New Friends in Dublin

We arrived in Dublin after a bit of an arduous and frustrating commute. It was all Uri’s fault though. The fool didn’t realize that our connecting flight in London departed from a different airport than the one we landed in! We landed in London City Airport, but we were to fly to Dublin from Heathrow! We didn’t even realize this until we were checking in at the airport in Venice!

Thankfully, we had 6 hours between flights, but between picking up our bags, schlepping to Heathrow, and then checking in again, we ended up needing almost all 6 hours.

After picking up our bags, we checked the local transit authority’s website for directions to get between airports. It said we’d have to take a bus, then two trains. No problem. Except when we tried to get on the bus, the driver said we had to buy our ticket inside. “Buses don’t accept money anymore. No buses accept money.” He said it like we were a couple of stupid children.

So we went back inside to look for where to buy our tickets. Even airport staff weren’t sure. One guy finally helped us out and said to walk through the doors and go to the counter on the right.

Oh, you mean the counter that’s closed? That counter? Okay.

There were machines available, but they were only for refilling your transit card, not for getting new ones. After asking somebody, we found out you have to take a train to the next station to get a new card. So I have to spend money just to go somewhere else to buy a ticket for where I actually want to go?

Not happening.

We turned to Google, and apparently Google knew better than the local transit authority, because it offered directions using three different trains. Train tickets could be purchased from the machines.

This whole process took damn near 40 minutes, and the whole time I’m thinking, “This is all Uri’s fault.”

The last train was an express train to Heathrow. It cost 15€. That meant that just getting from one airport to another, we’d spent 20€. We hadn’t seen anything in London and we’d already spent 20€. London really is expensive!

In the end, everything worked out–as it always does–and we found ourselves on a bus from Dublin Airport into the city.

Our friend Rodrigo in Verona had been kind enough to put us in touch with a friend of his in Dublin. Her name was Iva. We’d been messaging on Whatsapp in Spanish since then. Uri and I got to the bar where we agreed to meet up, and we immediately spotted each other. The gigantic backpacks must have been a dead giveaway. The first thing she asked was, “Hablas Inglés?” to which Uri replied, “YEEESSSS!” They were both so relieved that they both burst out laughing. This whole time they’d been texting in Spanish, thinking the other person didn’t speak English. “I kept using Google Translate to check how to spell a word!” he shouted, and Iva laughed even louder. “Me toooo!” She cried out. We were officially the bestest of friends.

We walked inside of the bar, which was called Bernard Shaw, and went to find her friend, Fatima. The place was PACKED. Walking through with two huge backpacks was no easy feat. Once we were seated, Iva helped us hunt down some food. Bernard Shaw is known for their pizza. If you think that after ten days in Italy we’d be sick of pizza, then you are very wrong. It was still just as delicious.

Iva was a lively and proud Serbian girl who actually manages to laugh at everything just as much as Uri does. I didn’t think that could be possible! Their cheeks must constantly be so sore.

Fatima was a sweet and thoughtful girl from South Africa. She works for the Google! The Google! We were in perfect company.

The Shaw, as I’ve decided to call it, was rather over packed and uncomfortably loud, so Fatima offered to take us all back to her place. It was a short walk away.

Once there, the plan was to drop off our bags, maybe have a quick drink or shot, and then set off in search of a quieter pub.

That never happened. We all immediately made ourselves comfy and enjoyed some delicious Soplica–a smooth Polish vodka. (Apologies to Fatima’s absent roommate, as the bottle belonged to her, and we ended up downing the whole bottle.

As the laughs continued, Fatima suggested we play an African strategy game called Awele. Really, she was just craving fresh meat. Most of her friends refuse to play with her anymore because she’s just too damn good. It looked ing, so we agreed to give it a go.

The rules are as follows: There are 12 circles. Six on my side, and six on yours. Each circle holds four counters. To make a move, you select any circle on your side and take all the counters out. You then place one counter in each subsequent circle immediately following the circle you took the counters from. That is the end of your turn. If you place the last bean of your turn in a circle that only has one or two other counters already in it, you get to take all of the counters in that circle. And if the hole previous to the last hole also had one or two counters in it, you can also take those counters. The goal of the game is to have more than half the counters.

Fatima smoked Uri the first time around. He managed to capture a whopping 4 counters. After honing his skills in a round with Iva, though, made a valiant effort in a rematch against Fatima. He actually had her against the ropes for a while. But alas, he fell short.

Afterwards, Uri and I introduced the ladies to a MUCH simpler game that was more at our level: Dobble. Basically, you deal out all the cards and flip the last one face up. Every card features a dozen random images on it–a snowman, fire, a dinosaur, a turtle, etc. Every card also features one image that it has in common with every other card. Your job is to lift up the top card in your pile and find the image that it has in common with the card on the table as fast as you can. Throw your card on top, shout out what the image is, and pick up your next card. Your goal is to run through your pile first.

It’s such a simple game, but it can be extremely frustrating at the same time, as is evident in Fatima’s face in the picture below.

Uri was destroying the girls at first, but after half a dozen rounds, they’d quickly caught on, and he could no longer keep up. He was losing yet again.

In no time, it was time for bed. Uri and I had to be up early to pick up his sister, Doris, in the morning. He was extemely excited. We were also getting a set of wheels in the morning! I was excited for that!

 

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