Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Italian goes to an Irish-Indian Wedding in an Irish castle. And then, after talking a seriously big game, utterly fails to outdrink the Irish.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time for this post. So, I'll post a few pictures and then bore you with some further stories and details at a later date.

Here I am, eating chips while walking in the Irish Countryside. This picture makes it abundantly clear that I should be doing a bit more walking and a lot less chip eating.

This is where the wedding was held. It's called Kinnitty Castle.

A close-up of the castle. A sign on the way up to the castle announces that it has been, "Accepting Visitors since 1208." According to the Discovery Channel, who may or may not be the expert on such matters, it is the most haunted castle in Ireland. Fortunately, after trying to outdrink the Irish, I had other concerns come bed time.

As an aside, the Irish usually celebrate weddings until breakfast the next day. So, while I passed out at 4 am with my suit on and a half-full pint next to my bed. The drinking continued until 6:30 am.

The ceremony was performed by the bride's friend Monica in the courtyard.

Congrats to Kevin and Vaishali.

My dinner salad consisted of a smattering of lettuce, some applesauce, a big slice of bread and an entire wheel of goat cheese. It was the greatest salad I have ever seen.

Darren, who I am staying with, took me out to a local castle that is about ten minutes from Abbeyleix. It was very cool.

Ireland has some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. And, some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I fly to Dublin through JFK and Paris and Discover that Ham and Egg-salad Really Do Go Together.

So, about 30 minutes into my layover at JFK, I walked into the women’s bathroom. Now, I didn’t know that I had walked into the women’s bathroom. I just walked into the bathroom and realized there were women in there. Then, I wondered why women were in the men’s bathroom. Then I wondered who had removed all the urinals. Then it struck me that I might not be in the men’s bathroom.

Some may say that it does not that it does not bode well for a trip around the world if you can’t figure out which is the right bathroom when you're still in your own country. I would argue that I am just very eager to explore new places.

And, by the way, if you’ve never been in a women’s bathroom, it is NOT as cool as they made it seem in The Office. Plus, the occupants of women’s bathrooms are far from welcoming and, in fact, are distinctly unfriendly.

Anyway, after an uncomfortable flight to Paris, I packed up all the food from the breakfast tray they gave us on the flight in preparation for the long layover before my flight to Dublin. That's when I found out that my long haul flight granted me access to the Air France lounge.

Charles De Gaul Airport.
Apparently the French like glass.

The Air France Lounge

The Air France lounge is seriously crazy. It’s like the kitchen at Northlich multiplied by 100. There are croissants, water, juice, that crazy French yogurt that contains 110% fat and tastes better than a Dairy Queen Blizzard, bread, champagne, wine, vodka, other liquors (including Kentucky whiskey – holla Kentucky), little mini Cokes and Diet Cokes, mini beers and even Fanta.

I briefly considered getting drunk just based on principle (the principle being that it was free), but I thought better of it. Instead, within the first 15 minutes, I had eaten two breakfasts and, a half an hour later, I had lunch – including, among other things, an egg salad-and-ham sandwich and a tuna-and-basil sandwich (the lounge is seriously giving Poppie's a run for it’s money on odd ingredient sandwiches). I also had some potato chips that, from what I could translate, were labeled Ancient Potato Chips (Chips a l’Ancienne? Anybody?) – I guess everything in Europe is really old.

The lounge also had a small bathroom with cool urinals and a private toilet stall.

The French Sense of Style Carries Over to the Bathroom

If you made it this far in my blog, please don't worry that it will only consist of detailed descriptions of airport lounges. It's just all I've experienced so far. Plus, I don’t think they will ever let me in one again. Which is too bad because I think the Air France lounge could be better than the Louvre.

On a final note, and, to leave the lounge talk aside for a moment, I’d like to mention that, while foreigners may not really like America all that much at the moment, they certainly love the heck out of New York. In the terminal and on my flight, I have never seen so much ‘I heart New York’ gear, ever. Entire tour groups wearing identical, matching shirts with ‘I heart New York’ keychains dangling from their bags. It was actually really cool to see.

But, I felt a little bad because Cincinnati was left out - anyway, I heart you Cincinnati. Big time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

At the beginning of this little journal about my little trip, I have to say that I have had the best send-off any person could ask for. The generosity, kindness, gifts, picture cakes, parties, dinners, fanny packs and warm wishes made me as happy as anyone could imagine. I am incredibly lucky.

Also, without Jen, I would have gotten on the plane with a garbage bag full of socks and underwear and nothing else. She did everything to help me get ready, including leading me through shopping for the essentials and packing my bag because, when I packed the bag myself, nothing would fit. She also kept me sane and made me laugh throughout the whole process. It was amazing. And, she is incredible. And, funny.

We (Jen) fit all of my clothes in the lower third of this bag. The rest is entirely filled with handi-wipes. Seriously.