A relatively calm birfday, yet more rain and a somber tour with a bright future

The Wandering Nerd August 4th, 2007

Traveling yesterday kind of sucked. 8 hours on a bus is too much, from now on 3 hours is my max. Especially when it’s packed full for a large duration. The upside, I got to practically finish The Fountainhead, just about 50 pages left. I suspect there probably should have been some sort of injunction or restraining order preventing me from learning about Objectivism. You people thought I was insufferable before… Fantastic book, here’s to hoping the ending doesn’t ruin it.

Arriving at the Derry Independent Hostel, which is more like a house than the other places I’ve been in. A group of people from here went out to a pub where some Basque people (also staying in the hostel) were playing. I’d never heard of the place. They have been identifying with the Irish for a long time due to their similar rocky relationship with the Spanish. Similar occupation has been occurring there. Makes for interesting reading if you have some time. The music itself is haunting and moving, you can listen to some samples there.

From there a few of us broke away and went to a place called ‘Sandinos‘ where they had another live band. I suppose it’s only fitting that on my birthday I was in a bar in Derry, listening to a band fronted by a guy in a Ramones t-shirt, playing an electric fiddle, with the culmination of the evening involving me actually dancing…yes…me…dancing. It looked like a chicken with amoebic dysentery, but by god I danced. They ended the evening playing ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’, man…DDR has nothing on Irish dancing set to that beat.

Luckily, I’d been informed about Magner’s Cider. I kind of turned my nose up at it to start, but here’s the thing, it’s only 2 pound 80 pence…(yeah, need to get the pound symbol, I’ll get to it later, I’m telling a story, stop interrupting) and it’s about 4.5% alcohol and it comes in a 568ml bottle. That makes for 2 drinks actually. Now that’s drinking responsibly. :) So with a certain number of Magner’s in me, apparently I like dancing. Since it’s made from apples, it’s healthy too, fortified with vitamins and such.

Surprisingly and delightfully free of a hangover this morning, I actually took some time and just slept in. I leisurely made my way over to the tour of Derry. It’s a walking tour that starts at the memorial of Bloody Sunday. The guide was a Derry native who actually participated in a number of marches back in the days of ‘The Troubles’ as they are referred to here. Northern Ireland has had a long and tumultuous past. More so than I really perceived. Derry has a walled city (historically the Protestant/British point of presence) which is more pristine than the Bogside, where I’m staying. Here though, everything echoes the violent and tragic past. Barbed wire and spiked railing rest quietly shops and fences. Playgrounds are surrounded by high fences, windows are shielded by wire meshing to protect them from stray projectiles. People keep rubber bullets as souvenirs, and paint and burn marks still dot the walls of Protestant/British public buildings. The pavement is quite literally speckled with pieces of broken glass, from bottle or window. The Bogside has the feeling of a large but run down coal town in eastern Kentucky. Little if any energy or monies have been spent on keeping the Bogside cleaned.

For all that, the people are vibrant, laughing and cheerful. As dreary as it is, or perhaps in response to it, everyone here seems in high spirits. The British have recently pulled more troops out of Northern Ireland, and peace seems to be settling over the area. John, the tour guide, pointed out those walking around in the tour had grown up in peace, and had no idea what the feeling is of the weight to be lifted when peace comes to someone who’s only known war. He was very eloquent about it, and for my part, I’m hoping Derry does get to enjoy a long respite.

Hope you enjoy the pics:

and its true we are immune
when fact is fiction and tv reality
and today the millions cry
we eat and drink while tomorrow they die

2 Responses to “A relatively calm birfday, yet more rain and a somber tour with a bright future”

  1. tubenerdon 05 Aug 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Happy belated birthday. You just wait, MTV will be featuring a new dance seemingly all the rage from the pubs of Ireland–the “Fortune-telling Chicken”.

  2. koreeon 06 Aug 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I can write “The Fountainhead” in one sentence:

    “This book is boring”

    I just saved you 1100 pages of reading that I fell for once…

    If you want good Ayn Rand reading, get “Anthem”. Only 100 pages, and attacks collectivism pretty well.

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