Sunday, 26 August 2012

Some Boat Thing (part 2)

My other half and I went to a confusing event yesterday.  It was packed full of people and not much was going on.  The official title of the event was:  The Dublin Tall Ships Races Festival presented by Szczecin, Sail Training International.

Let's try to make sense of this:
  • The Tall Ships -- ok, I'm with you so far...
  • Races Festival -- wait, the boats are just parked there, not... racing.
  • presented by Szcsecin -- Szzwhutthefuk?  Who?  Huh??
  • Sail Training International -- excuse me, this is some kind of training exercise?  I thought it was a race.  What's going on here?

Surely this can't be some sort of sailboat training class.  I mean, the Italian Navy showed up.  In this:

Something tells me these guys have advanced past Dinghy Sailing 101.  I mean, they don't let the noobs pilot something that looks like it came out of the Museo Nazionale Romano, do they?

Lo and behold, if you Google Amerigo Vespucci (the name of the ship) you find it IS a training vessel.  What is going ON here? 

I wish somebody would have explained the event better to the crowd.  I doubt anybody attending the "Tall Ships Festival" knew what it was all about.  I mean, me and like 999,999 other people simply took pictures of stuff:  Like this twat parked illegally:

"Will the owner of the Alexander von Humboldt please move your vehicle?  You are in a 24 hour Clamping Zone."  Haha, we really didn't know what we were looking at most of the time.  Case in point:

The Mexicans have a nekkid Aztec dude on the front of their boat?  Really?  I was kind of expecting a Chola with a switchblade or something.  The Hispanic member of the Village People doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of pirates.  Even this is better:
Behold, the BAE Guayas proudly displaying the Ecuadorian Battle Turkey, in all its glory!  Pitty the poor pirate who underestimates these sailors.

We saw this guy getting off the boat from Ecuador.  He better watch out, the sailboat from Sweden was right behind!

This was the HMS Ikea, flagship of the Swedish Merchant Marines, delivering its shipment of flat pack furniture to the Dublin Port.

Some Boat Thing (part 1)

There is some kind of boat event going on in Dublin.  All I know is that for the last four days my normally one hour bus ride into work now takes two hours and traffic in Dublin is absolutely snarled.  The Garda closed off the Quay (pronounced like key) for a kilometer on both sides, all the way to the port.  There are Tall Ships parked on the Liffey, giving people a glimpse of what Dublin might have looked like 100 years ago.

The newspaper said 1,000,000 people are expected to come out to the event.  Seriously.  That's around one quarter of the Irish population.  It certainly felt like it today.  There was literally a sea of people.

The boats were quite colorful, and all in excellent shape.  However I am still confused by what the event was all about?  The official title was the Tall Ship Races.  There wasn't any "race" going on.  The boats were just parked there.

I appreciate all the work that went into preparing the ships.  It is obvious that their crews made a big effort to make the boats look great.  The crews were in their best uniforms and the boats were decorated with festive rigging.

However as an event, there wasn't much going on.  Literally a million people came out and nothing happened.  It was the polar opposite of an Air Show.  At an Air Show, the audience stands in one place and the announcer lets you know what's going on.  They'll say "Here comes the Blue Angels, get your cameras ready..."

At this event, thousands of people milled around, and there was little event coordination.  Nobody spoke to the audience to say "Here comes the Lord Nelson," or, "Now we shall sing On the Good Ship Lollipop."

The only announcement made to the croud was, "When you're leaving the event, please do not walk on the Luas tracks."  (Dubliners are such notorious jay-walkers that they have to be reminded with a Tannoy not to walk in front of trains.)  Obviously, the Garda was present, maintaining some sense of order.

It was cool to see the Irish Defense Force ships too.  This is the LÉ Emer, an offshore patrol vessel.

So, thanks to all the crews and officers who presented such fantastic ships to the public.  It was great to see all the different vessels and the smart looking folks in uniform.  I just wish the "Tall Ship Race" presenters, the news media and the City of Dublin would have done more to explain the event.  It looked mostly like an excuse to sell hot dogs.

So, if you're ever tempted to go see the Tall Ships, just be warned.  The event will be:
  • overcrowded
  • confusing
  • uncoordinated
  • a traffic snarl
But the ships were pretty cool.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Louis Vuitton Drops Acid

We were walking down Grafton Street in Dublin last night and we turned onto Wicklow Street.  Lo and behold, what did we find across the street from Tower Records?

 Ok, I have to be careful here, because some of the people who read this blog are my mom's quilting friends, and I don't want to upset them with humorous references to bizarre Japanese hentai.  Let's just say the Japanese are unique in some of their er... fetishes, and we must be culturally tolerant...  oh who am I kidding.  This is just some bizarre sh*t.

Tentacles???  Seriously Louis Vuitton, what were you thinking?  I can't believe some of the stuff they put in Dublin shop windows.  Like this monstrosity.  Who would buy this?  Wanda from In Living Color?

Now, if you own something of Louis Vuitton, that's great.  Please write to me and tell me what drugs you took, because I'd really like to know.  Who in their right mind would buy a Luis Vuitton suitcase for $3150?  We have pictured below the Pégase 55 among others:

Anybody who has flown a commercial airline knows what happens to their brand new luggage after just one flight.  It comes back with cuts, perforations and scrape-marks all over.  Check out this video of:  Ryanair baggage handlers.  I love how they drag the suitcase behind the luggage truck.  Do you want this happening to your three-thousand-dollar suitcase?

I think the folks at Luis Vuitton were on acid when they came up with this stuff.  Imagine them playing Incense and Peppermints around a big conference table and passing around a plate of sugar cubes.  Then somebody pipes up, "I know, we need a big floating eyeball for the window display."

LSD: Louisergic acid vuittonamide is a psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, known for its psychological effects: closed and open eye visuals, an altered sense of time, and altered thinking processes. People under the influence have the desire to spend insane amounts of money on mundane physical objects, such as luggage and handbags.

Would you have to be on drugs to buy Louis Vuitton?  It would probably help.  I'm sure you would need them after.  After looking at your credit card statement you would be reaching for the Xanax.  "Why did I spend $1550 on a duffel bag?  If I didn't just win a Grammy for something, I'm in deep sh*t with the landlord."

Perhaps this is why the phrase "insane amounts of money" was coined.  Alright, I bet there is somebody reading this who actually owns a Louis Vuitton duffel bag and honestly thinks its a nice piece of luggage.  That's fine.  I obviously don't live in your world.  You probably don't fly Ryanair either.  The guy who handles your luggage went to butler college and your duffel bag rests comfortably in the cargo space of a Beechcraft Premier.  When you're up there in clouds, say hi to Lucy in the sky for me.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Most Awesome Shop in Galway

Look no further.  This is the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida of awesome, at 44 Upper Abbeygate Street in Galway.  KemBali rocked my world... they had messenger bags, DJ t-shirts, paisley bandanas, and jewelry.  Yeah... they had silver earrings if you like shiny stuff.  I think this store must have been transplanted directly from Pacific Street in downtown Santa Cruz.  These people know where it's at!

The front looks like any boutique shop in Santa Cruz, only it's Galway!

Check out the Ducati messenger bag I bought.

Did I mention they had DJ shirts?  The rockage, you have it, mmm.

I think bandanas are extremely useful.  Dig the rouge-et-noir thing going on here.  Groovy baby!

So, if you come to Ireland expecting The Quiet Man and thatched-roof cottages, think again.  People surf in Lahinch.  There are DJ shops in Dublin.  You can get Thai food in Galway.  And of course, there are awesome stores like this.  Ireland is a happenin' place, just like any other first-world country where they sell BMWs and have U2 concerts.  Not that I like U2, I'm just saying... if The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns-n-Roses show up for gigs, it's probably like Home Town, USA... and not like Father Ted.  So when you travel here, you won't be surprised by how different it is, you'll be surprised by how much it is like home.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Breakfast in Bearna

We had breakfast at The Coffee House in Bearna village on Saturday.  Bearna is a Gaeltacht town about 5 miles west of Galway.  The name "Bearna" is the Irish word for a gap in a stone wall, just in case you ever need to win a bet at a bar or something.  That could come in handy.  So, my Awesomer Half and I always order a latte when we visit coffee shops but this time we ordered Chai:

This was an unexpected presentation.  The creamer cup just contains more Chai.  They serve it with lots of cinnamon.  Nice.

Breakfast was reasonably priced and very tasty.  It was €6.50 for eggs, sausage & toast.  The little ramekin contained home-made ketchup!

Butter.  Contains milk.

Holy Cow, Batman! Butter contains milk?  Who knew?!?!?

Good coffee shop.  We'll be back.  Go raibh maith agat.

After breakfast we drove into Galway.  Bye bye Bearna!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Jelly Babies

My Awesomer Half and I are in Galway for the bank holiday weekend.  It was a busy day in town because of the Galway Races, a popular horse racing event.  We took a walk down Shop Street this afternoon.

We could see a lot of people inside Aunty Nellie's Sweet Shop.  It looked like a popular place so we decided to wander inside and check it out.
It reminded me of Honeyduke's candy store in the Harry Potter films.  They had an entire wall filled with sweets in glass apothecary jars.  For you folks reading this in America, it is a lot like the Cottage of Sweets in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

They had a small section of American candy too.  I always find it amusing how candy bars from the USA are a novelty here in the EU.  There were Almond Joy bars for €2.20, (the same ones you get at Wal-Mart for 75 cents.)

They also had something called Bon-bons, which is classic sweet-shop faire.  Bon-bons are sort of an English/Irish thing.  Imagine toffee centered candy with a thick coat of icing sugar in various flavors.

Well, what do we have here?  One simply doesn't walk into Mordor and drop a ring into a volcano... oh wait.  (Ahem.)  I mean, one simply doesn't walk into a sweet shop without buying something!

Being a Doctor Who fan, I had to pick up some authentic.... jelly babies!

Thank you Aunty Nellie, we will definitely be back.  Nom nom nom.