Thursday, August 20, 2009

No leprechauns, no rain... it's all a wee bit strange.


UK Trip Log: Day 2 - Monday, 29 June, Touchdown Belfast:

Previous Entry: UK Trip Log: Day 1

Mercifully, the six hour flight is over. My friend and neighbour, Mr. Overly Friendly Drunk Irishman, has already confirmed at least one Irish stereotype. I let him go ahead of me as we disembark, mildly surprised that he can walk in a straight line after having imbibed such copious amounts of alcohol.

As expected, the immigration line for non-citizens is long and tediously boring, even more so because I am stuck behind a bunch of American high-school kids visiting Ireland for the summer. Eventually I make my way through immigration, baggage and customs (or so says a sign I pass under - no sign of a customs official anywhere nearby though).

I am really looking forward to seeing S, and it is equal parts relief and joy meeting her again. V and N look just like they did a couple of years ago, quite a mighty feat considering V had a baby in the interim.

We make our way outside and I get my first real glimpse of Ireland. It's nice and sunny and warm (well, it's not cold). I begin to wonder whether I am in the right country. I'm told there's been a heat wave the last few days and some people have even been hospitalized. If this weather is considered a heat wave, I fear I might need to be hospitalized once it gets back to 'normal'.

One thing to note for Americans going to Europe - the roads are narrow. If you like to drive an F150 with room to spare on the sides, this ain't the place for you. Knowing I am going to need to drive in the next couple of days, I grab the seat in the front and try to get used to driving on the other side of the road, trying hard to ignore the fact that the roads are barely wide enough for a Mazda 6 and that there is no divider to stop the oncoming traffic from barreling straight into you.

When we get home we are greeted by my mother in law and the cutest baby girl this side of the Atlantic. The rest of the day is spent being entertained by the Baby A. Show. In between I realize I have been designated the resident computer expert and now have the responsibility of diagnosing and fixing V's beat-up old laptop. This is the only computer they have, and their only connection to the outside world, so no pressure really.

I manage to stay up till 10:30 and not fix the machine. I know I have to sleep so that I am fresh for my US visa stamping the next day, but the damn sun's still out and it just doesn't feel late enough to sleep. What sort of freakish place have I come to?

Light or not, I feel the jet-lag starting to get a hold of me, so we decide to pack it in for the 'night'. After all, it's a big day tomorrow. I get to find out whether I am going to be let back into the US.

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