Monday, October 31, 2005

October 31, 2005 - Dublin, Ireland

HI Everyone!

I know it's only been a couple of days but Luke and I are here at the internet place so I thought I'd throw up some photos and tell some stories...

First of all, I forgot to mention that Sarah and Tom, an Australian couple we met in Lagos, Portugal have ALSO moved here to Dublin so we got together with them last Saturday night. We went to a couple of pubs and had a good laugh. The following day we had them over for dinner... Luke made chicken curry. They were staying in a hostel at the time and were STILL eating out so we thought they could use a home cooked meal and a nice place to eat it.

Back to present.....

Luke, Sarah, Tom and I all went out last night to celebrate Halloween and the long weekend. We met Sarah at the statue of Molly Malone (See photo of Sarah and I sitting) at 10pm. From there we went to the oldest pub in Dublin (McDade's off of Grafton Street) where we had a nice pint of Guinness. We then pub-hopped. One bar we went to was nuts. There was a main bar on the ground level that played pop rock/radio friendly stuff where we drank our pints until Sarah discovered that there was a lower level. There was a hip-hop bar and another heavy metal bar! We opted for the heavy metal bar (A wee bit scary but fun...) where we had a pint surrounded by long haired head bangers. (See photo of Luke). We stopped at a very fancy shmancy looking place on Grafton Street that had a red carpet out and men in tuxedos standing at the door. We thought 'What the hell, lets see if we can get in...' (We were all in jeans and t-shirts and most people around were either dressed nicely or in costume - 'fancy dress'). One of the gentlemen in at the door told us that it was a nightclub and said that we could come in even though we were dressed like shit because it was a 'fancy dress night'. (I guess we were dressed as poor-looking foreigners for Halloween....). We walked inside this club we were shocked. It was like a mansion/nightclub. There were beautiful chandeliers, normal house-like staircases and beautiful furnishings. It was incredible. (We probably won't go there again though cause 4 bottles of Heineken was €23!). By the time we left the bar it was 3:20am so we all decided that it was time to head home. They really love their Halloween here. There were TONS of people in 'fancy dress' at the bars.

Today Luke and I were feeling pretty lazy (Didn't get home until about 4am and slept until about 1pm) so we basically got up, had a wonderfully greasy breakfast c/o Luke and stayed home cleaning and organizing the apartment. We've printed some 8 x 10's of our best photos from the trip and put them up around the apartment so we were feeling inspired as now the apartment feels more 'finished'.

MOM & DAD FAULKNER - Please take & email us some nice photos of Brutus 'shit disturber' Faulkner and some photos of The Landing that we can have printed.

MOM & DAD PALUCH - Please take & email us some photos of Gillian that we can have printed.

EVERYONE ELSE - Send us photos! First snowfall, autumn colours, anything and everything... we miss all of you.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

October 29, 2005 - Dublin, Ireland


1. This is of the front door of our apartment - it is 2 houses that have been divided into apartments.

2. The second photo is of the park in front of our place. It is in the middle of the square that we live in. Not too shabby.

3. This is Luke in our kitchen.

4. This is me in our livingroom - soon to be decorated with our beautiful black and whites.

5. This is the Liffey river - downtown Dublin. Notice the ad - it has a clock on it that tells the actual time and asks...."Time for a Pint?".

6. This is a Russian bar that Luke and I want to check out. Apparently it's very good. Notice the Art on the building is the same as the cover of Franz Ferdinand's new album.

7. This is Henry Street (On the north side of the city - across the river from us) on a Saturday... INSANE.

8. River Liffey again.

9. This is one of the little streets off of Grafton.

10. This is an old church/the Irish Tourist Centre - off of Grafton.

11. This is St. Stephen's Green shopping centre - at the end of Grafton.

12. This is the end of Grafton Street where there is always a busker.

13. This is Grafton Street on a Saturday.

14. Grafton Street - again.

15. Grafton Street - again, again.

16. Me talking to Laura in Canada while we were having a cappuccino on a lovely little street off Grafton. (I LOVE YOU LAURA!)

17. This is Grand Canal Docks - just a short walk from our place.

18. This is a park we wandered through.

19. The pub Luke and I went to with his MBNA friends.

20. A Guinness advert.

21. Me looking goofy getting ready to leave the pub.

22. The pub, again, 1 hour later than the first photo. It's now packed.

23. St. Stephen's Green shopping centre at night.

Well, as you know from my previous entry, this has been quite the whirlwind! Luke and I are settling in nicely now. Our apartment is feeling more like home everyday (Though we STILL haven't put up any posters or bought and plants and that's driving me NUTS!). We're eating grand meals of mussels (One of the cheapest things we make -€5 for 2 kg at the fish market) which Luke cooks. He also makes a superb cream sauce for them. They're to die for. We have become mussel experts at this point cause we've eaten so many of them. I think we may eventually TURN INTO mussels (which wouldn't be so bad as we're right close to the sea).

Work is going well for both of us. We're both happy where we are and have no complaints. I'm enjoying the people at my office. Very welcoming and friendly. It's a great environment. Yesterday Luke and I set up a couple of bank accounts and then met up with a group of people from MBNA for pints afterwards. The whole lot of them were great. I could tell that they must have a good fun at the office.

The weather here has been great. The average temperature since we've been here is probably about 16 degrees. I think it's maybe gone down to about 12 degrees during the day.... It is generally sunny with little rainy spells, but that's fine with me because while I was looking out my window at work yesterday (I have a view of the Irish Sea) I saw a rainbow across the sea. I could see BOTH ENDS of it which I thought was amazing because the only other time I witnessed that was here, in Ireland, about 6 years ago. It was gorgeous. Incredible, really. (I was very much tempted to swim out to find that pot of gold though I didn't feel up to fighting a leprechaun for it).

Today is Saturday and the original plan for the day was to check out the surrounding areas..... take the DART to Dalkey and walk through Dalkey, through Sandycove and end up in Dun Laoghaire. BUT.... it's pouring rain outside. We got up today with big plans and had a FABULOUS breakfast and then got dressed and stepped outside and DAMN.. it was a bloody windy downpour. It hasn't rained like this since we got here! Figure it's fine cause we'll do this (internet) and then hang out in a pub for the afternoon. It's one of those days. Also, it's a long weekend so we'll have an extra day to go out and explore. We're also going to have some of our black and white photos printed so that we can put them up in the apartment. We figure that would be more personal than putting up other peoples photos, right? We had such a great time on the trip that these photos will make us happy when we look at them.

Tomorrow is a big day for us. We're going to the Aussie bar to watch Hockey Night in Canada and we're finally going to get to see the SENATORS play! We've been watching the Leafs play each week. We're VERY EXCITED for this. Especially since we've been kicking ass so far this season. We're hoping that the reason they're winning is not just because Luke and I haven't been watching. GO SENS GO!!!

A few key weird/strange/negative facts about Dublin:

1. You only get paid ONCE A MONTH.

2. Most people pay their rent through direct withdrawal from their accounts, which is hard when you don't have an account...

3. You pay a recycling tax on some items you purchase.

4. You have to pay a €150 fee per year just to own a television.

5. You have to heat up water in order to take a shower - it doesn't just come out of the tap - who knew?!

6. Electricity is so expensive that many people don't ever use the little heating devices attached to the wall of each room. (Well, I'm sure SOME people do, but we're too cheap at this point... besides, it really doesn't get below 7 degrees at night).

7. You pay €2.50 for every bag of garbage you put out. You have to buy stickers from the post office to put on each bag. Unbelievable.

8. You have to pay €10 for each debit card you get when you sign up for a bank account. This money goes to the government.

9. You have a €40 fee per year for your credit card. This money also goes to the government.

There are more but I can't think of them right now. I'm sure I'll have more as the week/months go by.

A few key/weird/positive things about Dublin:

1. The weather, to date, has been fantastic.

2. The sea is only 10 minutes away from our apartment.

3. The nightlife is great.

4. There are pubs on every corner.

5. Guinness......!

6. You can walk everywhere.

7. The DART.

8. Temple Bar... always exciting.

9. The shopping district on the north side. There are TONS of affordable shops and malls. It's my dream come true. Especially Penney's. I bought a sweater, cardigan, shirt, and boots and not one of them cost me more than €18 and that was the boots!

10. The people... it's not a generalization. EVERYONE is nice.

11. Joyce, Paddy, Sarah Jane and Lorna!!

12. Free papers handed out every morning on the street. Gives me something to do on the DART on the way to work.

There are tons more great things but as its pouring right now I'm having a hard time thinking of them all.....

Well, Luke and I are going to head out of here to print the photos.. the shop is only open for another hour.

We think of you all often and hope that all of you are happy and healthy and all that good stuff. We'll keep you up to date as time passes.

Please feel free to drop a note through the "comments" section... I'd love to hear from you guys. Remember to keep Luke and I posted via email because we're always thrilled to hear from you all.

Until next time......

God, this reminds me of "Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives...". HORRID.

Photos of Liffey River in Dublin

These are some photos I took while Luke and I took a nice, long walk last week. Beautiful light on the river that day. Enjoy. The 2nd one is my favourite.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Compilation of Black and Whites