Cork, Ireland

Cork City
May 22nd, 23rd 2010

I couldn’t write any entries upon arriving in Cork because…I left my netbook in Galway!

Yes, that’s why I couldn’t write sooner. I stupidly left it on my hostel bed while packing. I was worried but thanks to meeting some friends there, I shot some emails off asking if anyone was going to Dublin within a day or two. Luckily, Sebastian had a friend who was. He would drop the netbook off in Dublin and I could just go pick it up when I got there. Thank God for the kindness of strangers. I am continually learning how most strangers are more than willing to help you.

Cork is a pretty city. IMO, it looks like Dublin. In fact, I’ve read that Cork and Dublin are a bit of rivals. Anyway, Kiera and I decided to wander around again after leaving our luggage at the Bru Bar Hostel (which was a combo of a bar downstairs and hostel upstairs). We had a room at attic level but it means quiet away from the bar several floors below. We visited the Cork City Gaol (Jail) and it was a pretty interesting tour. We skipped the butter museum tour though. I like butter but Kiera, being a dietician/nutritionist, preferred margerine. Anyway, we skipped it because it cost a bit more than we’d like for a tour of butter’s history.

On a side note, although Kiera isn’t reading this, I had to say although she’s pretty cool and sweet most times, she’s a hardcore planner, pretty impatient, a fast walker, and doesn’t have much of a sense of humor (she doesn’t like stupid humor, as if she’s above it). Everytime we’re walking, she’s way ahead of me. It ticked me off a bit because she’s always in a god damned rush. She cannot stand in one spot and enjoy. She would need to continually know where she was at, what street she had to take to get to the next location, etc. She couldn’t just wander for wander’s sake. Get lost, find adventure, sit still, take in the sights/smells/sounds… Not my ideal travel companion. I’m sure she (like myself) felt relieved when we stopped travelling together. She did help me out with some travel tips though. Got a guide book, some a small sudoku book (I finally learned it!), got started on hostel cooking… So thanks to her, I am a better backpacker now. Although I still think Simpsons, Seinfeld and South Park ROCK HARD!

Anyway, at night, after splitting some hostel-made stir fry, I decided to hang out in the lounge to watch some ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Met some Brazillian guy named Clio (sp?) and we shared some soccer talk. The guy lived in USA before so he shared his stories about his travels. Now he’s just hanging out in Ireland. I meet many nomads while backpacking. They’re all so far away from home, I wonder why they want to be so far away for so long.

I went to bed pretty early. I was tired, and again, not much of a “Let’s go drink all night” kind of guy. Met another roommate who just got in, some Australian girl named Hannah. She was 18 and travelling solo also. She was energetic but very very talkative. I couldn’t get much of a word in once she got started on her backpacking stories. Our other two American roommates (a couple) walked in and once she started talking to them, I took my chance to go to sleep. I had the best night’s sleep ever that night. Finally, some roommates who don’t make a lot of noise at night or in the mornings.

The next day, Kiera went off to wander by herself, so did I. It was quite quite fun. I got myself a pair of flip flops (did I mention I left mine in Belfast?). I visited the Old English Market and was surprised to find the most awesome assortment of meats, cheeses, chocolates, breads, etc. It was like a food lover’s nirvana. If you like to cook, you would love this place. I was hungry so I went upstairs to get some food but lunch wasn’t served until 12 pm.

I went outside to wanted and stopped at a bench in the middle of the city alley street. I started reading the local paper when an Irish guy came up to me and asked where I was from. I said “America”. He then said “Texas?”. “How’d you know?”. “Oh you have the Lonestar state written all over your forehead”.

Anyway, Patrick lived in Oklahoma for 6 months, in New Hampshire for 6 months. He had brothers living in America. He himself was a self-sufficient guy who grew his own foods (like a farmer?) at his place outside the city. He’s only there to take care of some errands. I don’t know what triggered it but he started talking about conspiracy theories. And boy, he knew what he was saying. He started going on and on about the Free Masons and how they controlled the world around us. He had an interesting case although we never really know what the truth is about the world. Did I mention he was a spitter when he talked? I had to maneuver my body position to play self-defense against his occasional missile spits. He also mentioned he liked men and women (if you know what I mean), more so women than men. He invited me for a coffee but I declined (oh COME ON! I don’t know if he had any interest in me in that way but it was funny and I wish some hot Euro chicks would do that instead of an old fat Irish guy). But he was very nice and I am happy I got to converse with a local so we shook hands and parted ways.

Anyway, ate some shepherd’s pie which I severely overpaid for. But it was my last day in Ireland, screw it, I will overpay a few Euros just so I could say I ate shepherd’s pie in Ireland. I spent the time writing some post cards.

We left Cork City around 2 pm and got back to Dublin around 6:30 pm. Kiera and I said goodbye and I went to search for the hostel which held my netbook. It was a pretty far walk but I recovered my netbook and then went to eat at a nearby popular joint called “Gruel”. It was either that or another place that had Irish stew. What do I do? Eat at a very popular recommended place (that didn’t have Irish stew, which I wanted) or go to a pub and eat some stew? I decided to look inside the stew joint. Not many people. I went back to Gruel and enjoyed my mackerel and lime potato salad, which was amazingly delicious. The place itself was small but had such an amazing feel to it. Lots of ppl were eating there so that obviously reaffirmed my decision that it was the right one.

I saw some Mexican ppl gather outside a Mexican food joint to watch the England/Mexico friendly soccer match. I went to watch it with them but I couldn’t cheer when England scored. I also didn’t mention to anyone I was from Texas. I played the role of Asian tourist bystander who didn’t say a word to preserve his identity. Yeah, as an Asian in a western country, I can play any role. FOB or American. Native English speaker or broken English speaker with FOB accent to boot. I am like the Jason Bourne of FOBs, flying under the radar but standing out at the same time.

I took the 9:30 pm bus to Dublin Airport. It is 1:19 am, May 25th 2010. I am going to sleep here tonight before my 7 am flight to Paris. I have written 2-3 entries so far. Taylor Swift is blaring on my mp3 player (don’t judge me). The airport is very quiet. What a roller coaster ride so far.