We left the beautiful northern shores of Portstewart to head for the city of Dublin where my friends Edwina and Ebenezer live. I was really excited to see them and spend time with them as it had been five years since I had last seen them in Ethiopia. On our first day there, we headed into Dublin, saw St Patrick’s church and went to the markets.
I decided I needed some boots for our upcoming cold countries. This was an awesome cultural experience…
Trying to buy some boots:
Karen: “Are these boots waterproof?”
Seller: “For twenty pounds? I don’t THINK so!”
Trying to buy some boots, part two:
Edwina, Karen and Reuben walk through the markets. Every other minute we lose Reuben in the chaos…but never mind, we are on a mission to find boots. We find a little stall with boots and the madness begins. I’m trying to find some boots…I grab a pair of 10 Euro boots to look at and the older gentleman who runs the stall turns to me. “I’m fine,” I say politely. He replies, “No, you’re NOT fine, can’t you see you have two different pairs? [he was actually right about that!] What size do you need?” He goes to the back to get me a pair, which I try on. “Do you have a mirror?” I ask politely. He is outraged. “Mary, Joseph and Jesus, this isn’t Arnott’s! (fancy department store in Dublin.) If you want a mirror you’ll have to go there!” Undaunted, I ask him if I can just try the other style. Again, he is outraged. “What do you want to try that for? You can see it right there! I’ll have to go into all of the boxes, they’re not marked, it could take me an hour!” By this time, I notice Reuben has slunk off out of sight to avoid the conflict (with all of our money!) I’m starting to feel a bit scared of the man, so when Reuben comes back I go to buy the pair. I beg Edwina to please ask for a different pair as the one I was trying had a mark on them…we get glared at but do eventually get a box and leave. Halfway down the street, I notice I have two different sizes…so it’s back into the madness to try to exchange a pair. Ah, the fun of markets!
We had a couple of other fun cultural experiences that day…attending an Ethiopian child’s first birthday, and watching the Hobbit in 3D (nicely combining Irish, Ethiopian and NZ culture all in a single day!)
On the next day we were there, we headed to another cultural experience – Tayto Park. This was awesome – a park dedicated to the famous Irish Tayto crisps. We had lots of fun exploring the Christmas market, drinking mulled wine, touring the Tayto factory and meeting Mr Tayto. We also saw lots of animals before the rain came and we headed off for a beautiful Christmas carols service at their church.
On our last day in Dublin, we went to tour the Guinness Factory. Here we learned how Guinness is made, learned the art of tasting beer (someone may have spilled his beer on me…) and went to Guinness Academy, where we learned to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.
Following that, I kept my promise to my father that I would drink a Guinness for him. That’s when I learned how much I don’t love Guinness! Stubbornness won over taste buds though and I made it through.
After our tour we headed over through the Temple Bar area to Trinity College before heading back for a farewell dinner with Edwina and Ebe. It was so wonderful to catch up with friends again after such a long time!