Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dublin Morning

Pacing is everything.

"In story telling, speechifying, novel writing, business, war and love, timing," said the jester, "is, uh, timing, well, know..."

And especially in travel. In the words of that great American folk philosopher, Kenneth Rogers, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Some days, you just don't want to dash about, absorbing new information like a desperate time-consumed sponge.

Thus, this morning, waking to a beautiful sunny summer day, after a week of wonderful new sights and sounds in Edinburgh, I didn't have the will to jump on my MUST SEE list.

Instead a slow and steady walk in a great circle, along Abbey Road to O'Connell and beyond and then over the bridge to Temple Bar and the Saturday food market. After a strawberry gelato, back across one of the many bridges to a supermarket and home for a breather.

Along the way, I stopped in at The Abbey Theatre to buy tickets to not one, but two different plays, the first on Tuesday night and the next on Thursday. I'm thinking about a Gray Line tour out into the glorious countryside for all of Wednesday.

I have been reading about the Abbey since I was 15 years old and to me it has always loomed as a beacon in the way that La Scala or La Fenice or the Met would to an opera fan. (Yankee Stadium, The Indy, Wimbledon, ...add your own to the list of cultural shrines...)

The apartment I have rented is in a district too much like Gastown for my liking. The flat itself is large and airy and clean and comfortable, if rather modern bland. But it is sitting in a decomposing old neighborhood, which is trying way to hard to get gentrified. Good luck to it.

One needs a full 10 to 15 minutes walk, along either the tram tracks in the back or the River Liffey in the front to find signs of civilization, i.e., a cafe, a pub, a corner grocer. However, walking is the core activity, so I might be quiet and just count my blessings that I am alive and well and in this strange and fascinating place.

The cab driver from the airport last night clocked in - among other elements in his monologue -that the Polish immigrants were ruining Ireland. This, of course, is the lament heard round the world about one group or another, especially in the age of the-jet-as-bus. And there is always some small grain of truth in these complaints, which makes them hard to simply swat away like a Winnipeg mosquito.

Certainly amidst the ubiquitous Irish lilt is heard the polyglot of all international cities. All groceries seemed to be staffed or owned by Indians, Africans and those fleeing for one reason or another the OPEC countries.

The news is dominated by the nearness of a public revolt on gas prices, the potential for food riots and the 4.5% loss in housing value in the past year.

It mus be the mountains and the sea and the pine trees that keep us in our happy stupor in Vancouver. La-la Land, indeed.


PelaLusa said...

Sir David,

I've only been to Europe once, when I was a 28 year old energetic young man. I did see lots, but when I arrived in Brugges near the end of my trip I was absolutely exhausted and didn't want to see one more museum or one more art gallery.

A pretty girl from San Francisco had given me a John Grisham novel and I spent 3 days reading it around town, while drinking raspberry beer and eating Belgian chocolate. It was one of the most memorable parts of my entire trip.

Good on you to slow down and be a layabout for awhile!


PelaLusa said...

Chaos Theory, with Mr. Scarlett Johansson. You were fine in it!

P.S. The big thing you're missing back here is what's perhaps the most important "trial" on Free Speech in recent Canadian History. I've been all over it like a laser beam.

David Berner said...

Ah..."Chaos theory" I didn't know they finally released it.

What is this controversy? I have completely avoided local news.