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05 May 2005

where the water rebeled, regretably

this day would not be wasted. not that others were wasted but we had plans. a full set of. we woke up early to get to the bus station by 9:30am. we'd be taking a full day trip out to inishmore, one of the irish aran islands. first a bus to rossaveal and then a ferry to the island. all went well and we made it on the top deck of the doubledecker bus. in the back, mirko and massimo met three other italians: alex, gavina, and marta. humid and the windows were blurred. i didn't quite understand all of the italian, but there was translation when required.

we boarded the fairly with about a hundred others. chilly on top with a probably warm deck below. chilly with scenery for me. all aboard, the crew pulled the gangplank inside and just then a man with a small little girl ran up. the boat hadn't moved. the plank had _just_ been pulled in. and still the crew wouldn't allow them on board. the girl in tears, the man obviously distraught. and then his wife with another little girl. he had come from france he said. the girls in tears. and still the crew wouldn't extend the plank to allow them on board. very sad and a flash of a thought about organizing a ship wide boycott of this boat for the atrocities. it just didn't make sense. and then the boat pulled away. an irish man sitting to the left of massimo began speaking quickly and max directed him to me... he said he'd seen this happen before and that he planned not to take this ferry any longer. another company, run by those who lived on the island, was nearby and he would take that boat from now on. he was as upset as me about what we'd just seen.

we arrived on the island, the new group of six. some discussion and we decided to rent bikes.

miles. kilometers. stretches of stone walls. stretching stretches of stone. seemingly senseless. a division of inherited land, so i was told, but nothing within the walls. here a horse. there a cow. yet most empty plots, enclosed by four foot high stone walls. deliberately placed with no mortar. placed. leaning and balanced. giant fields of nothing but walls. i wanted to reverse time and watch one of the stones being placed. each rock cut or found and carried to that place and laid down. deliberately. i was in awe of these walls. we stopped at the ruins of an old structure to eat the food we'd purchased earlier. alex filled me in about some traps in czech... be careful here and there.

we biked on, sometimes pushing up the hills, sometimes rolling quickly down them, with me stopping constantly to take pictures of tiny wall flowers growing between the stones. already 2pm and we needed to be back at 5pm, still not even to the main stone fortress called dun aonghus. we'd bypass the worm hole, regretably, and to make time we'd stick to the main road and bike quickly to the fortress. parked our bikes and hiked up the hill which reminded me a bit of the hike up arthur's seat in edinburgh. and there the cliffs. without any type of barricade or fence or protection, and that was good i thought. more natural. the cliffs almost as powerful as the stretches of walls, but for me, not quite. the fortress was built of similar stones. a prehistoric fort in a circle. the same stones deliberately placed.

and then with time clicking we were gone, on back to the ferry dock. i peddled fast in the front and stopped and found some seals. seals don't like to be photographed. forward and the ruins of a church on the left. forward back to the ferry with a full hour to spare. an hour i thought which could have been used to explore the so called worm hole where the water rebeled against what is normal. still, a tiring and full day and the walls.

on the ferry ride home i spoke with marta who told me i spoke very good english. i'd hope, i thought, but she meant that i spoke slower without an accent and was easy to understand. i told her i was just slow. then i told her i had problems understanding the scottish accent and she was surprised. she would be in galway for another ten days, there researching papers unavailable in italy. almost everyone else on the ferry was asleep upon arrival at the dock. watch your heads, the staff told us as we exited. hand gestures like some sort of dying bird or get down dance to warn us from crashing our heads into the metal.

wait and wait for the bus. i asked the woman and she said two minutes, but twenty passed. raining a bit and we were inside. tired. finally, and a swarm, and mirko somehow bypassed the line and saved us seats in the back of the top deck. well done.

in galway, some words were exchanged in italian which i took to mean we'd meet up later. we split and alex, mirko, max, and i walked back to the hostel to rest briefly before going out. we left the hostel and wandered the streets and i found a record store which sold the new nine inch nails album. purchase. and in walked marta. i asked her how she'd found us and she told me of the plan to meet up at 10pm at mcdonald's. it was 10:15pm. my counterparts had apparently forgotten about the rendez-vous.

the pub with an irish band playing cover songs. u2 and similar. a mistaken italian word. goodbyes and then back to the hostel.

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

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