In July and August 2005, I spent two weeks in Ireland. Most of it was with a tour group via a public radio station, before I stayed at a Dublin hostel for three days. This excerpt covers the transition from traveling with a group to staying at a hostel.
Saturday August 6. 2005
The tour group ate breakfast at Trinity College. It was a cafeteria, but of course with tea and the ubiquitous little pitchers of milk. We had our last conversations over breakfast (when I’m not at my most awake). We parted, and I headed straight for the hostel in hopes that I could check in immediately, since I have luggage. I felt some sorrow at parting with the group.
My final breakfast with the tour group — at the Trinity College breakfast cafeteria (they have another dining hall besides that) — involved much chatting, so we were at the table well after most of us finished eating. I mention this because the party animal Dave told the group about some kids in their early twenties, who he and Lynn met at a pub the night before. He said that one of them was so outgoing and talkative that he made Bob look quiet, which I found rather amusing given the way Bob talks (but at least he says interesting things — he teaches a history class at I forget which college). Dave described these “kids” as wild, and finally he said just to give us “an idea of how wild these kids were,” he explained that one of them had tattoos covering his arms and chest and countless piercings, and there were bumps up and down his arms where — I think where he’d inserted needles. These wild kids were delighted that they were Americans and wanted Dave and Lynn to stay with them all night, but they explained that no, they had to return to their friends.
The kids didn’t think they should hang out with other Americans while in Dublin (and by the way these boys were Irish). I think they have a point: when you’re traveling in another country, it’s ideal to associate with locals instead of with people from your country, or in addition to people from your country. I love this in theory, but in practice I’m shy and socially awkward.