Sunday, January 4, 2009

Travel Days

I woke up early Saturday morning, got in the car with my mom and sister, and drove to New Orleans for the first leg of my trip. The New Orleans airport was quiet, and the flight left without delay. Unfortunately, we met some turbulence shortly after reaching cruising altitude (captain over intercom: "Breathe deep, folks. Breathe deep.") I'd been on too many flights to be afraid for the plane, but I was a bit concerned I might lose my breakfast in all the bumping and sharp, brief falls that the plane went through. Fortunately, though, the plane eventually resumed a straight path to Chicago, and we all arrived intact.

The Chicago airport is, in a word, complicated. I had to ask for help just to find the right terminal - and once I got there, I had to go through security again. I'd already bought my lunch in a different terminal, so they threw out my water bottle, even though it was unopened. Not long after sitting down at the correct gate - I say not long, it was probably around two and a half hours later - a girl named Kristina sat down near me, and we struck up a conversation. She was also headed to UCC (University College Cork, for the uninformed) and we hit it off right away. We talked until we boarded the plane, but were unable to sit together. This turned out to be just fine, though; I ended up sitting next to a girl named Ashley for the seven-and-a-half-hour flight. A year older than me, she was also studying abroad, but at Dublin Business College. We chatted and ate dinner and tried to sleep. This last endeavor was largely unsuccessful for all three of us, and so it was sleepily that we landed in Dublin this morning. Customs was a breeze, and Kristina, Ashley, and I hunted down our luggage in the crowded terminal. Afterwards, Ashley went with a couple of other DBC students, and Kristina and I were left to our own devices to figure out how on earth we'd get to Cork.

Dublin was clearly designed by a mad cartographer. It's a bit as if someone rolled up New York City with New Orleans, made sure no street followed a straight line, and then proceeded to name every section of street differently without actually labeling them. Moreover, the bus map we had on hand seemed to indicate bus stops as more of a suggestion than a fact. We finally asked a kind Dublin Bus driver how we could find our particular bus, and he was right on the money. It was cold and drizzling, and we had four pieces of luggage plus our backpacks to drag around, so you can imagine the relief when we finally climbed on our bus to Cork.

The view from the bus windows was lovely. It looked just like every picture of Ireland you've ever seen. Green and lush, by turns flat farmland and mountainous, it was beautiful. After a few stops and four hours, the bus finally dropped us off at Cork. Kristina needed to find a pay phone to contact her host family, and I needed a taxi cab to bring me to Farranlea Hall. After two pay phones and some walking, we finally both got what we needed and parted ways.

I checked in at my dormitory. My room is on the first floor and is easy to access. It's spacious, with a twin bed, desk, lamp, small closet, and extra shelving space. My bathroom is enormous as well. Everything seems to be in good condition; I just wish the heater worked more quickly. I've been here almost an hour, and it's still freezing cold in my room.

I should go find something to eat. Write later!

1 comment:

  1. What an answer to prayer finding a travel friend! Erin told me it was so cold, she went out and bought an extra blanket. But selection was limited so she is sleeping with Hannah Montana (so to speak).