Saturday was sweet. Sunday was sour. Luckily the mixture of the two evens things out and makes my memories more pleasant. Another way to look at the past two days: Saturday was my apple. Sunday my onion (an onion is something that tastes good, but makes you cry during your preparation for eating it).
Saturday I took public transit to a yoga class outside of Cork City. I had a general idea of where to go and asked people along the way. The scary woman in the Chemists Shop (Pharmacy) was no help by the way, and she had a face full of make up that would have scared the hind leg off a donkey. The yoga class was rubbish (freezing temperatures, lame sequencing, nice woman), but I don’t regret it. I like learning from all people about yoga. She got me thinking about her cues and I analyzed why she said what she did. This is a process I’d like to continue for my own cues.
I spent the rest of the day exploring Cork city by foot. Cork is a funny mix. It’s quite industrial and then there’s been new development so there are all kinds of fancy stores alongside cheap ones. It is also home to the tallest storeyed building in Ireland, at 233 feet. That’s 5 times smaller than the Empire State Building, if that gives you some reference.
That evening Gerard (pronounced Jared, I think, in a garbled way) or Ger as I like to call him and I went to visit his friend Maureen Ryan. I like Maureen. She is the mother of 3 huge sons, all hurling players. Recently, all within the same week, each son had a major accident while playing. She was picking my brain about what kind of yoga would be good for them and may have me over for to teach them while I’m in Cork.
Like many Irish people she is an excellent hostess. She made tea (one is almost always offered tea when coming into a home) and gave us some of her famous sweet bread with raisins in it. Maureen spent her teenage and college years living in Chicago (where she still has a loads of family) so her accent is an interesting mix of Irish lilt and Chicagoan light nasal.
Afterwards we headed off for set dancing in Ballinhessig, 18 km outside of Cork. I love set dancing. It seems similar to Contra Dancing in some ways. There are 3-6 songs per set of dances and each one has a name, mostly after the area that it’s from; the Ballyvourney Jig, the Connemara Set, etc… There are only so many moves, but lots of intricate patterns and I’m not sure how everyone keeps them straight. It is mostly older people, 50 and above, with a dash of young folk. But what’s so cool about this art form is that everyone is having a great time, in community, helping each other, and teasing one another for good measure too. I’ve never seen so many lively adults. The Irish sure do know how to have fun!
I’ll keep it short on the sour now. Sunday I went to Kinsale. I fell down and embarrassed myself, took the crappiest boat tour I’ve ever been on, walked to a quiet beach only to find it overrun with screaming children, and then back to Cork only to find that a cool contact in Kinsale had indeed wanted to meet up with me, but I didn’t have my computer on the trip and didn’t get his message. Ah well. I spent the late evening watching Sex & the City reruns. Travel Rule #94, watching Sex & the City reruns will cure any ail.
I have a question for all you folks out there that might be reading my blog: Have you ever been to Ireland? Would you ever want to go? And what draws you here?
Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!