This is what I do

This is the setup I came up with, after two hours:

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And this is me with it:

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Yes, it looks easy. And it should have been easy, if I didn’t have to dig around and figure out how to get around the large supporting platform, which was blocking the top parts from contacting. In the end, I managed to get some parts together to make stairs away from the platform. These are the parts I had to start out with, and make sense of:

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Asia market and St Stephen’s Green

I headed to Asia Market on Drury Street today to get our Asian goods. Bought bok choy, rice cakes, instant noodles, beef balls, oyster sauce, and spring onions for a song.

 

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On our way there, the streets were lined with people headed for the Dublin v. Leinster game at Croke Park. Packed!! Irish rugby is BIG.

Croke Park, by the way, is the big stadium near my university. Last week, Take That played a gig there. I guess Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams aren’t feuding anymore?

And then we wandered around after Asia Market.

 

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So cool! You can drink on top of beer kegs!

People walk around drinking beer in the streets and it’s completely cool here. From what I understand, it’s illegal to walk around with alcohol, but I haven’t seen anyone get arrested. Yet.

I kept walking and ended up in kind of posh area. There were shops like Maison Martin Margiela, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Chanel. Chanel had a gorgeous window display of a mannequin, very beautifully dressed. I heard someone say, “I think they’ll charge me a thousand euros just for looking in their general direction.”

 

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There were also Mole Detection clinics. I didn’t think skin cancer could be high in Ireland, it’s not very sunny here? But sure, a big Caucasian clientele. While passing by a huge department store, there was this Estee Lauder ad that I’ve seen before … but the ad had been cropped to show only the girl in the middle. Not too many nonwhites in Ireland. I’m usually the only Asian wherever I go.

 

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Then, St Stephen’s Green! Finally! And completely on accident. Came across a large swan, grooming itself by the pond.

 

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A homeless guy wrote some cool stuff on the pavement. I put money in his cup, because.

 

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A busker who had a piano! On wheels!

I came across a cool postcard that said: “It’s official … Jesus was Irish. He had 12 drinking friends. He trained as a carpenter. He was unemployed. He lived with his mother until he was 33. He thought his mother was  a virgin. His mother thought he was God.”

international market and dublin pride

I have bought my tickets to Berlin, Prague, and Amsterdam, and am also going solo. I am not going to Paris; I will be saving the money for more adventures on a scooter. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard to decide which one to go for.

Anyway. Went to the General Post Office to get stamps. It’s a cool building, and the bullet holes and rusty bullets from the Irish uprising can still be seen at the front of the building.

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Then off to the international outdoor market (open every day but Sunday) for groceries. Cheapest produce in Dublin! That, and the underground Polish and Indian market. No, really … it’s literally underground.

Got this from a Polish bakery, for 1.70e. The white filling was some kind of dense, AMAZING cream. I wolfed it down soooo fast.

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And this badass guy was singing Sinatra etc in the Jervis shopping area, on Mary Street.

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Lots of ladies selling fruit and vegetables from antique prams.

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You can git your nails did, American style. Whatever that means.

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I was walking around the Dublin city centre and found myself in the middle of the annual pride parade!! Bought a flag for 3 euros and spent the next hour and a half cheering like crazy. J bought a whistle and was whistling like crazy, but stopped after a while because she started feeling light-headed from all that puffing!

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Then we went back home and moved to our new apartment. The showers and rooms are smaller, if that was even possible!

Club-hopping

So we girls went bar-hopping, or pub-hopping, or club-hopping … whatever it’s called. We went to the Temple Bar district, which is the touristy and expensive district, but you’ve got to start somewhere I guess.

Yes, I can confirm that the Dublin dancefloors are all brightly lit and you can see everything.

The coolest experience was this instrumental band of an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, some kind of drum panel, and an upright bass, playing for change on the street. And people would go up in front of them and start dancing in the street! It was so much fun. And the band was really amazing too, I wish I got their card so that I could look them up. I’ll google for Temple Bar over the next few days and check out what’s been recently uploaded, hopefully they will show up. Lots of people were taking pictures and recording video.

I didn’t bring my camera! None of us did!! From now on, my camera goes everywhere with me!

However. They’re a LOT less pretentious than Los Angeles. No cover fees, just go in and they don’t care if you’re not dressed to the nines. Security and bartenders didn’t even give me a second look; I guess I clearly look over 18.

A French guy who had been staring at me at one of the bars finally beckoned me over, and told me in his French accent, “You have a beautiful face. I want to draw you. I will memorize your face so I can draw you~~~” ooh la la.

Nightclub

The four of us went to the student bar to play beer pong (well… J and I said we’d only watch), and ended up talking to these two Irish guys. And we ended up going to a nightclub in the city centre until 3:30 am, when it was already getting bright outside.

It was an interesting experience but that is quite possibly the worst nightclub I’ve ever been to. It’s called Copperfield Jack’s (aka Copper’s), andis open the latest because it’s supposedly owned by the Garda. Drinking and dancing under operating room lights. More socializing than dancing and drinking. I’ve been to lounges that ar more dimly-lit. Come to think of it, even the student bar is brightly lit.

Music was interesting. Supposedly, you can dance to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”. And it seemed like 5ive Tribute Night or something. It was hilarious, listening to music I used to listen to in my early teens, the declining years of Smash Hits magazine.

Booked my hostel and ticket to Amsterdam, there’s no backing out now. Cheapest Eurotrip ever.

Starting work

I had a meeting with Important People earlier today, to discuss the project I’ll be working on. Microfluidics and optimization and … LASERS!!!!!!

I met a Malaysian couple and their two kids on campus. They’re leaving for Malaysia tomorrow, and had been working in the lab that I’m joining. Met them because I was asked to join the laser lab photo op. Turns out that I’m still fluent, but they were all fancy with their Peninsula accent, and commented on my Borneo accent. They probably thought I used to live in a treehouse, and hunted with a spear.

Worked on getting our official IDs today. I took a serious-looking passport photo (no teeth allowed!) in one of those instant photo booths for  €3.50. It coughed out eight passport photos and I only needed one, so I don’t know what I’m going to do with the other photos. I don’t do scrapbooks!!

I also booked my flight to Liverpool (I’m flying back to LAX via England), from Ryanair. Really cheap because I’m booking way in advance. €3.99 for the flight, no taxes, and €6.00 for web check in (kind of a silly fee…), for €9.99 total! Aaaannd an extra €30 for my checked-in suitcase. Fortunately, I only have to check my bag in once throughout my entire stay in Europe. Any other trips I’m making is going to be with a carry-on bag.

I am still trying to figure out where I want to go. I think that I am going to burn my salary on travel. I’m already skimping on food so that I can go places. Because, you know, I’m such a big eater…

I wanted to go to Russia but it looks like the visa is a pain to get, so, no. Not this trip.

On the next episode of Locked Up Abroad…

Bray: a day at the beach

I keep wearing the same jacket and three shirts in my pictures. That’s because that’s all I have. I might have to go shopping. The other girls haven’t done their laundry at all, and I already need to do my second laundry load today.

Went to the seaside town of Bray yesterday, by train. It looks like the thing to do at the beach is eat ice cream. Which is a completely normal beach activity, unless you’re at a cool and windy beach with no sun. Yes, Bray is a cool and windy beach with no sun. And no sand, yay! Hate sand.

No sun, no sand!? This is my kind of beach!! No, that isn’t sarcasm. I really do appreciate not sweating buckets, and not getting sand everywhere.

The water was verrrry cold, but that didn’t stop some from swimming. I couldn’t possibly!

 

 

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We ate a late lunch/dinner by the beach, and some random guy passed by and went all, “Bon appetit!” at us. I had a quarter pounder burger and also some chips with salt and vinegar. A had a cheeseburger. J and V both had fish and chips.

 

The view!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM50DhmHHT8]

A busker.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCK1vw-M2tI]

Jumped a fence to get a better view.

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The nicest Best Western motel I’ve ever seen.

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No sand, no sun! The perfect beach!

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The gentlemen’s club, right next to a nursing care facility:

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street performance world championship

Today, we went to Merrion Square to check out this world championship, and the attempt to make a Guinness World Record for the largest amount of Wallys/Waldos (as in Where’s Waldo/Wally) gathered in one spot. A and V bought the outfits for 15 euros, but J and I decided to save the money for actual Guinness.

There were all sorts of performers … there was a realllyyyyy buff dwarf (“World’s smallest strongman!”), sword-swallowers, someone juggling chainsaws …

And also various sideshows, just people showing up and doing their own thing, not part of the official program. Or, since we’re in the British Commonwealth now … the official programme. (Yay, it’s soooo nice being back in the Commonwealth! Nobody snarks on me for my “different” pronunciation because everyone else pronounces it the same way I do! Also, I have missed you so much, metric system!!)

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Irish gospel choir:

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They were wearing sunglasses, and it wasn’t sunny by my standards.

Giant lawn chairs:

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Display of some French games:

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Taking a picture of A, taking a picture:

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A company advertising their product by laying it out for the public:

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The guy with the hat tricks:

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G2Lgy1TYUc&w=440&h=349]

Lap steel guitar, or steel lap guitar… I can’t remember my OPSHACOM:

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJdrmk3bMTg&w=440&h=349]

Tire out your unruly offspring by putting them in water walkers, and have them spin around like hamsters! Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

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They shut down all the streets in the area.

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Juggling chainsaws:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkN5Pz3fyiI]

 

Juggling knives on a really high unicycle!

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Swallowing swords:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laOHzdkVi8o]

Sausage and chips.

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They then blocked off an area only for people in the red and white striped outfits. So J and I hung out on a stoop.

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It started pouring! J and I stayed at our stoop, under our umbrellas. The Where’s Wally people had to remove their umbrellas for their 10 terapixel photo (to be printed in the Irish Times on Monday, and for zooming-in fun on the championship website later). (“We’re going to take a picture of everyone, with this really high resolution camera! I think it’s about five megapixels! Got it from Argos, 14 day money-back guarantee!” said the jokester/mc).

Then we headed back home, and passed by a sign for lab equipment. Also, it looks like horses and carriages are perfectly legit to be on public roads with other automobiles.

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And that was my day. It was cold and drizzling (as it always is) when we got back on the bus. For dinner, V made sopa for everyone. I thought it was OK, but J and A kept adding more salt to theirs.

City centre

Yesterday, I went to the city centre! It’s sooooo pretty. It was raining and cold and I was breathing secondhand smoke everywhere and I want to live here!! Dublin is amazing!!!!1!!!1!eleven!!!

I forgot to bring my camera today, so I’ll jack the pictures from the other girls later.

The highest point in Dublin is the Spire, which is nice and minimalist and a great meeting point. It’s basically a big needle, once called the Stiletto in the Ghetto. Haha! The thought that went into my head while I was craning my neck to look at it from down below: “Why?” Apparently this is a common thought.

Everyone in Ireland is thin, I have yet to see any fat people. It must be all the drinking and chain-smoking.

Bought detergent last night – it comes in little packets that disintegrate upon contact with water. I thought it was very handy.

I’m having a lot of bad hair days because my hair is at that funny in-between length right now.

Tanning seems popular here, especially because everyone looks like a litre of milk. There are sooo many tanning salons, and the stores sell a dizzying assortment of bronzers, tanning lotions, etc. And next to the sunscreen, there’s a product called after-sun lotion! It’s what you put on after tanning in the sun, to soothe the burn. Also tanning gloves, which is what you put on so that you don’t get the self-tanner all over your hands.

While buying lotion the other day, I had to carefully pick out a lotion that wasn’t tinted. Half the selection was tinted lotion, and I don’t want to come out looking orange!

I passed by an ad for bottled water that said: “So Irish, it thinks a tan comes out of a bottle.”