The Hunt Begins

Trip Start Sep 06, 2004
1
5
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Trip End Nov 23, 2004


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Flag of Ireland  ,
Friday, September 10, 2004

Friday began with the arrival of our new roommates...two seasoned female travellers, Leah and Elaine, who hail originally from Medicine Hat and Pincher Creek. They've been working away from Canada for 9 years, 6 of them teaching English in Thailand. For the past 5 months they've been backpacking...they've been to Cambodia, Vietnam, Turkey, Croatia, Greece, Hungary...and will be heading home to Canada in a few weeks after seeing a bit more of Europe. Anyway they were really nice. They were our roommates until today (Monday morning) and we were sad to see them go.

We spent the day trekking all over the centre of town, dropping off resumes...mostly for retail jobs as well as a temp agency. I've been asking at all the bookstores if they need help, but the only one that did need help wanted someone who could speak Irish. This was tiring and dispiriting. Then we went looking for a copy of the Galway Advertiser, the classifieds newspaper that comes out on Thursdays (well, Wednesday for accommodations, Thursday for jobs). Our quest was fruitless until we finally found it online. On the up side, we did get to see a lot of Galway, including the local branch of USIT (the office that administers the Work in Ireland program) and a peaceful canal. By the way, one of the banks here is in a very small castle. Also there are long lineups at all the ATMs.

Regarding food, I had eggs and bacon at an "Italian" Irish restaurant, a plate of rice/chicken/lettuce at Supermac's (the local Irish version of the Golden Arches, although they have that too), and nachos at a cheap Mexican place called La Salsa. Also found gluten-free bread at a health food store. It cost €4.65, which is more expensive than at home but I think it's cheaper relative to other grocery food here.

That night, Katherine and I went out with our roommates to La Salsa and then to a pub where a band called The Lewd Tunes was playing cover tunes of American rock (Aerosmith, Otis Redding). Not exactly Irish, but they were really good and I knew a few of the songs, even if it was a little odd listening to them amid the medieval decor. But then the loudness of the place started to get to me. I don't particularly enjoy bars at home--the drinking, the crowds, the music--and this place was just like that. Not what I thought Irish pubs would be like (i.e. old-fashioned) and not my scene. I went out to the door and watched the bouncers try to explain to a very serious drunk why they wouldn't let him in. The longer I stood there, the less I wanted to go back in. I looked around at all the stimulation and I just wanted to be somewhere peaceful and quiet with Arvin. I was in the wrong place--I need peace. Ireland appears to have a huge drinking problem. Friendly pubs I could go for, but I haven't seen any yet. As for Katherine, I think we may need to go our separate ways. We get along because we're in the same position, not because we have anything in common.

I went back to the hostel alone. Don't worry, I stayed alert, but I felt perfectly safe. A guy sleeping on the rug inside the door let me in very politely. I was sorry when he asked for a light and I didn't have one.

Back in the room, I lay on my bunk missing Arvin acutely. In that mood, I decided that Galway wasn't the place for me--too touristy and also too generic. Noticed that a hostel in County Donegal (the northern end of the island) is hiring. It's in a tiny, remote village. Maybe I'll phone them tomorrow if I still feel the same way. After all, I wanted to experience small-town Ireland, and Donegal seems to be about as remote as it gets. Might as well go all the way!
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