So, I’m in Dublin, and it’s always the little things.
This may well be a long post. I’ll try to be entertaining so that you can say things like “That post was really fun to read” and I’ll pretend you care instead of actually just enjoying the humour of my suffering.
They let me into the country (no, I don’t know why, either). Upon which I found a taxi.
I have said to people that Canberra taxi drivers are the nicest taxi drivers I’ve ever met. This is no longer true. I was driving with a wonderful man who chatted all the way into Dublin from the airport, told me stories about his son (and I’m sure the son would be mortified if he knew some of the stories his father told). He also gave me the tour of Dublin, including the history of some landmarks, the identities of various statues, and the best places to shop for price.
I just feel kind of sorry that I made this lovely man take me to entirely the wrong address. Turns out, I’m staying at Goldsmith Hall, not Trinity Hall. I did manage to luck out again, because a young man who was waiting in line to sort out early accommodation heard me having my problem explained to me, and said he and his mother were going past the College anyway, so they could give me a lift.
And so, I got a lift. I got a lift right up to the front gates of Trinity.
Too bad Goldsmith Hall is right on the other side of campus. I carried all of my bags in the direction of the street I needed to be on, and was met with construction sites and back alleys. I reached my third dead end and turned around to see two maintenance men quietly watching me. They opened the side gate and gave me very, very detailed instructions, and I walked the 5 or so minutes up the road to where the Hall is.
It took another two to find the door.
And then I was told that, to get my key, I needed to go to the Accommodations Office, which was right back near where I started.
The receptionist locked my bags in the store room for me, so I didn’t have to carry them, and I walked all the way back, getting only slightly less lost on my way, got my key, and finally got to my room. Pictures to follow when the room is not suffering the aftermath of me deconstructing bags to find fresh, clean clothes, and then pulling out half the other stuff, too, to check whether any of it was broken or lost. For now, suffice to say that it’s a bit bigger than a Burgmann room, but with more shelving, the desk set up so you have a great view of the window, and a double bed.
Now, being my mother’s daughter, I made a list. I needed to get some lunch (it was 2pm, so I felt a meal was warranted). I needed bed linen. I needed towels. I needed soap and shampoo and conditioner. I needed to finalise my student visa arrangements at the Immigration Bureau. And I needed to buy an Ethernet cable and some powerpoint adaptors.
The thing you must realise about this is that I needed the Ethernet cable because I have no Internet access at all (hence why these posts are a) late, and b) all together). This means I have no Google Maps, and no Google, and my sense of direction is slightly less useful than a ferret on a bowling ball.
Therefore, my first real lesson for the day (apart from always check where you’re living before you head to the foreign country) was that tourist information centres do carry maps. They’re not particularly good, but any map in a foreign city is an acceptable map. And they will be able to tell you where the Immigration Bureau is, but they will have to Google it first.
I got to Garda, realised that there was a queue to get a ticket to get in the queue and left. I’m not an illegal immigrant until the 10th of December, so that can happen when I’m not tired, hungry, and need to purchase things to eat and sleep on.
The second lesson I learned is that I could buy a fitted sheet, duvet, two pillows, three tea towels, duvet cover and two pillowslips, two bath towels and ten wooden coat hangers for 53 euro.
The third was that, if you put wooden coat hangers in a bag the wrong way, they will chuckle softly at your faith in double-bagging, and rip straight through one of the handles.
The fourth lesson was that, although the Penney’s was the only place I actually knew how to get to, it wasn’t necessarily the most intelligent one to visit first. I learned this by having to carry a duvet, two pillows, the associated coverings, a fitted sheet, three tea towels, two bath towels and ten wooden coathangers around the city while I searched futilely for an electrical appliances store.
It was about this time, on my third lap up and down the street, peering into adjacent streets and trying to pick out the local who looked most sympathetic and most likely to know where I could buy international powerpoint adapters, when I realised I had not yet eaten lunch, and my mood might improve significantly if I did so.
The place I found for lunch was a café named “Insomnia”, and I think it may be one of my favourite places ever. All the coffees come with double coffee shots unless you specifically ask for single. This is the cup of tea I ordered.
I’m not sure if you can tell the size of this thing from this angle (obviously I don’t Instagram enough), but this is a tea mug roughly twice the size of a standard Australian mug.
It was my first real cup of tea in two days.
I asked the woman behind the counter about the electronics store, and her response was “Here are some adapters. We have a better range upstairs.”
Adapters, yes, but no Ethernet cable. I was directed to another department store around the corner for that.
It’s possibly not been conveyed so far just how much I do not understand Dublin. Department stores have specialties. For instance, Penney’s was obviously a clothing department store, with an auxiliary homewares section taking up the least possible amount of space otherwise reserved for children’s clothing. Eamon’s, the bookstore that housed ‘Insomnia’, was mostly books, but had a small electronics and stationery store above.
Also, the department store I went to did not look like a department store, because there was no outward indication that all the stores inside were connected, until you actually bother to look inside. In the electronics section, I looked befuddled until one of the floor staff took pity on me and helped me find what I was looking for. At the counter another staff member, obviously recognising the foreigner’s bunny-in-the-headlights I-haven’t-slept-yet, I-don’t-understand-your-money look (or maybe he just worked it out because I asked for an Australian to Irish power adapter), asked me how long I was staying for, and when I’d gotten off the plane, and said nothing while I tried to figure out whether I was holding a 1 or 2 euro coin.
Back at my room, I find out that I can’t make the Internet work anyway because something something student registration password something. Good. Fine. Good. Right.
I tried to have a shower to calm down but I don’t even what are these showers?
The cold tap turns the water on and off, and the hot tap adjusts the temperature, but there are tabs on each one to change the amount of each? But I can’t move the tabs anyway, and the water temperature still changes. I AM SO CONFUSED YOU GUYS YOU HAVE JUST NO IDEA.
And the towels. I usually much prefer huge, fluffy towels, but somehow the towel I have feels fluffy dry, but is actually sleek. I usually hate that, but this one feels like the best thing ever.
What have I done to myself?
Showers happened despite my obviously failing sanity, and now I smell like coconut and green tea and bergamot. Because it’s been a long day, and I can smell like an ethnic cuisine stereotype if I want to.