Notes from a Cloudy Afternoon in Dublin

Relief!
All of my fears of being placed in a freshman apartment have been allayed. Thankfully, I have been placed in the Post Grad (graduate student) House. Starting this last Friday night at 7:30pm, the Post Grad House folk, about 80 of us, have been organized by our “Assistant Warden” (RA) and I have met a lot of really nice and very intelligent post grad students from all over the world, including two others in the Multimedia Systems course. Basically, we have spent a lot of time at pubs and in each other’s living rooms.


Address Obsession
One can’t get anything done in Ireland without steel coated, water-tight proof of one’s in Ireland residence. I can understand immigration wanting a letter from the College proving my student-ness, but why does Vodafone and >O2 need 3 plus types of ID plus 3 months of utility/bank statements before I can open up a contract account. ARGH!
I got the pay as you go SIM chip from Vodafone, and I am *supposedly* able to set up the 3G/GPRS service to moblog, email, and go on the internet from my phone, but it has been a no go even though I have checked and rechecked my settings. I am sorry that I even had any complaints about AT&T or Cingular…. Vodafone, just take my credit card and make me sign a 12 month water-tight contract.
The Weather
Folks back home in Calif have been asking about the weather. Well, the old tired joke in Boston about the weather was if you didn’t like it, just wait 10 minutes. Most of the time in Boston, the weather would hold for a couple of days or at least a day or two. Here, it really does change every ten minutes.
Last Friday, I walked out of the apartment house to find that the temperature was about 73 degrees and my jacket was unnecessary. I walked all of 5 minutes before rain started and then within an hour the temps had dropped into the 50s. Later that evening it was back up into the upper 60s. I won’t even related the coming and goings of the cloud cover and sun.
I love it though.
Good Looking Men
As usual, my penchant for hot Irish & British men is on track, but the only ones I have met are 23 and under. I am not a coyote. Where are all of the 30-something men?
Restaurants
Dublin is known for good food but bad service, here is my take on the best of the lot in the last few days:
La CaveErika and I discovered this delightful basement French wine bar last November and I went here for dinner last Wed on my first night in town as a treat to myself. They have very good wine by the glass and the food is fresh and tasty. On Wed, I had a zucchini soup and a smoked salmon salad with two types of wine. Service good. And the atmosphere is very down home and velvety. A young Scottish couple sat next to me and we had an hour plus conversation about world affairs and what it was like to live in Dublin as a foreigner. Kerstin and Brendan were very helpful and funny.
Nude – I went to a late lunch at this nice clean, shiny, well lit modern café near Trinity on Saturday with a bunch of the Post Grad House folk. The service was prompt, the food healthy and delicious. I had a lovely chicken rice noodle thai salad for cheap!
Salamanca – A very good Tapas bar with excellent food but high prices for the dishes and overly priced bargain basement wines (hello! they were charging twice as much for a glass of one wine than Trader Joe’s sells a whole bottle for! hello!). The service was really slow, stalactites form faster than the servers move at Salamanca.
Café Bar Deli at the Bewley Building – Cool Victorian interior, funky furnishings, and very good fresh modern European café style food. I had an excellent Niciose Salad and a nice glass of wine. Service was only moderately slow, but bewildering as I had a new server every time one would come to the table. I wasn’t sure who to tip. The best yet is that they will make all of their pasta offerings with wheat-free/gluten-free pasta. I will be back.

3 thoughts on “Notes from a Cloudy Afternoon in Dublin

  1. La Cave is indeed wonderful. Their tutored wine tastings are worth doing as well – €25 gets you all the phenomenal wine you can drink (of course, you are meant to be daintily spitting it into a bucket, not guzzling it like a cheap hobo, but at one tasting, I made my way through about half a bottle of a €100 vintage) and a very respectable cheese/meat/pate/bread plate. The ladies who run it are quite wonderful.
    Let me suggest Diep Le Shaker off of Lower Pembroke Street in Dublin 2 for some fantastic Thai fusion. Or, closer to you in Rathmines, is their sister Vietnamese-fusion restaraunt, Diep le Noodle, which is in Ranelagh (turn right at the Swan Center, walk past Belgrave Square to Ranelagh Road, take a left and it’s right before the Ranelagh Luas stop). Both are personal favorites – I’m a big fan of the thod man pla and the massaman curry.
    Also, Cafe Chow on Baggot Street bridge is highly recommended.
    “One can’t get anything done in Ireland without steel coated, water-tight proof of one’s in Ireland residence. I can understand immigration wanting a letter from the College proving my student-ness, but why does Vodafone and >O2 need 3 plus types of ID plus 3 months of utility/bank statements before I can open up a contract account. ARGH!”
    This is because, after decades of extreme poverty and paying from paycheck to paycheck, Irish people took advantage of billing services and banks and checks and credit cards during the boom to such an extent that no company in Ireland trusts the average Irish citizen anymore. I share your frustration – it will take you a couple of years to get good at getting what you want from Irish customer service (hint: demands and anger never work. Approaching every person with flattery, as if they are doing you a personal favor, is a much better bet).
    “Folks back home in Calif have been asking about the weather. Well, the old tired joke in Boston about the weather was if you didn’t like it, just wait 10 minutes. Most of the time in Boston, the weather would hold for a couple of days or at least a day or two. Here, it really does change every ten minutes.”
    You will frequently see it raining on one side of the street but not the other in Ireland. Did you live in Boston? I’m a native Bostonian myself and I wouldn’t even put Ireland’s unpredictable weather in the same breath with Boston’s generally dependable overcast or sunshine.
    PS: Does your comment suggestion not take line breaks or something?

  2. Hi John,
    I have the comments section set to not take any html as to thwort spammers, but now that I make everyone use TypeKey, I suppose I can turn it on.
    I have Diep Le Noodle already down as my next stop for new restaurant that I want to check out.
    Oh, spit buckets are for the pros. As an Amatuer, unless the wine stinks, I swallow. I will have to go to a tasting.
    Sorry, that I haven’t emailed back, but right now until I get my connection sorted out it is easier for me to reply to my comment section.
    You are in Rathmines? Where? Which pub do you recommend? So far my apartmentmates have been visiting Murphy’s.
    I thought Boston’s weather was a bit more unpredictable than California’s, but not by much. Though the natives always told me that it was unpredictable. I lived in the North End for 3.5 years whilst attending and working at Boston U.

  3. Oh, no worries at all about not emailing me back. The worst case scenario, I thought, was that you had wised up to what a leering perv I undoubtedly am. I figured this was inevitable, since all it would take would be five minutes worth of reading my blog. But even if you were macing me in effigy, I thought I’d check up on you and see how you were doing. We’re practically neighbors and I too have made the transition from Bostonian to Dubliner, so I wanted to make sure you weren’t too overwhelmed and were managing to get your bearings.
    Where am I? Okay, you obviously know Murphy’s. Two minutes down Rathmines Road, between Murphy’s and Tesco, there’s a street going to the right that leads to a large episcopalian steeple. I’m right there, basically – Cambridge Rd. In other words, I’m crazy close. We really ought to grab coffee sometime and introduce ourselves to one another – the neighborhood’s small enough that we’ll probably end up running into one another eventually anyway.
    I don’t usually drink in Rathmines, preferring to pub either in town, on various places on the canal or at McSorley’s in Ranelagh. But when I do, it’s either at Slattery’s (only in the afternoon, before it’s thin alotment of salt-of-the-earth charm devolves into sleazy, grease-banged knackerdom) or Mother Reilly’s (which has a very cosy backroom in which I like to write or take dates). In town, I love The Stag’s Head and the Library Bar in the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street. The latter is a wonderful place to sit in ponderous leather lounge chairs surrounded by sensecent tomes and wile away a dreary afternoon reading.
    Oh, and concerning restaraunts – christ, how could I forget El Buchetto? It’s a charming little purple Italian bistro on Ranelagh Road with one of the most wonderful menus and atmospheres in the area. It’s absolutely perfect, you’ll love it. Go some Thursday night for wine, paninis, olives succulent like pears and skull-sized bowls of thick minestrone.

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