busy! yay (2004-02-22 - 10:15 a.m.)
I've finally been busy! I even actually got outside of Belfast.
Friday I was thinking about catching a bus somewhere, but it didn't quite work out. I meant to go to St. George's Market in the morning and then head out in the afternoon, but I got a call from Isabelle Rutherford (my grandpa's cousin Tony's wife Ruth's sister, heh) who asked if John and I wanted to meet her for lunch. As it turned out, we didn't exactly make it up in time to go to the market, but had a very nice lunch with Isabelle at Malone House, a gorgeous old house-turned-into-a-restaurant at the edge of Belfast. The food was amazing (although annoyingly, I wasn't hungry enough to do it justice!) and Isabelle was great. I found her to be a very amusing person to talk to and not at all intimidating. We heard lots of stories about Tony and Ruth & family (who I WILL meet someday) and Isabelle's daughters. It was very kind of her to bring John along, as well - he quite enjoyed talking to someone local, as most of his friends are international students!
The restaurant was housed in this gorgeous old mansion, complete with grounds, huge curtained windows and sweeping staircase. There was a wedding going on, as well, and so we got to watch the bride & groom go past.
Unfortunately by the time we were done eating our enormous lunch, heading out anywhere was pretty much out of the question. Ended up going to see a film instead: an old Japanese movie from the 1950s which was playing at the Queen's Film Theatre, which appears to be sort of a student version of the Garneau Theatre in Edmonton. The movie was called "A Tokyo Story" and was very odd: very slow, not much plot, and the ending just sort of drifted off. It was made in 1953 in Japan, though, (making it exactly as old as my dad) so I suppose it's not surprising that it wasn't the kind of filmmaking I'm used to! At any rate, it was interesting to see what peoples' lives and attitudes were like in that particular time and place.
That night there was a party at 119 Dunluce, which is the house next door that also holds international students. We went, but we weren't really in the mood for a party so came home early. It was bizarre - John guessed there were 150 people there throughout the course of the night. It was insanely packed with people from all different countries, talking in various languages, all squished together in two very small rooms. It was kind of fun for a while, but definitely a bit much.
On the plus side, I met John's friend Ian, who's a local as well. He taught me the word to call the annoying kids that inhabit Dunluce and throw things at our door ("wee'uns", although usually prefaced by a much ruder adjective). He's a great guy, very sweet but with a sly sense of humour. We mentioned that I hadn't been out of town much, and he volunteered to take us for drive out to see the coast! So that's what we did yesterday, after FINALLY stopping at St. George's Market and having a large lunch of some delicious sticky Brie and bread.
He took us to Bangor, a coastal town very close to Belfast. I was so happy to see the ocean! It was a windy day and the waves were bursting against the rocks. We had a wonderful time poking around picking up shells and walking along the ocean wall. I enjoyed it so much, and John loved it because it reminded him of Newfoundland. We also walked through the town a bit, had some Maud's ice cream (the honeycomb stuff's the best - something I've never run across before) and got a birthday present for Ian's mum.
Anyway, I've taken loads of pictures of the sea and the rocks, which I'm hoping to be able to post from Holland. I have pictures of Isabelle as well, despite her reluctance! I leave for Amsterdam tomorrow morning and have to admit that I'm sad to leave Belfast. I've had a great few weeks here, and everyone has been wonderful to me. I hope to come back.
In fact, I HAVE to come back, if only to go gliding. John belongs to the Queen's gliding club, and we meant to go this morning but the weather was too bad. It was disappointing, and I'm determined to go sometime (it's usually every Sunday). I think we'll go to Newcastle with Bee and Pierre instead (roommates), but I'll come back for a visit in the spring and try this gliding business.
But I must get back and catch the Newcastle bus. Last day in Ireland, must make it count!
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