I forgot to mention – in Belfast, the inside of Benedicts was oddly castle-like (dark wood and stone pillars) and I was asked smoking or non – which totally took me aback (The smoking ban starts April 30th). I did end up going to Blood Diamond – lots of gorgeous African scenery – including some shots of Cape Town! Leo does give a great performance – which serves to cancel out the GOD-AWFULNESS of Jennifer Connolly. Granted she was given some crap dialogue (where Leo’s character was nuanced, hers was mostly a cliche), but a better actress could’ve done more with it.
From Belfast I went to Donegal (long bus ride, pretty scenery – lots of green fields, sheep and a couple of lakes). Donegal is a very cute, quaint town. No hostels are open in winter, so I had to splurge on a b&b (the atlantic guest house -very charming, almost a full fry for breakfast, which meant I could take the toast and egg and call it a sandwich for lunch). Anyways, walking out of town, you pass lots of small cute shops and then suddenly – giant castle. Very old church. moat. And then you’re back to post office, newsagents. Very odd.
I decided to hike out to Lough Eske, just over 5km out of town. Most of the walk was very green. I had some sheep and cows come up to fences; one puppy tried to follow me for awhile, and one horse tried to eat my fingers (I had eaten an apple earlier). After a while I passed out of agricultural land into a more forested area. The whole walk was very lovely (in spite of getting lost early on). And then – I got to Lough Eske and found it was closed due to construction! And the foreman was SO RUDE about it! I saw the castle turret from a distance, but I didn’t get to see the lake at all. Ah well- the walk was really nice. I got some good pictures of scenery.
Went to Donegal’s famous chippers for dinner – had absolutely delicious haddock. Came back and crashed (meaning I curled up in bed with friends, scrubs, and desperate housewives). I was so knackered. Did not get up very early, and so I got into Sligo a bit later than I originally intended.
I am currently in Yeats country. The co. sligo motto is land of the heart’s desire. Ummm – isn’t Yeats the symbol of all things unrequited? Is that really the image you want? (I could be wrong here – the only Yeats poems I know are the ones recited in Chieftains and Cranberries songs.) The bus trip down from Donegal was nice. I chatted with an older man named Paddy (go figure), and about halfway through I realized he was half crazy – he asked me some questions 3 times in a row. Anyways – he got off early, and I could watch the scenery – lots of lovely coastline and one castle off in the distance overlooking the sea, surrounded only by brown grass and mist – it was completely otherworldly (I couldn’t get a photo, though). I guess we passed Ben Bulben,but I could only see the lower slopes due to the fog. Today I wandered around Sligo (some pretty buildings, but the town is in the process of turning into a city and is kind of at an awkward stage). Bought some thin novels from the literature section for the long waits involved with travel (looked for the 4th E. Georgoe, but haven’t found it). I made another photo CD, but since the computer I’m currently on is OLDER THAN DIRT (seriously – I can barely type) – I’ll wait on uploading them. Maybe in Wesport tomorrow.
I was originally going to go to the Strandhill penninsula today, but since I got into town so late, I’ll be going first thing tomorrow. Also – I was going to hike up Knocknarea mtn, but since the weather has been overcast, I’m going to go to Carrowmore monolithic cemetery instead (the largest site of monolithic tombs in Ireland, supposedly with one 3,000 years older than the pyramids. I assume they mean the oldest pyramid?). (ah travel – its nice I can change plans whenever I want. The lady in the tourist office asked me long I’d be here, and I could say, “I don’t know.”
I’ve been trying to get a good picture of a pied wagtail, without success. They are very cute little black and white speckled birds, and apparently very shy.
Also – I am currently the REI poster child. No one trying could look more like a tourist. Then again, its working well so far – so I don’t really care how I look (there’s a first).
Fun stuff – I’m reading the Oct. ’06 issue of Nat. Geographic (in the hostel) and its a special issue on World parks at risk (discussing in part what my parks and politics class at Columbia was about). ANyways, it had these lovely quotes from articles:
“A national park is, in more cases than not, a wildly ambivalent act of collective purpose: dreamy yet provident, selfish yet sacrificial, local yet global in significance. Unlike a national anthem or national flag, a national park exists in the concrete dimensions of geography, biology, and economics – and in the dimension of symbolism as well… [no other form of protection] does what a national park does. None embodies the idea of a national citizenry standing in special relationship – as enjoyers for the present, as guarantors into the future – of some treasured parcel of the natural world… [National parks] speak more loudly and more proudly of a country’s special gifts, and of its ideals.”
“That we should find nature rejuvenating is hardly surprising. After all, our tribe arose not in cinderbelt but in wild forests and grasslands. Our ears are made not for the stinging scream of sirens but for the sly scratch of a predator’s paws and the whistle of wind that warns of impending weather. Our eyes evolved to tease apart not the monotonous grays of cityscapes but the subtle gold, olive, and burgandy hues that signaled ripe fruit and tender leaves, and our brains to reward our sensory efforts with feelings of deep pleasure.”
And – fun stuff from backstage at the Sag Awards (from ew):
Most Sarcastic, Off-the Cuff Moment:
The Office Cast, Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Reporter: As an ensemble, do you guys love each other?
Leslie David Baker (Stanley): Can’t stand the people. Fight all of the
time. It’s terrible.
Rainn Wilson (Dwight): BJ, why don’t you take this one?
BJ Novak (Ryan): I think you will have to describe in your verbiage
the look Rainn just gave me and the rest of the cast, and that should
explain how close we are.
Paul Lieberstein (Toby): I’d answer the question this way: We’re
locked, literally locked, inside an office for 60 hours a week; we
have to get along.
Reporter: What was it like to have the Mary Tyler Moore cast introduce you?
Lieberstein: It was great. They tell us they love our show, and we
love their show. And they were like, ”Come on over later. We’ll all
hang out at the pool party.” We said, ”Yeah, but we don’t have our
swimsuits.” They said, ”It’s fine, it’s not like that kind of thing.
It’s not a suit thing.” I’m real excited.
Reporter: Can you describe what you thought when they handed the statue to you?
Wilson: There’s a nub where the genitals should be. He has no mouth. I
actually posed for this several years ago — I was the buttocks model
for the SAG’s actor. It’s like looking in a mirror.
TV’s best quotes (EW):
”I anxiously await the release of your first film, Bend It Like Beckham 2: Bend It Exactly Like Beckham, Because You Are Him.”
STEPHEN COLBERT, ON DAVID BECKHAM’S RUMORED INTEREST IN PURSUING ACTING, ON THE COLBERT REPORT
”During an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, President Bush defended the invasion of Iraq, saying, ‘We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.’ Said the Iraqi people, ‘We’ve been meaning to send a card, but our Hallmark store keeps blowing up.’ ”
AMY POEHLER, ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
”O.J. Simpson’s agent says that O.J. has at least three offers from publishers who want O.J. to write his memoirs. O.J.’s book will be called Tuesdays with Stabby.”
CONAN O’BRIEN, ON LATE NIGHT
Furturama/ the simpsons - in the hostel sitting room (The harbour hostel – it seems to be closer to an industrial park than the harbour – but whatever. I was looking for the eden hill holiday hostel, got lost and got tired of walking)