Yesterday was an exhausting day and it didn’t go as smoothly as it could have. I left Mark’s at 11:20 a.m. and stepped foot in my hotel at 8:00 p.m. — and to think, the flight is only 55 minutes!! My flight was rather turbulent, I didn’t enjoy it much and then the man at the border control was really not nice at all! He started by saying that the he made the last girl who showed him the type of visa I have cry. Nice, welcome to Dublin! Of course, I didn’t cry 😉 He wanted me to provide him with proof of funds even though I had already done so in order to obtain my visa and of course it said nowhere in the information provided to me that I had to bring proof with me. After making me wait quite a long time and giving me grief, he said that I had to go to the Garda office within 30 days to prove to them that I have funds. It’s no problem for me as I had to go there anyway! Next I headed for my “luxury” coach and showed the woman the print out (from their own site) of the line and the stop I wanted — I queued where she told me to queue and boarded the bus. After 60 minutes, I realized that I was now all alone in the bus (apart from the driver) — so I went to see him to ask if I had missed my stop; he told me I was on the wrong bus and there wasn’t much he could do for me apart from drop me off at a stop that was a 25 to 30 walk from my guesthouse. At that point I was so exhausted and in denial that I almost started to cry (the boarder control officer would have been happy) and I explained to the driver that my luggage weighed 21 kilos and my carry on was 6 kilos, I had no clue where I was going and that their employee had told me to get on that bus and nobody was there to check my ticket when I got on board!! He then asked me if it was the blonde Polish woman and when I said yes he said “she’d best learn what she’s talking about before she tells people on which coach they should get”. Oi. Finally he decided to call his office and they allowed him to drive me to my stop and they said they would provide me with vouchers to make up for it. We had a nice talk on the way in, I was just relieved that he was taking me to my guesthouse at that point. I am sadly VERY disappointed with my guesthouse; when I got there I asked for the password for the free Internet connection and the very rude receptionist told me that it was not free, that it was 5 euros per hour or 15 euros for 24 hours. When I told him that on their Web site it states that they have free broadband he categorically said no and repeated the prices…when I asked for the manager’s contact information he was even ruder so I just left and walked around looking for an Internet café to print out the info from their site. I finally found one (they are a rare find indeed in that area) after walking a long time and sure enough the site said: FREE all day secure parking and broadband throughout…I showed the receptionist when I came back and he didn’t even say he was sorry and to think, they are a four star hotel!! He agreed to give me 24 hours for free in the end but it left a very sour taste in my mouth. I just checked the site tonight and they have added the following after the word broadband: (fee based) — must be because I told them that false advertisement was illegal. The room is not very nice either…it’s noisy, small and the bed isn’t comfortable at all — but ah well, it’s all part of the adventure.
Today was a much better day; I went to my SWAP orientation session. It was very informative and useful! They explained how to get a tax number, how to open a bank account, where to shop, how the buses, trains and trams work, etc.! I’m already starting to feel at home and it’s very easy to get around. Then I headed over to Merrion Square where I met up with Aidan and his son Adam (who is adorable beyond belief) by the Oscar Wilde statue. Adam played in the playground for a while, then we went to see some performers, one of which was from Montréal!! There was one from Paris by the name of Alexis Bérubé who really cracked me up, it felt so good to laugh that much (this was filmed in Cork but he did the same thing here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RadukspAIw
Then Adam went home with his nanny and Aidan and I went to eat some kebabs 🙂 I was quite tired after that so I headed over to my room to do some research on the Internet! I managed to figure what cell phone to purchase (I vowed never to get one but here I have no choice) and what plan to pick (took me for ever!!) and then I looked for flats online and sent out five emails! I am hoping to view them Sunday or Monday; they range in price from $633 Canadian to $791 for a bachelor’s apartment, which isn’t bad for Dublin, the rents have gone down a lot. All of them are heated and furnished, some have cable, Internet, washer and dryer included. Tomorrow I will go shopping for a bit and then I’m meeting Aidan again — we will take in some more performances! I will treat myself to a nice vegetarian supper here I think: http://www.cornucopia.ie/menu.asp?id=4
Doesn’t spinach and hazelnut cannelloni in tomato sauce with basil oil sound divine?? Yummmm! Right, it’s almost 2:30 a.m. and I’ve barely slept over the past 3 days and my wake up call is at 9:00 a.m. No time to check for spelling mistakes! I feel happy with my decision to come here and look forward to discovering the city! Oh and by the way, I decided not to take pictures for the next couple of days, I just want to experience things, take it all in…À suivre… 🙂