January 1st-2nd, 2011
So honesty thing. I hitchhiked a lot in Ireland.
Tulsk or Bust Day 1.
My original plan was to hop a bus out to Roscommon a normal sized town out round Tulsk, where Damien Kemp, Alden, and Maia were. Alden and Maia are good friends of Damien’s, and had agreed to put me up for a few days (which was super nice of them considering they don’t know me, and they were putting Damien up for a while as well.)
After bussing to Roscommon I would hitchhike out to Tulsk.
Now if I had hopped on Bus Eirren #22 like I had written down in my planner I would have been to Tulsk in a matter of hours. Because it goes directly there.
But I did something stupid.
I asked the bus driver if the bus was going where I was going.
Bit of advice if you are ever traveling in Ireland.
The Bus system’s employees don’t know shit about the bus system.
This theme will reoccur.
So after about an hour or two a kindly bus driver put me on a bus to Dublin’s bus station, where I promptly bought a ticket for Roscommon.
Second word of a advice for buying tickets from machines in Ireland.
You can buy a ticket for a day and destination that do not exist. (Such as a Bus for Roscommon on the day you are traveling, when no such bus is leaving before the next day.)
I bought my ticket, and since Roscommon is a stop and not a destination, and destinations are what the reader boards show, I asked a kindly bus employee what time and where the bus was leaving. He told me at 8:00, it was 6:00ish. So I left for a pint from a pub, and a kebab from my good friend king donner. (Donner Kebab is expensive in Ireland, this makes me sad.)
I returned at 8:00pm, and asked where the bus was, and the kindly information gentlemen, a new one, told me it was the very last bus leaving the station at 9:55, and that I had to transfer buses at one point.
So I wait and get on the last bus of the night.
This tree and thing was in Dublin, I had some time before the bus.
The last bus.
At the first stop I ask the driver if this is where I get off to transfer buses.
He looks at me as if I’m crazy, or stupid, and tells me flatly that I am going in quite the wrong direction, on quite the wrong bus.
Give me a sign.
So I get off the last bus of the night into a 3 pub town.
That’s small for those of you who aren’t familiar with Ireland.
The gas station is up the block and go up there and buy a map of Ireland.
An almanac really.
Best purchase all trip.
The gas station closes as I walk out.
I figure out the way I need to go, and start walking.
Walking and thumbing.
Damien had recommended cardboard and marker for hitchhiking, but I hadn’t any cardboard nor could I find any.
I actually had a brown paper bag, and tried writing Roscommon 4 times on it.
‘Fuck it’ I thought, ‘I’ll walk.’
Roscommon is a long word.
So I walked and thumbed for an hour or two, and came across a small road side market.
I tried to get into their recycling bins, but they were well locked.
However, their trashcans were not.
I found a burger king bag, tore it open and wrote out Roscommon on it.
I kept walking.
15-20 minutes later a car stopped, and took me in.
A 35 year old man who worked as a computer engineer.
He told me I was actually better off going to a little town filled with B&Bs (hostals of Ireland) and hoping bus 22 in the morning and going to tulsk straight.
He took me to the town, showed me stuff on my map, and wished me luck.
The town of Austin.
So. This town. I don’t know its name, but St. Augustine, and Austin are everywhere.
Including this kid.
I arrive and first thing I do is withdraw money for a B&B and go about knocking on the doors, ringing the bells, and trying to conjure the owners to the door.
They would not be evoked.
It is 1:00ish in the morning.
Desperate for sleep I turn to the hotels.
They are all closed.
All of them.
Closed for the night.
For the night?
Words fail to express exactly how upset I was at this notion and situation.
So I went to a pub.
Except the pubs were closed.
So I went to were the youth were, a take-out restaurant called ‘Abrakebabra,’ which is supposed to be a Mexican food restaurant.
It’s not very, as in not very Mexican at all.
But they had coffee.
Sweet sweet coffee.
I had an Americano and sat down at the only open table, and stared off into space and wrote down the occasional thought that interrupted my relaxing stupification.
I might add that at this point I was 40 hours without sleep.
I noticed another table, further from the door had opened up, and was sure to be lest drafty.
I went for it.
As I went for it, I hear the girl sitting at the table next to me explain to her friends that ‘that creep was writing down our conversation.’
What I should have said?
‘I’m sorry but I wasn’t listening to your inane conversation, and even if I was I’m certain that the subject matter of your drunken conversation would hold even less interest in me than ceiling tile patterns.’
What did I say?
‘Uh, excuse me, but I couldn’t help but hear that you think I was writing down your conversation, honestly that’s the only bit I even heard.’
The female, with a fake apology dismissed me, but her… boyfriend, I assume, was in a hostile mood.
I would be too if I were as ugly as the poor boy.
With what I assume was meant to be a sneer, the heavy braces got in the way making it a half-way smile, he told me flatly “Why don’t you just fuck off.”
Perplexed by the hostility I simply stood there confused.
“Just fuck off”
“Whatever” I said, and left.
The female said something like “ignore him, he’s…” but I had already returned to not listening to them.
At the other table I was simply writing down some more thoughts, specifically on art and love, when I was interrupted by another person. She was reading over my shoulder, and then sat down beside me.
I passed the note-book to her for easier reading.
She then grabbed my pen, and crossed off ‘Does it always boil down to love/acceptance/understanding?’
And she told me that it doesn’t always boil down to love, it could for example boil down to just being sick.
Not like crazy or wrong in the head.
She was quite drunk.
I had a nice conversation with her… well a nice chat really.
She was far too drunk to have a real conversation with, and her friend was quite embarrassed.
I had explained to her that I was a director, which I usually do after someone asks if I am a writer. Specifically a director of theatre and not cinema.
She explained that to everyone in Ireland it’s the same thing, and no one cares about the difference, a director writes and makes movies.
She then told me I had to do a big movie with her in it. Her name, not her as an actor.
Like the movie, she said.
(At the time I had no idea what movie she was talking about.)
Night time Photographer.
Abrakebabra closed around 2:00-2:30 AM and my bus didn’t leave until 10:00 Am.
The town was dead.
I spent 8 or so hours wondering around snapping pictures of the town.
I eagerly awaited the cafes to open, but I had not looked at a calendar, nor did I have my mobile. When they did not open on time, I realized that it was a Sunday.
Nothing opens before 10:00 on a Sunday in this town.
So here are my photos of this magical town whose name I forgot before I even left.
This was a hostal, or rather a B&B.
They didn't let me in.
That's just not right.
Dresses always remind me of... weddings. (Just sayin'.)
This cat was awesome, it stole chicken from drunk people!
This was a thing. It had hands. That was weird.
This is a building that I thought was cool. (Sleep deprived and cold, shut up! It is totally cool!)
The Irish like bricks. Bricks make good houses, and decent improvised weapons.
This was... a thing. I think.
It's a house!
Oooooooh Stone house! Best not throw any glass.
This statue-thing was a representation of the near by river named: The Silver Brosna
A bridge over an artificial little river thing connected to the Brosna. I liked the tree.
This? Not a terrible spider robot to eat your face. This? This is the world's biggest Bop-it.
Dead serious this is a Bop-it toy that is the size of a jungle-gym. The thing was easily 7-8 feet tall, how the kids were supposed to play with it I have no idea! The Thing at the top kept score. (I think, the machine was off when I got to it.)
Crazy Irish Bop-it toy!
Crank dat Bop-it! (Much better than cranking the soul-ja boy. Just saying.)
The Bop-it Monitor knows all! Obey its commands without question, OBEY! (I think it just told you to respond to a wedding proposal, weird, huh?)
Pump-it, so this is what the Black-Eyed peas meant. Awesome.
There's the catch! Such great treasure as the world's largest Bop-it would not be without its own dragon. And by dragon I, of course, mean Gazebo. A dragon I could deal with. This? Too dangerous, gatta keep moving!
These lights would turn on for like half a minute once every 30-45 minutes. They were hard to capture. Fortunately for me, I had all friggin' night.
False Advertising! None of you would rent me a bed for the night! None of you!
Morning again, sweet looking church thing.
Tulsk or Bust, Day 2.
January 2nd, 2011
It’s always been hard for me to differentiate between days, particularly when I don’t sleep between them.
I get on the bus.
It’s going where I need to go, I know because of my almanac.
I only have a 50 spot, and the driver tells me he’ll make change when we get to Tulsk.
‘Great’ I think, I hop on, sit down, and pop in the music.
I need to relax, I’m wiped out.
We arrive in a small little town, whose name I don’t see, for Ireland isn’t fond of labels.
The bus driver starts making change and I realize that this must be it.
I take my change from him, and get off the bus.
I spend 2-3 hours wondering around apartment complexes that match the description Damien gave me looking for a building number 53.
Only 1 of the complexes has 53 buildings and it starts counting over again after 38.
I go to the most accurate description, and figure that I must have miswritten the number, and knock on door 23, 22, 21, 20, 18, and none of them know who the hell I’m looking for.
I play with a dog for a half an hour half-hoping I won’t have to knock on any more doors.
Then I go to the gas station in town.
I ask the guy behind the counter “Is this Tulsk?”
“Naw, just go down the road for 15 minutes and take a left at the roundabout. That should put me in Tulsk.
I start walking.
10 minutes in, I realize he thinks I have a car.
Luckily in Austin-town I had picked up some cardboard.
I whipped that and my marker out, and wrote ‘Tulsk’ on it and kept walking.
Not 10 minutes in a car stopped.
“Not many people going out to Tulsk” says a friendly man in an army uniform.
He takes me not only to Tulsk, but to the apartment complex, which he recognizes by name. He isn’t sure which building I’m looking for (I had not wanted to reveal too much information) but dropped me off in the right area.
And with a knock on the door and a warm greeting I entered into Aden and Maia’s house, a day late.
At the end of that day it had been well over 52 hours without sleep, and I had earned a nice long nap.
(After writing this beast I realized I could google the Statue that I shot an image of, it looks like I was staying in Westmeath County, in town called Mullingar. Fuck that town and its B&Bs.)