The Road To Finland 2

Dammit, I can’t sleep. The hot sun won’t stop streaming in through the window. What sort of lake-strewn, tree-befuzzed hell have I arrived in?

But wait, let’s start at the beginning. Or at least, where I finished. Yesterday, in Café Wa, in Galway

The best part of a journey is not to travel hopefully or to arrive, but the moment that comes just a little after you set out. I mean the one when it hits you that it’s too late now to worry if you have all the right underwear and cables, there’s no point in once again checking your ticket and passport. That ship has, perhaps literally, sailed. Finally you sigh and stretch and let the vehicle carry you.

The worst part conversely is the one before departure, when searching through pockets to confirm the presence of items you know are there is still a live option. And that’s the stage I’ve reached. Essentially I’m writing this to keep my hands busy.

I would have been on a bus to Dublin now but for a last-minute change of plan. My flight leaves at the unthinkable hour of 7:40 a.m., meaning they expect me to check in at 5:40 – about the time I’m usually going to bed. If that sounds convenient to you, consider that I’m the sort of person who can’t sleep until they’re too tired to stay awake. This means that I have to do the hardest part – actually making sure I get on the plane – when I’m at my least conscious.

My idea was to go to Dublin this evening, stay awake till about 5, get up an hour before that and head to the airport. There was a flaw to this plan. At the bus station though I found that they run all night. New plan then: instead of trying and probably failing to sleep in Dublin – our much worse, falling to wake up – I would leave here at about 2 a.m. on a bus straight to the airport, arriving refreshed and in good time!

Only one possible drawback to this brilliant scheme – It leaves me with hours before my bus, and absolutely nothing left to do.

I wonder if I have an even number of socks.

Bus Vignette

The young guy on the bus with dirty clothes and an unmanaged beard keeps drinking from a water bottle and glancing at me with wild eyes. I’m worried he wants to tell me about the vaccine against religious fundamentalism or something of that class. But instead he’s taken out a magazine called “Love It“.

Subheading: Real Life & Celebs.

Shows you how you can be wrong about someone. I’d thought he was just a drug-addled paranoiac, but it turns out there’s no hope for him.

Bus Vignette

The young guy on the bus with dirty clothes and an unmanaged beard keeps drinking from a water bottle and glancing at me with wild eyes. I’m worried he wants to tell me about the vaccine against religious fundamentalism or something of that class. But instead he’s taken out a magazine called “Love It“.

Subheading: Real Life & Celebs.

Shows you how you can be wrong about someone. I’d thought he was just a drug-addled paranoiac, but it turns out there’s no hope for him.

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet…

The woman in my life is asleep beside me. She’s had a long day. First working all Saturday until late, then a bus journey of three hours. To see me. I feel privileged; spoiled even.

It’s been a very full day. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write much. Later I hope to fill you in on the further travails of the Very Sick Computer. Also, I have an announcement to make: I know which is the best phone.

Hint: It probably isn’t what you think is the best phone. But I hope to write a guide to help you choose the right one for your needs and desires.

Good night

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet…

The woman in my life is asleep beside me. She’s had a long day. First working all Saturday until late, then a bus journey of three hours. To see me. I feel privileged; spoiled even.

It’s been a very full day. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write much. Later I hope to fill you in on the further travails of the Very Sick Computer. Also, I have an announcement to make: I know which is the best phone.

Hint: It probably isn’t what you think is the best phone. But I hope to write a guide to help you choose the right one for your needs and desires.

Good night

Jesus Saves

Duh. Week in Dublin was great, but I was up early almost every day. Reloaded with sleep this morning, and followed that up with a nice lie-in. Which ended when I sprang upright, suddenly remembering I had a bus to catch. Got out of bed, dressed, made it to the stop in fifteen minutes flat.

When I remembered I’d forgotten my phone.

Just as well perhaps. Staying in town gave me a chance to help a friend with a computer problem. But oh… It made me wish I’d caught the bus. This was a sick kitty.

Never mind, I got a Christmas present! Secret Santa, from my secret internet community. (Yes, this is pretty representative of how together we are.) It’s… Jesus. A plastic Jesus, Jesus Cartoonabout a foot high, covered in the most tacky silver glitter. With a slot on its back. Yes it’s a Jesus money-box. Even as an atheist I find that disturbingly sacrilegious. It’ll have to be used to save for something very special… Any suggestions?

And the big news: My girlfriend’s sister just had a baby boy! That makes me a…  a…  Guy who’s girlfriend is an aunt. Dammit there should be a word for that.

Poles of Steel

Bus Cartoon

In Dublin again. Beginning to get to know the transport system, though that didn’t stop me being more than half an hour late for a meeting yesterday. I waited at the train station for ages, but they kept going past without stopping. Even when I held my hand out.

Another bit of the money we spent while we had it has reached fruition: A modern bus information system is just coming on stream, with handsome stainless steel signs displaying waiting times. (You can get the same information online too of course.) The first ones have appeared along the quays. Great – one of those rare things that remind you we do actually live in Europe. Considerably later than some other countries of course but hey – so are the buses.

I jest. Dublin buses are not at all bad. Or at least, they weren’t. As they do have to save money somewhere, they’re cutting back drastically on, well, actual buses… Ten percent across the board, including big reductions of the night bus system. So if you live in a Dublin suburb and want to go out on any night other than Friday and Saturday – which are frankly quite hellish enough in central Dublin already – then remember to factor in a very expensive taxi home.

But it makes sense I guess. As there’s a severe recession on, people will be abandoning the luxury of cheap public transport and taking to cars in droves. No wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Sketch From The Journey Homeward

The MidlandsTravelling through the darkness of the midlands. There could be anything outside those windows. Anything but people. Might as well be in a submarine.

It’s a bus though. I am in favour of trains but you don’t get the low fares at weekends, and since they built motorway all the way to Galway it’s as fast as the train and almost as comfortable. Certainly quieter – this Volvo purrs like a contented fridge. Aside from legroom, the main reason to prefer the train is that it has power outlets. I am actually fine for power – two spare batteries after this one – but in this portable age charging equals comfort, discharging discomfort. Courtesy power outlets should really be everywhere. First pub I went to in Dublin had locks on their sockets. And they charged €4.50 for a coffee, which begins to border on crime. Opposite that National Leprechaun Museum, they were clearly tourist trappers.

What the bus does supply for free on the other hand is Wi-Fi, so I might as well use that instead of my own 3G. Good opportunity to download the new OpenOffice suite… And yet, I still resent the log-in procedure. They want to know my name, my e-mail address, and my impressions of the the service – before I can use it! I was bluntly honest about the last there, but apparently my address is now whynot@lsoaskmydicksi.ze.

Seems to work as well as any other.

It’s a shame because it makes what is a genuinely useful service suddenly feel like a trap. Will they give my details to marketeers? Perhaps it’s all in the terms and conditions, but dammit I’m on a bus, I don’t want to have to read a long document and consult a lawyer. Couldn’t the free Wi-Fi just be, you know, free? It’s not like non-customers are going to be stealing it after all. Not unless they run alongside.