew.

 

Anyhow. We drove to the foot of the range with a minibus, and went from there. The initial ascent to the first peak was already a killer, a 30 degree climb that just seemed to go on forever, into the low hanging clouds. Before halfway my shoes had filled up with water and my pants were soaked, my vest and sweater luckily doing a better job at keeping me warm. The kids were already nagging and asking to go back, despite having done much harder things in the recent past. The weather mostly was a bitch. As we neared the top, I had to put away my nifty rain hat, lest it would go flying. But yeh, we made it up, only to be submitted to the worst kind of weather I have ever experienced. Even the adults, who had done this track plenty of times, said that this is the worst they have ever had. The rain wasn’t all that bad and it was 8 degrees Celcius, but the wind just tore you off the mountain. At one time I reached a peak as the first and upon turning back to check on the others, I was hit with a gust of wind that literally made me clamp down on the rock not to get blown off right off the ledge. I kept signalling that it was a Very bad idea to bring the others up, some of which were quite a bit lighter than me, but the guide just kind of nodded, "Yes way" and lead us all on there. More than once I had to grab on of the smaller ones by the backpack to keep them from getting blown over.

After about 2/3rds of the trip, the guide decided that it was enough. We were all completely exhausted, soaked to the bone, and had gone through very dangerous situations more than once. Though lighter packed than the others, I too was having problems of my own. The profile under my shoes has mostly worn off, and I kept on slipping. They aren’t waterproof, and my efforts towards keeping my feet dry with jumping and going around puddles, wasted a lot of energy.
The guide (One of the responsible adults, that is) Went on ahead to get the minibus to where we would hit the road on our way down, and without second throught I marched after him, along with one of the youth.

What followed is kind of hard to descibe. Almost running down the slick edge of the mountain (slipping and tumbling in my case) we ended up un the very center of the horseshoe, and it took me a little while to realize that we had ended up smack in one of Ireland’s infamous bogs. It was nothing like anything I had ever seen before. It was not quite a swamp, as the turf is quite solid, but with each step you didn’t know if you were going to hit solid ground, slip on your face, or sink knee deep in a hidden stream. Looking around, I found myself in the middle of this gigantic marsh, completely surrounded by mountains, of which I could only see the base before they disapeared into the clouds, as though we were completely cut off from whatever was beyond. I had to smile at the Lord of the Rings-esque feeling I got as the three of us were moving on at a murderous pace. The guy’s got skill, I’ll tell you that.

The three of us made it to the van, aching, shuddering and cursing. Since I had no dry clothes on me, the ride home was utter hell. Looking back now, I still believe I would have walked it to the end, but in that weather the question would remain how I would end up today. Right now, my legs are bruised, my hand hurts for some odd reason, and I ache in places previously unknown to me. But it was so worth it.

 

All this made me realize something. The whole point of this journey was to give these young people a new chance, to show that they could do anything if they set their mind to it. And it certainly had that effect on me. Although I didn’t reach the end of my potential as I never broke down as I expected to, I did get to dig in it quite deeply.

I hate to blow my own horn (Lies!) but I am rather proud of wthat I did. At a certain moment, I looked to my side and saw my shadow projected onto the next mountain. It was puny and while the mountain had been there for millions of years, it would last no longer than a few seconds. But it was there, and so was I. What happened isn’t just some play of my memory, or a story that I cooked up to pretend. The things I did in my life aren’t just mere memories, they are who I am and I could do it all again if I felt like it. While I had come to believe that it was all  behind me and there was so little left, I showed myself that the potential is still vastly available and I, probably sounding very egocentric right now, can do shit few others can. Not because I am physically fit, as much as mentally capable. Doing this gave me a whole new surge of a specific kind of confidence, and perhaps that is exactly what I should have startd with. Time will tell.

 

NEXT UP is Westmore, with Mr. Hippy. The other guy has the flu (Sucker) so the path is clear. Thank god this place has internet, so I get to arrange things for the near future. One less thing on my mind.

After that I will (hopefully) be staying with one of the Tara Hill protestors who lives here in a place called Roosky. Looking forward to seeing him and his dog again.

Then it’s off to Ballina to stay with another couch surfing address, where they seem to have a profound hate for things called ‘Moy’ (Insider joke har har).

 

The best is yet to come!

 

Also, who do I hate to eat out to get a toothpick around here? No seriously. I mean it, bend over, let me get on my knees. Opportunity people, doesn’t it mean anything, in this place?


Galway: The Vigil

10 days. Not even. I feel like I’ve been away for a month. I’m still stuck in Galway and I’m getting tired of it more and more.

There’s a cd of mine playing behind me, the Fountain OST. It was a christmas gift. It struck me how intensely things like this remind me of home, and how powerful the emotional response is.Also behind me are 3 french people, turning it down rather briskly amd joking to each other, "Time to relax." I cam’t blame them, the volume was way up, but still. It’s my music. I would like to be able to hear it, thank you. It’s all I have at this point.

This is where it really gets difficult. Everywhere I turn there’s Australians not giving a fuck, and friendly masks covering up the real disinterest so honestly portrayed in bigger cities. Every time I get the impression that I am being liked, I look again to be facing someone’s shoulderblades. And call me weak but it hurts, every time.

CHANGE OF PLANS here’s what’s going to happen.

One, fuck air-conditined buses stopping every 15 minutes to give you barely enough time to shoot a picture. Fuck antisocial sitting in the back with my music player turned up. I’ll walk, thankyouverymuch.

Two, I’m ditching this place. The friendliness of this country town is a hoax. They don’t really give a shit when they ask how you are doing, they’re asking what you want and how much you are about to pay for it. And just because they do it with a smile, doesn’t mean they won’t back up over your face after running you over. There is something very disenchanting when this almost overly friendly girl turns on you after you’ve paid for your sandwich. It’s a hoax.

Today is the 8th. Tomorrow, 9th obviously, I will be hitch-hiking to Clifton, or Clifden, they seem to have a hard time deciding. Let’s hope that fact doesn’t render half of ny target audience unable to read my sign. I will be staying there for the night and because I got up early, hopefully I will be able to visit the cliffs and try one of those walks that are supposedly very impressive. I am actually looking forward to that.

The 10th and 11th I will be staying at a hostel inside an ancient monastery, after walking the distance. It’s located at Letterfrack, at the edge of the infamous Connamara national park. I just realise that this will not give me time to do two loop hikes, but only one instead. Blah. Anyway I plan to make it as hard as possibly on myself and take the long route up Diamond Hill. I would love to do many more but the hostel is quite expensive and I am not equipped for the longer hikes. Still…
Ah, I’m sure I’ll come across plenty of nice views.

On the 12th I will be staying in Westport with a 60-something hippy, but here is where it gets a little vague. It seems there is a fellow couch surfer around town as indecicive as I am, and we’re crossing paths right where there is only place for 1 of us. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t intend to stay longer than 2 days, but!

Then we have a gap, before the 14th OR 15th, when I can take it up north further to Ballina to stay at another couch surfing address, after which the notebook is still blank.

I gathered the courage to check my savings, and it turns out I am still smack at the same amount I started off with. This inspired me to do some investments: A decent map and compass for the walks, and a vest. The latter was only €28 and though it is far from perfect, it was way underpriced. The shop owner even turned to his employee when he saw the label, asking "Did you put this on here??" I think I just ripped them off. Awesome. That’ll teach them and their friendly manners. Filling, double seams, it’s got all it needs for when I take it up the mountains.

The weather so far has been spookily good. Although I heard this is the coldest winter in many years, the sky is open and in over 2 weeks they haven’t had anything worse than a drizzle. That will change on Saturday however, right when I am planning to go walking. Crossing my fingers on that one.


Galway: Shifting Gears

I made it from Dublin to Galway, east to west, in one go. I had to take the bus for the last couple towns after it had gotten dark, but €5 is nothing compared to the small fortune I was facing. So now I’m in an award-winning town, living in an award-winning hostel looking over an award-winning square, and I’m… frustrated.

This place is packed. When I came in here, I thought there would be no way they would have vacancies left. And yet still, it all just flows around me. I’m just, minding my own business, or watching in silence.

Maybe I’m trying too hard, or focusing too much. It’s funny, just recently I went and lectured someone about opening up to others, and here I find myself giving up. Seriously, we’re just over a week in and I’ve had enough. Browsing through the available folders here I found an ad for "Ireland on the wild side". Dumb as it may sound, I think I’m going to tag along. There’s a good possibility some of these trips take more than one day and I think it would be good to clear my head.

Everyone’s talking here, they seem incapable of shutting up. Australians, mostly, about the jobs they got here and the fact that they are looking for a house of their own. I honestly hope their vocabulary isn’t shared by the rest of their country. The accent is fine, but if your repertoire consists of little more than "cool", "That’s so funny!" and "like", and your every sentence ends with a question mark, you will quickly irritate the mainlanders around you. Combine this with the fact that they are damn gorgeous, spontaneous and all that shit, and you have a perfect combo to make Maarten not say a word. Staring in his mug of tea, black since they don’t seem to have any other kind in the whole of Ireland, more inclined to put his headphones in than strike up a conversation.

How many kilometers?
And I end up in a place
Full of people I don’t want to even
Fucking talk to

–Travel log

Since I missed the bus to Connamara, which is I heard, "Like, totally beautiful?" I am going to keep to strolling through town today. Maybe I’ll find the coastline and folow it for as long as the sun permits.

Bah. I really could use someone to talk to.


Alright so Galway isn’t all that bad. I think it would be nicer during the summer. I took a walk along the coastline and I must have ended up 2 towns further, from which I could see the cliffs that are used as a local tourist attraction. I think what I’ll do is, book an extra night at the hostel here and walk it. Connemara tomorrow, legging it the day after. Grab my backpack and taking a hike up the west coast. I’m working on a sign that simply states "A place to SLEEP pls" just in case, and walk the coast until I get tired of it or run into the love of my life or something. One can only hope, hm?

Back with the protestors, a friendly bloke gave me his number, saying he lived somewhere to the northwest and had a spare couch.
I sent a couchsurfing request to a town way out of reach as well, I’m hoping to find a place there to find some rest and company. I want to get up there on foot, so it seems I am facing long walks and harsh winds as I will be following the coastline. Fuckin’, awesome. Looking forward.

Also, I am spending way too much time here. Internet in this place is too cheap for me.


Dublin: Tara Hill

So now we are being told that speculators’ gold
Brings this road by Rath Lugh’s ancient Rath
And they did not care what was lying there
Thirty-eight sacred sights.

In a stone-lined bed a man lay dead,
Now moved – it’s an aweful crime.
Ye should have let him stay in the ground where he lay
At peace since the dawn of time.

More relics of our past are on the cold clay cast
Now exposed to the wind and rain
And thrown in a bin and the hole filled in
Are the stones of Roestown souterrain.

On a snow white mare with her platinum hair
She rides her fine horse past Rath Lugh
Sobbing she cries from jet black eyes
Fall tears from the goddess Eriu

"Do you not understand this is sacred land
And ye destroyed it at your peril"
And in a misty smoke thus she spoke
This green cloaked, fair skinned girl

"Now I must go but young blood it may flow
Because of this ghastly deed"
And this ground may be wet and a valey of death
At my Gabhra river valley in Meath.

-Kyrie Murray, Tara Hill

Having spent 5 nights with the Tara Hill protestors, I really have the feeling I saw the business end of Irish history. I learned things there that I could nowhere else, and I wish I could have done more in return. But it’s time to move on…

With my friends gone home now and the addictive company of the German girls no longer here, I am actually alone now for the first time. In a sense though, I suppose that’s a good thing. The Belgian crew were special individuals, but… not always my kind of travel company. At certain times I really had to clench my teeth not to let an argument overheat, and I think I would have lost my patience before long. I guess that makes me antisocial, or, as I like to believe, um special. When I have my mind set on something and want to make it work, I tend to give it my whole effort. When others do not or disagree and get it their way, I need to swallow that down, and it’s… difficult. Maybe having a group with similar mindset would suit me better, I have no problems adjusting to other people’s plans but goals need to be set and reached unless circumstances change. I’m a little anal about that.

Anyhow,  I decided to go west, mainly because there is little other choice to go, and because I am told it is quite beautiful along the west coast. So off I go, ill prepared and scared shitless.

Thanks to the girls I had a hot shower and actual bed tonight, in the youth hostel in Dublin after they were invited elsewhere. It cost me no more than €10 and I am well rested and ready to go. Hell, I even had a decent breakfast.

 

Sitting here, it strikes me how difficult it is to get my thoughts lined up to write them down. Back at home there’s plenty of time to rethink matters and milk any lessons for the future from them, but being constantly bombarded with impressions and rolling from one situation right into the next, I have no time to analyze. I bought a booklet to write down my immediate thoughts, maybe that will help. I got it at Trinity College, and for this once I went and bought something quite special. I may get a picture of it if I get around to it. I figured, if it’s going to log something worth while, it might as well look it.

For now, the logging of facts will do. Something to retrace my steps and try and reach a conclusion.
So here I go. Wish me luck, I will definitely need it.