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28 April 2005

almost exploding with want

[aside] it happened... something great, lost... and then recreated, never the same, but i'll try.

we woke up early, but not early enough. gray mist fog. dampness and maybe not the best of days for a scenic drive. an all day pass would be the least expensive option to travel the northern coast, so she told me yesterday...

but today... on this april day... on this day we discovered that the bus from the belfast europa bus station only ran during the summer months and we would need to take the bus from larne, an hour by road longer by rail away, so he told us today. hanmin was right and i doubted him yesterday. the 252 bus which drove up the northern ireland coastal road departed from larne at 10:15 and we would have had to take the 8:15 train to make it in time.

'is there _any_ way to make it up to larne in time?' desperate and guilty for having given hanmin incorrect information which may have cost us this day. and every day is precious on these trips... none should be lost. none _should_. try.

'they are doing some work on the rails right now and so the train company is running buses up to larne in the interim.' ah! a chance.

run to the other end of the terminal where the trains depart.

'last call for [somewhere], [somewhere], larne [LARNE], [somewhere]'

larne! that's us. blast!... a line. er, a queue.

'hello, look at us, we're going to larne.' yes, we're going to larne... while you wait for another destination, those of us who are larne-bound shall defeat your queue. and a gesture around... those queued were defeated. six pound fifty... run... sign to point the direction... to larne... we're the last to step aboard. running and out of breath.

hello business man type. 'is this train going to larne?'

'no.' AH!

'you'll have to get off at central and switch trains.'

'central?'

'three stops.'

three stops to central and we follow the herd out of the bus station and then down in falls comes the rain [a la bruce dickinson in rime of the ancient mariner]. it wasn't that bad, really, but it was drizzling damp the kind that seeps through your clothes. the herd dispersed and hanmin and i were left alone at a random bus stop. something wasn't right.

'sir, does this bus go to larne?'

[three very very nice older irish gentlemen discuss amongst themselves... larne you say? hmm. the nicest ever and almost exploding with want to help us, but they didn't know. we'd walk back inside the bus station and ask. thank you, have a nice day sir.]

'we're trying to get to larne.' [and we're in a gigantic hurry help us help us now and quickly]

'down those stairs... see that... that's your bus.' it was. OUR bus. the bus to larne.

mist and rain. blurry. blurred. sit and wait five and then the bus leaves. the windows useless... wipe... nothing. gps track track track trying.

first stop. [question mark]... do we transfer?

'does this bus go the entire way to larne?'

'no, you need to transfer in whitehead.'

whitehead... outside at a small bus stop stand with wind screaming. screaming and sending the rain sideways and threatening to push over the stand. actual screaming and rain and where the hell is the bus. and it was _that_ bad. hanmin with hood drawn tightly and swaying. i'd only known him a few hours and i grabbed his camera from him without asking and snapped a picture which i wish i had right now. and the time passes... thinking thinking the 252 leaves larne at 10:15...

bus comes... no more stops... straight to larne. windows still covered and tracking tracking. and it's 10:00 and traffic and clouds and blur. and still wind screaming and 10:05. and 10:10 and then 10:15 and then 10:18 and as we pull into the larne bus station we see it... we see IT... through all of the dampness and through the watery windows... the 252... OUR bus... pulling away.

defeated by three minutes. THREE MINUTES of something... anything little. we, who had come this far. WE! and i make excuses like the weather and other things and plan for another day as our bus rolls heavily lumbering through the bus station mazes. and all that rushing feeling gone... all that transferring and here and there for nothing now. but our bus wasn't stopping at the larne bus station... but the train station... and we get off and see:

the 252 bus. rolling in behind the bus we just got off. it. there. right there. right THERE[period]. that instant... right as we get off... the bus we were seeking... THE bus... IT... THERE... FOR US. board. pay. sit... and an hour later like a dream the clouds cleared and the fog unblurred and the sun shined and for the first time that day we could see the ocean to our right. and cliffs and green green fields and sheep and fences. and the ocean.

giant's causeway. wind still overpowering... not screaming but fun. giant columns of rock and a walk along the cliffs. unstable ledges of falling rocks closed and a magic marker used on the wood. some expensive, expected, food. and before the bus came back the best part... another walk and some walking on the rocks and a cave found by hanmin... a great find. seemingly tiny but not once inside. out of a book where those would hide treasure... you could imagine the map almost. fulfilled and tired; fatigue a very important part of the fulfillment, a slow stroll to the bus stop and with the sun shining. i mean the look up and the bright sun squint sun. the RAIN. cold but not the type of cold that's bad... a refreshing cold like spring water on a hot day... not even time for the umbrella to be effective especially with the wind. there -> a rainbow. ha. and so many more on the way home. a RAINBOW. in ireland. one of the many more a complete arc. COMPLETE.

posted by paul on Thu 28 Apr 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

comments

you write a lot like your (half) namesake Paul Theroux--save this all up for a book when you return. Maybe in that manner you will reap a financial as well as spiritual profit! Lynne

posted by lynne leib on Sun 08 May 2005 at 22:20:43 est (-05:00)

my mom is right. when did you start writing like this. it looks good on you.

posted by sarah on Mon 09 May 2005 at 05:02:28 est (-05:00)

The Irish people are great,but not at giving
directions.

posted by bob on Thu 26 May 2005 at 09:53:55 est (-05:00)

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