Wednesday, May 31, 2006

treasure the rest of your days here

It's funny that I'm thinking about treasuring the rest of my days here, considering that it's eleven p.m. and I just wrapped up some stuff that I was trying to finish before going home for the evening. It's really my fault that I spend so much time at the office; part of it is that I'm just extremely unproductive in the morning, and then the nighttime (my time!) is when I really am able to crank through all the work that I should have done earlier. That's not to say that I don't work in the mornings; normally I have meetings in the mornings, so I can't be productive anyway, but when I do have a rare free morning (like today), I can't accomplish as much as I would if it were the hours of 9-11pm rather than 9-11am. Anyway, I accomplished a lot this evening, so at least I wasn't wasting my time. And now I'm blogging, which should satisfy you regardless of whether or not you care that I should be in bed instead.

The security guys must think I'm insane; I sit near the kitchenette on the first floor (which, in true European fashion, is really the second floor...silly Europeans), so they often come by my desk while they're going to make tea. Since I'm typically one of the only people here by the time the security guards start frequenting the area, and my eyes are probably bloodshot from too much contact-lens-wearin', they probably think that I'm a friendless loner. Or, that I'm staying late to watch porn. Neither is true, and both are somehow more glamorous (or at least more interesting) than the facts. Fact 1: I'm shy, but I'm not a friendless loner, and staying late means that I can talk to my friends on occasion, since the later I stay, the longer our workdays overlap. Fact 2: I'm diligent about my work and have yet to come to terms with the European standard of clearing out as soon as the workday is over. Fact 3: there is only one internet connection in my apartment and no wireless, so I can't work in bed, which means I might as well work at my desk instead. Fact 4: I stopped watching porn at work a long time ago, and I have no desire to start watching it again. Fact 5: Actually, there aren't any more facts pertinent to this train of thought. So, let's move on, shall we?

I wore a cute yellow skirt to work today; I had purchased it at J.Crew before I left California, but this was the first time it saw the light of day. Granted, the 'light of day' was the 45 seconds it takes me to walk from my apartment to the door of my office building, but that's still more light than traditionally appears in my closet. I think I've come to terms with the fact that it's going to be freezing even when the sun is shining, and I really wanted to wear this skirt, so I wore it with my open-toed gold sandals even though my feet will be freezing for the 45 seconds that it will take me to get home. I'm so brave and stylish.

This weekend, I'm not going anywhere, and that makes me exceedingly happy. I think that I'll indulge my desire to go shopping; I really haven't bought much of anything since I got here, other than two fountain pens (did I mention I bought a fountain pen in Edinburgh? I don't think I did. It's awesome, and I got two different bottles of ink to go with it--how hot is that? I'm such a dork) and an absurdly expensive pair of sunglasses (duty free!), so it's time to go out and contribute to the growth of the Celtic Tiger economy. Not that I should shop, since I already have baggage woes--I need to call immigration and see if they'll let me back in when I get out of South Africa, because if I can't come back in to pick up my suitcases, I only have three options: 1) Ship all my stuff home, at standard extortionate shipping rates, 2) Leave everything here in the mad hope that I'll be able to come back and retrieve it, or that someone will be nice enough to bring it to me, or 3) Take all my baggage with me to South Africa. #3 was originally my favorite option, until I found out that British Airways only allows one checked bag to Africa, and charges ~$12 per *kilo* on excess baggage. To get all of my excess baggage to Africa and back would cost more than the GDP of most of the countries I would be flying over; I may like to pretend that I'm a colonialist, but that goes against even my absurdist tendencies.

This is a problem for another day (most likely tomorrow, since it needs to be resolved v. quickly); now it's time for me to go to bed!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

upcoming revelry

Okay, you don't get much out of me right now, since I just posted an absurdly-long recount of my Edinburgh trip, which you will probably lose interest in anyway. Also, I have nothing of interest to report today either; I worked all day, which shouldn't surprise you, and now I intend to sleep all night (after procuring dinner; I'm writing this from the office). I also intend to finalize my trip to South Africa, and I'm so freaking excited--I think we're going to stay in a bonafide mansion with a butler and a pool and a gym and everything, which is totally sweet. It is particularly sweet because we're going at the lowest of the low seasons, and so split between all of us it's only $47 per night for a five bedroom, state-of-the-art luxury villa. Mmm. I predict much debauchery in my future. Now, though, I predict much fish-and-chips in my future...have a great night, everyone!

belated post-mortem of my trip to edinburgh

[editor's note to the fans: i wrote this last night, then lost my internet connection and couldn't post it. so here it is, in all its glory:]

Well, I'm back from Edinburgh, and the haggis didn't kill me. I tried a bit of it (at a pub appropriately called 'The World's End', since it was built on the foundations of the wall that marked the boundary of Old Edinburgh, a boundary that most of the inhabitants would never pass), and it really wasn't too bad. However, it was also a bit too rich for the time of morning when I ate it; there's something about organ meat that makes it much less pleasant to eat in large quantities than, say, tenderloin. I don't mind organ meat, exactly (particularly fried chicken hearts), but I don't want a whole patty of chopped-up organ bits stuffed into a stomach. And, I must say that haggis was better than dim sum tripe, or the pigs' feet and petrified duck egg in black vinegar (which Tammy v. kindly reminded me of via email over the weekend--thanks!).

Anyway, I got into Edinburgh late on Friday. A hint to those of you who may arrive in Edinburgh late on Friday in the future--arrange a taxi in advance. I waited in the taxi queue for nearly an hour, which was especially unfortunate considering the accumulated hour and a half delay of my flight due to takeoff and landing issues, and so I didn't get to my hotel until almost one a.m. I rallied the next morning and wandered down the Royal Mile (the road that connects the Castle to the Palace), ate the aforementioned haggis at the World's End, saw a couple of cathedrals, and perused the main museum in great detail. Actually, I only perused the Scottish half of the museum; they also had a royal museum wing that, based solely on the description, seemed like a rip-off of the British Museum, and I've gotten tired of seeing Egyptian displays put together outside of Egypt by all the British noblemen who stole a bunch of artifacts from the East in the name of 'preservation'. The British Museum displays are amazing because they are so illicitly comprehensive, but I had no reason to expect that the Edinburgh collection would surpass what I'd already seen in London, so I skipped it. I also wandered through the Greyfriars Kirkyard; it's been used as a burial ground for centuries, so it has that sense of ancient peace that old cemetaries often have (as opposed to the too-well-ordered feel of cemetaries still in use, particularly cemetaries that contain people you actively love (or loved; verb tenses are so tricky with some members of the dearly departed)). Also, someone outside the walls and beyond my sight seemed to be preparing for a parade or something, because I distinctly heard the wailing, mournful sounds of bagpipes beyond the gate, and the music seemed to follow me as I made my way through the crumbling headstones. This aspect of the cemetary was much more pleasant and haunting than the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, which Walter had expressly forbidden me from photographing; Greyfriars Bobby was a dog who faithfully returned to his master's grave every night until his own death, and the dog has been immortalized with a statue near his master's grave. I would perhaps have been touched if I had not been so moved a decade ago by Jem and Walter's (not my friend Walter, but rather Anne of Green Gables' son Walter) dog, who stayed at the train station the entire time they were in the trenches of WWI, and howled the entire night that Walter was killed in battle, weeks before the family received official word. Katie's probably the only person who would understand exactly how moving that whole scene in 'Rilla of Ingleside' was, and why that gave me very little sympathy for Greyfriars Bobby.

I was supposed to do a ghost tour on Saturday night (billed as a tour of the most haunted place in Western Europe), but after a day full of history and several nights of very little sleep, I skipped it and slept for eleven hours instead. I don't find myself regretting it, other than in the vague 'I should have done more' way that I often have after a vacation; but I do regret that I seem to require so much sleep, since interesting people seem to sleep four hours a night, and I'm not happy unless I have at least nine. But, I did read a biography of Georgette Heyer which I had picked up at a bookstore, and it strengthened my resolve to become a romance novelist. She seems to have been so successful because she was writing out of necessity; I'm merely dabbling by comparison, particularly since I haven't written anything in a year and yet have still been able to eat and pay the rent.

Sunday, I had breakfast at my hotel, and would have visited the Palace, but was thwarted by the Lord High Commissioner, whose visit meant that the Palace was closed to visitors. Lame! So I walked all the way up to the Castle, only to discover that the line was a bajillion miles long. Seeing a sign for a priority queue for 'internet tickets', I went back down the hill to find an internet cafe, logged on to the Scottish Historical Society website, and discovered that tickets can indeed be purchased online, but only if you want to have them shipped to you in your home country, which can take up to a month. That seems to complete contradict the entire point of internet ticketing. Frustrated, I went instead to the 'Real Mary King's Close', and underground exhibit of Edinburgh's shadowy tenement past. Even as far back as the 1400's, Edinburgh's housing tenements were reaching as high as twelve stories, and the alleys (called closes) between the buildings might only be as wide as my wingspan. I don't have particularly long arms, so you can imagine how narrow that would be, particularly if very little light was making its way to the ground level and everyone from those twelve floors were throwing their waste into the close every night. A century or two ago, the Edinburgh city council decided to clean up Mary King's Close by leveling off all the tenements at the second or third story and building the council buildings on top of the former tenements, using the remnants of these houses as the foundations for the new development. Some enterprising historians/businessmen have since uncovered some of these rooms and opened them up as a tourist attraction, which I must admit felt much more real and accurate than the stupid Kerry Bog Village (and I can't believe I saw that only last weekend). The tour guide was really good, even though he was cheesily dressed up as some dude whose job it was to carry away and bury the victims of the plague. Also, no one was fooled by any of the attempts to make the tour scary, as evidenced by the ten-year-old kid who said to his equally-young sister 'don't ruin the illusion!' when she started to talk too much. Everyone humored the guide, he humored us, and we all got along swimmingly. He ended on an appropriately philosophical note, talking about how dead the underground city was, and to picture what it would look like if tour guides one day led tourists through our neighborhoods. I'd like to see a tour guide try to make Menlo Park interesting, but I'll leave that topic for another day.

After this, I went back to Edinburgh Castle, where the lines had dwindled, and I spent a very pleasant three hours there, leisurely reading every placard and listening avidly to my audioguide. I'm such a dork--my coworkers today asked me which bars I went to, whether I went out, etc., and I explained that I prefer to go to museums and sleep. Sigh. But the castle was amazing, and I could have spent more time there if I hadn't gotten extremely hungry. I especially liked the memorial to Scottish troops, particularly those who died in the Great War; as an American, it's easy to forget WWI since we entered the conflict relatively late, but Europe still remembers it. But, this post is dragging on, so I'm going to cut this short. During dinner, I ate a steak and plotted the end of my romance novel; I think it might be pretty good if I ever get around to writing the damn thing. Then, I went back to my hotel and caught a taxi to the airport, flew back to Dublin, waited forever to get a taxi, came home, and went to bed.

The only scary thing about my weekend was when my father told me last night that he had seen several girls over the weekend and realized that girls really do end up marrying men like their fathers. I refuse to acknowledge that this might happen; the fact that I only make friends with obnoxious people in no way implies that I will end up marrying one, right? But enough of's time for bed!

The royal Scottish motto; if I lived in an age when Latin mottos were de rigueur, I might steal this one, since it means 'No one wounds me with impunity'. Posted by Picasa

The walls of the soldiers' memorial in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle; the inside was haunting, but I'm not the kind of idiot who takes pics when forbidden to do so, so you'll just have to believe me. Posted by Picasa

The view from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle; the green area in the middle is Princes Garden and Waverly Train Station. The gardens were made after the draining of the Nor' Loch, which must have been quite the stinky endeavor, since all of the town's raw waste had been running (possibly after developing sentience) down the hills and into the lake. Posted by Picasa

Tammy--tell me that I have a problem. I automatically compare the gravitas of historical figures to the statues in 'The Lord of the Rings'. This one commemorates William Wallace, who was arguably more important than Aragorn. Posted by Picasa

Edinburgh Castle, stormed by tourists. Posted by Picasa

I saw no fewer than three statues with traffic cones perched on their heads, but this one was by far the most impressive. Posted by Picasa

The Scottish Parliament--with some rather questionable design principles at work. Posted by Picasa

Sun and rain intermingle with alarming frequency; it was sunny at the castle, and raining where I was standing. Posted by Picasa

I should have asked why this thing was in front of this cathedral; now I'm going to make you wonder too. Posted by Picasa

Haggis - as Robbie Burns calls it, 'the chieftain o' the puddin'-race!' In case you don't recognize it, it's partially obscured by toast, between the sausages and the beans. All in all, Scottish breakfasts could use fewer baked beans and more toast/eggs/hashbrowns, but I'm biased because no one makes better beans than my mother (or 'me mum'). Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

scotland forever

To continue the recent travelling frenzy that I have embarked upon, I am flying to Edinburgh this weekend. I'm leaving here tomorrow evening, and I'll be back in Dublin around midnight on Sunday. I am so excited about this trip; since I went to Belfast and Kerry with other people, I'm looking forward to a couple of days on my own. I've had some alone time in the past few weeks, but it hardly counts--being in the office at ten p.m., with only the security guards for company, doesn't really rejuvenate the soul. I read up a bit on Edinburgh while I was eating dinner tonight, and there are tons of things that I want to see, so hopefully I'll take sufficient advantage of my surroundings. Walter's given me a bit of advice, but his is more along the lines of 'hike to Arthur's Seat', 'eat some haggis', and 'don't take a picture of the dog statue.' Since I'm more interested in museums than hiking, and since I love taken ridiculous pictures, I don't know how well I'll follow his advice, but if I have the stomach for it (haha), I might try the haggis. If I don't come back, you'll know that the haggis killed me.

Other than that, I've nothing to report. I think I'm going to take next weekend off from travelling, because I leave the following Monday for the European sales conference in Berlin. If y'all thought that I drank too much at the SF sales conferences in years past, you ain't seen nothin' yet--the European offices are waaaay more alcohol-fueled than the California office, and so putting them all in a hotel together in a fantastic European city with the attendant fantastic German bars and biergartens is a recipe for complete and utter madness. I can't wait!

Now, though, I'm going to sign off and get ready for bed--I could use ten or eleven hours of sleep tonight, so that I can store up in an effort to wake up earlier and see more things over the weekend. Wish me luck in Scotland--I can only hope that I'll see Sean Connery like Walter did, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

i'm stepping up to indicate the time has come to deviate

I can't figure out why I'm in such a great mood, considering that I should be miserable; it's after midnight and I'm at the office, but that's partially my fault because I decided to blog from work before going home. Also, I wasn't at work the entire time; after a meeting from 6:30-8pm, I decided that I desperately needed a steak and a glass of wine, so I went out for dinner to this tasty (if overpriced) place underneath the DART rail line a couple of blocks from the office. I sat there for quite awhile, enjoying the fact that I wasn't working, eating my extremely rare steak, and drinking wine and cappuccino. Mmm. Then I came back to the office and did some housekeeping-type stuff that I've been putting off for ages, and now it's time for me to go home so that I can come in and do it all again tomorrow.

While I was at dinner, I had the pleasure of listening to a raging fight between a couple sitting two tables away from me. I felt sorry for them--it would have been one thing if they were just on (what should have been) a final date, but clearly they were living together or married, since they were talking about their yard and each other's families. It was not exactly pleasant to listen to, especially since they weren't trying to keep their voices down much and she was really laying into him, but it was certainly thought-provoking. Of the three couples in the restaurant whom I could observe without being obvious, one couple was fighting, one couple was talking quietly, and one couple wasn't talking at all. I'm becoming more and more convinced that I don't care about getting married unless I can avoid the fighting and the silence; it's one thing if it's a comfortable, companionable silence, but it's another thing if there's silence because you no longer have anything to say to each other.

It's interesting, though--I don't think I've changed much at all, but the things that I'm obsessing over have changed, which theoretically implies some growth/change within me over the past few years. I spent a year or two obsessing over whether or not guys are willing to date girls who are funny, but I'm pretty much over that--if a guy can't handle that I have a sense of humor and am not a completely vacuous, boring loser, then I don't want to date him. I also spent awhile obsessing over the fact that no one ever calls me 'Sara', but I haven't been thinking about that at all because it turns out that I typically love the people who don't call me 'Sara' more than I love the people who only know me well enough to use my conventional name (with the obvious exception of my family, although many of them call me 'Sara Jane' anyway).

There are other things I've gotten over, but I don't want to share all my secrets. I'm currently obsessing over a) what to do with my life and b) the end of the world, which is refreshingly different from my lamer obsessions with popularity and self-confidence. By 'end of the world', I don't necessarily mean armageddon (although that's fun too--Mayans!). Rather, I've been thinking a lot about all of the traveling I want to do to find those 'end of the world' places that exist around the world, scattered at the edges of lost civilizations. I felt that Dun Aengus on the Aran Islands was one; Fatehpur Sikri in India is another. Now, I want to find as many of them as I can. This may not address my other obsession of what to do with my life, but it sounds like a fun thing to pursue while I'm figuring out everything else.

Okay, that was enough introspection for one night. Time for bed!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

hustle bustle and so much muscle

Red Hot Chili Peppers managed to write one of the most beautiful love songs ever while still using phrases like 'hustle bustle and so much muscle'. I'm astounded. Download 'Hard to Concentrate' off their new album - you won't regret it.

Luckily for me, I worked fourteen hours today, and I was at my desk and able to listen to my headphones for about five of those hours, which means that I got to listen to the 'Stadium Arcadium' album in its entirety about two times. It's a two-hour album; the extra hour in my five-hour marathon was taken up by listening to 'Hard to Concentrate' on endless repeat. Awesome. The music *almost* made me believe that I was having fun.

I'm still in the office because I don't want to plug in my laptop when I get home, so I decided to blog from here. I stayed at the office super-late because I have all of these stupid little things on my to-do list that are gradually piling up to overwhelm all of the bigger things that I also have to do, so I spent several hours tonight trying to clear them out. I got through quite a bit, but I highlighted nine things that I absolutely have to do tomorrow, and none of them are particularly quick, so hopefully I can find some hidden efficiencies. Hopefully, I can also stop thinking in corporate-speak someday--phrases like 'hidden efficiencies', 'extra bandwidth', and 'project roadmap' don't really fit in with my image of a serene-yet-eccentric romance novelist. In fact, my day-to-day conversations are completely devoid of such key words as 'torrid', 'embrace', 'muslin', and 'manroot'. I'm not sure how I can work any of these words into regular usage without getting fired (unless I start wearing muslin, which would be a questionable fashion statement), but I'll devote some energy to coming up with an alternate solution to my un-torrid existence.

Okay, I have nothing else to report. If you have anything to report, shoot me an email or leave a comment; I'll read it in the morning, after I've had just enough sleep to ensure that I'll be cranky when I wake up. Goodnight!

Monday, May 22, 2006

give you pleasure in so many ways, dear

I had a fantastic, albeit exhausting, weekend. The pictures are posted below, and they speak volumes, as pictures typically do. The weekend definitely had more alcohol than my previous excursions, possibly because we could only find seats together on the outbound train by hanging out in the dining car, which meant that we needed to keep ordering things, and we solved this problem through wine rather than sandwiches. Kerry and I kept it going through a couple of pubs and several pints of Guinness, which led to a rather nasty wine/beer hangover on Saturday morning. We soldiered through it, though (almost-apt metaphor, since her father's a retired Marine), and did a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry on Saturday. The tourist season is clearly picking up, as evidenced by the fact that the tour bus was almost full. However, we're clearly in the early-bird phase of the season, as evidenced by the fact that almost everyone on the bus was over seventy, which meant that it typically took about ten minutes to get all of the geriatrics off of the bus at the various photo stops. The thing about having one's living expenses in a foreign country mostly paid for is that one quickly becomes priced out of the range of most of one's age-appropriate travelling group; Kerry and were willing to splurge for lunches in restaurants (!) rather than sandwiches from the local convenience store, which meant that we had to continue hanging out with the geriatrics rather than the other four people our age who had somehow ended up on the tour. We did meet two truly lovely older ladies, though; amusingly enough, they ended up on the same tour that we did Sunday as well, which was nice.

The Ring of Kerry was gorgeous, and this was the first time I actually wished that I had rented a car; the cost is prohibitive since I'm under 25 and require an automatic, but it would have been very easy to spend a couple of days winding through the small villages and awe-inspiring ocean views without the heavily-prescribed, constrained tour-bus experience. I can't really describe it in words, but there are a couple of pictures below. On my own, I would have spent more time harmonizing with the ocean and less time touring replica bog villages and watching old men herd sheep (to the appreciative ooh's from the men, and the appreciative glances from the women--he's probably a hottie for the over-eighty set). But, the tour was good too.

That night, Kerry and I befriended a couple of guys our own age, which was a strange experience for me since I am usually completely withdrawn and standoffish in bar settings; also, I would have preferred to just watch the Eurovision song contest, but Kerry struck up conversation with one of them while I was in the bathroom. It has become clear to me that I cannot flirt in anything approaching a typical manner; I found one of the guys incredibly annoying, partially because he was just *wrong* too frequently. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I completely lost interest in anything he had to say after he told me that I was wrong about St. Patrick's being a Protestant cathedral; I felt that it was impolite to argue (or perhaps I fell into the traditional gender pattern of letting the guy believe that he's right), but considering that I went to Easter services in St. Patrick's specifically because it was Church of Ireland rather than Catholic, I am completely positive that I'm right.

I know I have major issues with being right; I can handle not being right myself, although I'm sometimes begrudging when it happens, and I take pains to make sure it's an infrequent occurrence. I also don't mind when other people aren't right, particularly when it isn't a big deal. But I hate when people aren't right while they're trying to show off, especially if it happens eight or ten times over the course of an hour or two. So, needless to say, I was not enthused about the fact that we spent five hours with these guys. We did serve to rescue them from the old people they had befriended on their tour of the Ring of Kerry (apparently they were on a geriatric tour as well), and it was nice to have someone to chat with--actually, that's a lie. There is no circumstance in which I could imagine being friends with the guy who was always wrong, and the other guy seemed nice but he didn't talk enough to outweigh his obnoxious friend. So, I would have rather watched the Eurovision song contest by myself than hang out with them until 2am.

And that, my friends, is why I'm beginning to fear that I'm not an ideal world traveler. I'm too shy to start talking to strangers initially, and then when I get to know them, I get sick of talking to 85% of them before we reach the point where we might actually be friends. So, I'll never be the type to make loads of friends in every city; I'm more the type to writing scathing, sarcastic commentaries on the people that I happen to allow to engage me in bouts of conversation when I'm feeling particularly generous/bored. That could make for interesting travel literature, but it definitely won't be of the feel-good variety.

Anyway, Sunday we went on a bus tour of Dingle, which was fantastically, amazingly beautiful, even though it rained the entire day and we got soaked. The wind was roaring off the ocean, so photo-stops by the coast were powerful experiences--the wind threatened to blow me over as the waves pounded on the rocks below, and I could understand why Ireland feels like such a mystical and magical place. Imagine growing up surrounded by ocean--it must create a different psyche than the type created by plains, or forests, or deserts, or mountains. I will perhaps talk about this more again someday, but for now I need to go to bed. Suffice it to say that the weekend was great, and I'm looking forward to more travelling in the near future.

The dude who designed the Sydney Opera House took his inspiration from these rocks off the Dingle peninsula. Posted by Picasa

The Irish Gaelic spelling of Killarney; Kerry has one of the few remaining pockets of native Irish speakers in Ireland. Posted by Picasa

With the mist, the horses, the green grass, and the distant lakes and peaks, this is a perfect representation of western Ireland's bucolic wonderland. Posted by Picasa

I'd like to see y'all build a mortarless stone chapel that could survive centuries without so much as a single leak developing. Posted by Picasa

How would you like to drive a bus down this 'two-lane' road? Posted by Picasa

Even on a grey, rainy day, the Irish coast has a certain wild appeal. Posted by Picasa

The tour guide tried to tell us that this island looks like 'Abraham Lincoln lying down with a beer belly.' Now we know what Lincoln would have looked like if John Wilkes Booth (the original actor-slash-model) hadn't assassinated him, allowing him to become a washed-up alcoholic in his later years. Posted by Picasa

The beehive hut in the center of the picture is hundreds of years old, and it's just hanging out in some dude's backyard. I feel ripped off--the closest I have to a beehive hut in my backyard is the cave/root cellar behind my parents' house. Now if only we could charge two euros for people to come and see it, maybe we could fix it up enough to actually use it. Posted by Picasa

Fungy the Dolphin has become a mainstay of Dingle tourism; scores of people take boats out into the Atlantic every day, where Fungy appears like clockwork to amuse the tourists. My travelling companion thinks that when Fungy dies, Dingle will send some guy in a dolphin suit out to prance for the tourists instead. Posted by Picasa

Wouldn't you love to tour Ireland in this beauty, rather than in a geriatric-themed motorcoach? Posted by Picasa

The Killarney Bay is still called the Killarney River because of an old British law that Irish people were only allowed to fish in bays and oceans, not rivers--so the British in the area got the bay classified as a river to prevent the Irish from fishing there. That must have been sooo annoying...but the classification remains on maps and signs. Posted by Picasa

Thatching in progress. Posted by Picasa

I love this dude--he's taken his subsistence farming existence, trained his dogs to pose for the cameras, and set up a highly-lucrative 'watch me herd my sheep around a field' tourist attraction. Brilliant! Posted by Picasa

A crazy-looking four-horned Arabian breed of sheep. I may not have oooh'd and ahhhh'd like a city slicker at the stupid 'adorable' baby lamb, but I thought this particular sheep was interesting. Posted by Picasa

The Kerry Bog Village--I admire tourist traps for their ingenuity even as I am cursing my lost money. Posted by Picasa