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The trip, part one.  
09:28pm 17/06/2005
I have made it safely back to the US, after 2 weeks in Europe. Here's the first bit of the tale.
So it's about 09.15, and we're on a bus heading toward London. We all had a good time in Dublin, and a better-than-crappy time in Glasgow, in spite of ourselves. In Dublin, we had a cool set of rooms in a really super-cool hotel called the Paramount. None of the hallways there are at right angles to any others, and none of the rooms are square. Also, the rooms are equipped with some truly neato stuff. For instance, the lights and outlets in the rooms are operated by feeding your room key card to a thingie on the wall, which only lets the juice flow if the room is occupied by a guest or the cleaning staff. In the bathroom, there was also coolness. The towel racks are heated by steam from the radiators, so your towels are nice and cozy when you get out of the shower. The showers were not to be outdone by a lowly towel rack, though. They were equipped with two knobs, which was not, in itself, an odd thing. what made them cool was what they were used for. One controlled the volume of the water, and the other handled its temperature. A much better setup, I think, especially if you're one of those freaks such as myself that likes to turn off the water sometimes, and doesn't like having to futz with the temperature again.

There was a bar below the room I shared with Nonym. They got to jumping around 10-ish or so. I was sitting in the window having a smoke, and got a smile and a wave from the very attractive bartender taking a break in the doorway. So I felt all good and stuff. Later, there was singing. Heh. drunken lullaby. At around 2-ish, I hear that the bar chorus did a not too horrid rendition of Ave Maria. Who knew? There were many pictures taken, and many wondrous sights were seen. I was grooving on the buildings and the architecture of Dublin.

On a side note, we decided that the crosswalks in Dublin are the coolest in the world. They make beepy noises when you push the button to let it know you wanna cross. Then, when the light turns, they make this noise like a laser tag gun, to let you know it's safe to cross, in case your attention wandered in the meantime. It's good that they have such cool crosswalks, as jaywalking is apparently seen as a contact sport by the motoring public in that town. If you've got the light on your side and you're in a crosswalk, then all is well, and you're seen to be "on base", and you're safe. But should you be foolish enough to cross against the light, or arrogant enough to not feel the need to make use of the crosswalks, it's open season on your ass!

The first day in Dublin, we got on a bus from the airport to the hotel, and Rick managed to leave his day bag on it. After checking into the hotel, we were able to contact the bus company, and Mike and he went out to retrieve it. They were successful, and found a cool pub on the way back. Nonym and I settled in and took some showers. We went out walking around Temple Bar, and found coolness on all sides. There were many instances of random art and other cool stuff nailed or affixed to the walls and roofs of various random buildings around and about town. We found a tattoo shop, but they were closing, so Nonym had to wait for the ink until later.

We made it to the airport on time, and then to the Glasgow airport. That's where things got interesting. It took us four hours to get from the airport to the hotel. It turns out that the Glasgow airport is not, as one would expect, in or even near, Glasgow. In fact, it's about 40 miles or so away from Glasgow. Undaunted, we took a train into the city, and then started looking for the hotel. According to the hotel clerk working at the Lomond hotel, we would be best served by taking bus number 66. She turned out to be perhaps a bit less well informed as she believed. We boarded bus 66, and got off again four blocks later, because the driver had told us that his bus did not go to or near our intended destination. However, there was another bus 66 that did. ...

:blink, blink: (Mind you, this was not bus 66a or 66.1, or anything like that. It was just bus 66.)

So, we went to the place where the other bus 66 was prophesied to appear. It did so appear, but we missed it. Then another bus 66 came by, but it was very small and suspicious looking, more like a van number 66, so we shunned it. Finally, we boarded a bus 66, and were on our way. We made it to the point at which we had been told would have us practically on the doorstep of the Lomond hotel. Once again, the instructions did not seem to match the environs. Undaunted, we began looking for the Lomond, which was beginning to take on the feel of a quest. At some point, we split up a bit to cover more ground with less weight, and I went to a Marriott hotel to ask directions to our Lomond. The two file clerks were quite helpful... extremely helpful. They gave me directions which turned out to be the first good information of the day. As it turned out, the hotel had been quite close to the spot at which we fled the horrors of the busses 66. However, it was behind a row of trees, along a one-lane access road / parking lot. The hotel clerk had told us that they were across the road from trees, but not that the road she was referring to was not the main road used by busses and cars and pedestrians, and generally, everyone not going to the Lomond hotel. We did manage to find the hotel and get ourselves installed, a mere four hours after arriving in "Glasgow". The punch line there was that our flight to London was scheduled to leave the next morning at 06.50. Given the adventure we'd had getting in, the prospect of getting out again was not a joyous one.

In order to verify our outbound time, and plan for it, we needed internet access. Considering that our rooms did not even have phones, that meant a hotspot somewhere. By that time we were all frustrated and tired. So we chilled out a bit, and then went in search of internet access and dinner, not necessarily in that order. We ate good food at an Indian pizza place called Aladdin. There we also discovered the location of an internet cafe. The pizza and chicken thingies were most tasty. The internet cafe was found after a bit of a trek, along which many cool pictures were taken. It was verified that our flight was indeed scheduled for wow-early the next morning, and there was crying, followed by planning and then more walking. Along the way, we found a tattoo place, and they gave us directions to another tattoo place. We went to the other tattoo place, where we met Dave, and wonderful things ensued. After getting Nonym and myself inked, the four of us headed back toward the hotel, and stopped off to check out a cool little store. Nonym and i stayed there to get stuffs, and Rick and Mike went back to the hotel. I got a shirt, and a wallet, and a button. She got 2 shirts and a skirt and all was well. We went back to the room, and chilled for a bit. Mike and Rick did not answer their door, so we started making plans for dinner. She napped a bit, and I puttered about with the electronics and luggage. Once she had swum back to the world of the living, we went out for dinner. By now it was about 9-ish. We'd planned out route to the airport, complete with timetable. It was a good plan. I was proud of it. It was our plan to wake at 04.30, call a taxi, and leave the hotel by 05.00, getting to the train station by 05.30. then one of the trains that ran every half hour would take us to the airport, getting us there by about 06.00 for our flight out at 06:50. little did we know ...

Anyway, we went out to check out the botanical gardens, which were pretty cool. More pictures were taken, and we even met some locals. By "locals" I mean a pair of kids that had clearly smoked themselves stupid in the recent past. They were funny, and we did manage to extract ourselves from them. Then back to the hotel, where our friends were still not answering their door, due either to absence or unconsciousness. So we again chilled, and shortly set out in search of dinner. As we were seeking sustenance, we happened to meet up with one of the ladies form the hotel that had been so very helpful in getting us to our hotel. We chatted, and she recommended a good restaurant. We went there, and found it to be most well and properly worthy. It was situated in a little mini Clematis kinda section. There was a fiddler on the sidewalk, and pubs packed solidly. we found the restaurant, and a table therein. The waiter was hard to understand, but the food he brought to our able made it all worthwhile. I had lamb something-or-other and she had something to do with chicken and a flat piece of bread that may or may not have been related to pita. both were excellent.

After dinner, we left to go back to the room, and at that point one of us realized that we were in need of an alarm clock. So we looked for one. At one store, we were told that they had stopped selling them two weeks prior, because they had not been selling. The others simply did not carry them. Our flight out of the "Glasgow" airport was for 6.50 the next morning, which was, by this time, a mere 6 hours away. We had both been up for more consecutive time than is normal or recommended for humans. This unhappy circumstance left us with two options:
1. Find an alarm clock somewhere in our hotel.
2. Feed me sufficient Dexedrine to keep me up and functional until 4:30, the time of awakening we had calculated as the beginning of a successful plan to have us at the airport in time to make the next leg of our trip, to London.

We finally made it back to the hotel, and I went in search of a way to bring plan 1 into being. Luckily, I was able to wake one of the staff of our little b&b, and procure from them an alarm clock. She was not happy to see me, but she did supply the clock which made the proceeding of our plans possible. Then there was some movie watching, and sleep. Altogether too soon, the alarm went off, and we were about the business of getting our arses out of the country. IOf course, we did. This was thanks to a taxi driver of quite respectable skill. We had planned to go from the hotel to the train station via cab, and then to take the train to the airport. We had been told that the rains ran 24/7, and that there would be no problem getting to the airport. As it turned out, our information was crappy. However, we found this out soon enough to hire a taxi. The taxi driver got us to the airport in time. I am fairly certain that he broke a few records and more than a few laws getting us there. In any event, his efforts were successful, as we made it. From the airport, we got on a bus for London, and as i write this, we're trundling toward that town, and shall see what there is to be seen upon our arrival. More Later, along with the pictures we took.
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
music: The Dust Brothers - 16-This Is Your Life
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(no subject)
03:12pm 17/06/2005 (UTC)
I've never heard of the term 'jaywalking' in England (first encountered it in one of the american comic strips). I never quite worked out what it meant either. Is it something like crossing when the lights are against you (happens quite often, especially with locals who know the timing of the lights), or just crossing at somewhere other than a marked crossing? Come to think of it, I haven't head the laser-zap crossings before. The local ones just go beep-beep-beep at you.

I see you've also met the English busses. The busses around where I live are spectacularly unreliable (try anywhere from 10 minutes early to 40 minutes late, with roughly equal chance), and more than once they changed the number, the route or both without telling us. One time I was getting the 63 for school, and over half term Arriva in their wisdom decided to make the 63's route stop in town, and give the full route to something else (can't remember which, there were so many different buses that we ended up taking to get to school that I lost track). The trains are better, but they can get impressively fscked at times.
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(no subject)
03:45pm 17/06/2005 (UTC)
The Slayer
Sounds like fun!!!
This was my trip to Dublin: http://www.livejournal.com/users/_anamchara_/425897.html
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(no subject)
09:26pm 17/06/2005 (UTC)
the noises "in the crosswalk" are for the blind! (i'm sure) It's the same way here, in Seattle. I'm glad you had a good time!
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