Feeling pretty ill at this point for some reason, I pull myself out of the chair I'm reading in and make my way to the terminal gate where Zach and Sam should be strolling through in twenty minutes or so; 1:55pm to be exact. I find a cozy, molded plastic seat, creepily set my fatigued gaze to the set of sliding glass doors before me, and wait. And wait. And wait some more. I sat there for over an hour and a half, hoping with great anticipation that the next people through those doors would be my brothers.
With no cell phones, or even an idea of what hostel we were staying at that night, it was relatively imperative at this point that I find my siblings. After thirty minutes of sitting in that luxury airport seating, any two guys that were under the age of 30 that walked through those doors seemed like they could possibly be my brothers at first glance. After an hour, anyone that slightly fit their body types would be enough to get my puppy-dog hopes up. After an hour and a half, basically any two males with bodies whatsoever were potentially my dear brothers.
By the time it had reached 3pm, I just assumed that something else had happened, and I began to slowly and sickly pack my stuff up, determined to try and find this elusive hostel that we're hypothetically staying at. Just as I reach for my backpack to get up and leave, I see someone walk through the gate that greatly resembles my brother Travis. Now Travis was coming in later that day sometime from China, but none of us knew exactly when (anyone surprised?). I decided to holler his name for kicks, but he didn't respond. So naturally, I yell it again, this time a bit louder. As he spins around quickly with a surprised and confused demeanor, he yells in response "Brother!” and lumbers toward me like a drunken jaguar. So we hug and giggle like school girls, and then make our way into downtown Dublin to try and track down this hostel of ours. I suppose we could've asked for directions or an address, but we decided that this method of the blind leading the blind would be a lot more fun.
To our surprise, we actually found our sneaky ‘lil hostel “The Bunkhouse” (after some senseless meandering, of course) and checked ourselves in. We carried our luggage to the third floor, and then I immediately collapsed like Tom Arnold’s career. Not but 10 minutes passes by however, that Zach and Sam come strolling in like they own the place. A little shocked that we had actually found each other, we all hugged and they told of the crazy terminal sprints and missed flights of their last 24 hours. We actually spent a good hour or so simply lounging on our hostel bunks, telling stories and catching up. But then it dawned on us that we were in Dublin, and we got our act together and got out of there. Well, technically we all started to fall asleep, but Trav rallied us out of our stupor and got us mobile. So we suited up, and were on our way.
Sidebar: For those of you who are not aware, part of the agreement for this trip was that each of us was to bring one suit (pants, shirt, vest, tie, jacket) to wear each day for the entirety of our two-week journey. More tales on that front in the entries to come.
When we left the hostel, there was an old man sitting near the front desk computer, cursing our suits, telling us how ridiculous we looked, and something about whiskey and potatoes. I don't remember exactly what he said but it was negative and degrading, but kind of funny. He really did not like the suits at all. We of course, found this to be a remarkably humorous way to start off our trip, and laughed about it numerous times throughout the trip.
After a quick stop at the ever-classy “Booze 2 Go” located next to our hostel, we made our way to an incredible local restaurant named “Quay’s”. We sat down, and I ordered some boxty cake, Guinness stew, and the first beer I'd had in 10 weeks. It was absolutely perfect in every way. It's possible that I may have even broke out into melodious song at one point, but no one is really sure. Good thing we were in suits.
After we left Quay’s, we wandered the city some more, made some random friends, and ended up at the famous “Temple Bar” to hear some live Irish music. This place was absolutely packed and it was only a Tuesday. I cannot imagine what it would be like on the weekend. It was truly everything we hoped for in a traditional Irish bar. The spirit of this bar was remarkable. The music, the dancing, and the singing made you feel as though you'd walked into the wedding reception of a dear friend and everyone was celebrating. The atmosphere is far unlike anything I've experienced in any American establishment of the same nature. There was a thick familial sense throughout the entire bar, and it was infectious.
After we left Temple, we made our way to a small music venue named “Mez” with a house band playing grunge and rock hits from the mid-90's, so of course we had no choice but to go in. As we walked through the space, the band broke into "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the very first song that I ever learned to play drums to. I teared up a bit, but thankfully it was dark and no one witnessed this embarrassing display. We made some more friends, explained the suits (as we had already become accustomed to doing) and then all yelled, along with the band at the top of our lungs the words to “Killing in the Name Of.” It was absurd, but quite entertaining, to say the least.
After we left Mez, we were stopped by a crowd of people waiting in line outside of "Kiss" – the dodgiest nightclub in Dublin. Again, everyone was curious about the suits and requested photos with us, so naturally we obliged. It was only our first night in Dublin, and already the twelve dollars that I had spent on my suit was paying off. Thank you, Village Thrift of Elgin, Illinois. Thank you for the magic you create.
We wandered some more (take note of the foreshadowing), walked through a hotel, sat in some silly looking chairs, climbed down some stairs to the river, and eventually ended up at the Irish fast-food Mecca known as “SuperMac.” Actually, the food was sub-par, but we met some more interesting locals, Zach warfed down some generic burger, and we made our way back to the hostel by 3am and promptly fell asleep post haste.
Not bad for a first day in Dublin. Grandma would be proud.