A Few Quick Dublin Notes

So, I'm in Dublin.  It's been awhile since I've written anything on this blog (let's be honest: it's been awhile since I've written anything, period).  I did write a post a few nights ago.  It was all about how I walked by a big semi-detached house on the Iffley Road on my way to the pub and heard a weird screaming noise that could have either been someone in pain, or someone having sex, or else a fox experiencing some kind of excitement.  The post was witty, it was hilarious, it was beautiful and brilliant.  And it got mysteriously deleted.  So I'd like to say that I'm suffering some sort of Wordpress-induced post-traumatic stress syndrome; but mostly, I'm just lazy, and a little busy.

And now I'm in Dublin.  We're staying in an almost-swanky 70s concrete-block hotel.  It's huge; I mean, it takes us ten minutes just to get to the elevators from our room.  We got a good deal on the place, and I'm not going to lie: I like it better than the funky hostel alternative.  It makes me feel more adult.  We get free shampoo!  The duvet is fluffy and white! There's internet access and instant coffee!  The lobby has one of those über-shiny faux-marble floors!  Mostly it means that I can fart in bed and walk around naked without worrying what other people might think of me.

It's weird, being here.  I keep having to remind myself that I'm in another country, that I travelled to get here.  There's no jet-lag or language barrier, no fog of exhaustion; no sense, really, that I've left one place and arrived in another.  It's almost like being in an alternate-universe version of Britain (apologies to the Man for stealing his analogy)--the same markers (chain restaurants, high street shops, uniformed schoolkids, semi-chic businesspeople) but everything slightly, gently, almost imperceptibly different.

The pubs.  The pubs are beautiful; they're warm and packed and full of life and beautiful, bright-eyed Irish girls, old men with red cheeks.  They're also almost horrifically expensive, which proves, I suppose, the determination of the drinking culture here--in a country less devoted to its cups, the 5 euro pints would surely drive drinkers either underground or to other pursuits.

It's nice to be in a city, a real city.  In Oxford we're spoiled by beauty, and in London overwhelmed by the sheer scale of things.  But here I'm reminded of Boston, which is manageable but bustling, charming but grimy.  Walking through St. Stephen's Green I feel I could easily be in the public gardens next to the Boston Common.

In other news, it's mostly been cloudy, or almost-cloudy, a few rare shafts of sunlight turning the trees to gold.  I'm glad.  In my mind Dublin is a cloudy city; always a little cold, a little grey, so that the warmth of a pub is necessary after a long day's wandering.  If a thin mist wants to fall, all the better.  As I'm writing this, of course, the sun has come out, cast a glorious light over the dark brown stones, and I'm tempted to revise my opinion: it's a city made to be seen in yellow evening light.  But I won't, because then I think of Joyce's Dubliners, "The Dead", the winter chill, the darkness after the party, the drizzle and snow.

Anyway, more later.  If I spend the entire trip holed up in internet cafés I won't get to see the city.