Tra la la la lee

Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
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47
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Trip End Apr 25, 2007


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Monday, July 24, 2006

So early in my trip, and already I've lost all concept of dates, space and time. I managed to arrive in Tralee a day earlier than I had booked, but once I'd calmed down the Latvian girl looking after the hostel she found a spare bed for me so I was saved from further drama. Due to the consumption of copious amounts of Guinness last night, I could have potentially killed (or at least maimed) a small child with my farts. No attempts were made.

While waiting for the Cork-Tralee bus I whiffed the unmistakable tang of shit in the air. I looked around, but there weren't any uncomfortable-looking babies around. Fearing the worst, I was just about to go to the trouble of checking my shoes when I noticed that a decrepit old bugger only a few metres away had gone and shat himself. If you got a bit closer to him the alcohol emanating from him started to actually overpower the shit smell. Certainly an experience.

Tralee has done a number of things right. The tourist info centre is central, and spot on with what I needed to know, with great staff as an extra bonus. There is a large public park also near the middle of town, which allows you to, just for a moment, forget that the streets are narrow and overrun with both people and cars. Not surprisingly, most of the advice given to me involved getting out of town.

Tralee is a particularly good source of tracksuit-wearing teen mothers. Maybe they're driven by the distinct lack of anything to do, but when you start smoking at age 12 then why not knock out a few kids at 16? In a town dominated by oldies, foreigners, and of course old foreigners, I can't quite deduce what the teen minority actually do. When I see them, which is rare enough, they are generally just sitting around somewhere random - inspired stuff.

My last day in Tralee I went for a long walk to the north - past the oldest functioning windmill in Europe and past the western-most functioning passenger train station in the world. Both still claims to fame, but really no more than a reminder of a time when the region was actually flourishing. Further on the clouds closed in as I carefully negotiated cowpat-filled paddocks in my good old thongs. Finally I had a chance to test just how "waterproof" my jacket really was. It is. And that's essentially why my camera is still working. Just on cue as the rain really started pouring, one of my until-then trusty thongs suffered a blowout, and while preliminary repairs were fruitful I was well aware that drastic measures would soon be required. It got worse until every second step saw my thong flying off, dangerously close to soggy stacks of the cattleīs best. I rummaged through my bag for a miracle as the MacGuiver music played in the background, until I spotted manīs REAL best friend - cable ties. I allowed myself a short flashback as the rain continued to pelt down - I had completely forgotten that while climbing the tower in Munich I pocketed some errant cable ties that were obviously left over from chicken wire fencing (to restrict public access inside the tower). Anyway, I somehow knew they'd come in handy, and today was the day! I secured one to the plug on my thong, which gave it just enough extra width to put a stop to it continually slipping through.

I returned to Tralee as the downpour continued, then took refuge at the cinema for a 5.50 euro screening of Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Was not unlike the second Lord of the Rings, in that nothing really happened other than to set the audience up for the next movie - they must have a formula for that or something.
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