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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Day Three ~ redux

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 11:43 pm on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where was I?

More pics from yesterday morning.

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Empty snow dusted streets.

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Blue Mosque in the background.

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Sophia a bit later in the day once the snow had stopped.

The Hagia Sophia is not only Constantinople’s most famous landmarks, it is arguably one of the most famous buildings in the entire world. It was the city’s cathedral and the site of a church originally built by Constantus, son of emperor Constantine the Great. The original church was burned down in 532 and the present church was built between 532 and 537 under the supervision of Justinian I. The original dome fell after an earthquake and the current dome is evidently slightly different.

Over 900 years the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, but when the Ottomans captured the city they turned it into a mosque. Minarets were added and the rich frescos were covered over (because of Islamic prohibitions against depicting human figures). Thus it remained for over 500 years until the Turkish government decided to turn it into a museum and tourist attraction in 1935.

At this point I realized I had not attempted to get money from an ATM with my new card, so I turned around and headed for the row of machines I had seen near the Tram stop. Marble steps, nearing killed myself or at least had visions of cracking open a knee.  I tried all three machines, no joy.  Note to self ~ check the expiration date of all your money producing cards before leaving America.

Breakfast is included in my accommodation price so I popped back to the hostel for food.  When I walked in the guy behind the counter asked “Do you need the luggage room key?”  I said “No, I had thought to stay another night cause I am still having bank issues.”  He said “Yes, but we are booked this evening with a group.”  I am sure I looked confused, it is low season and the middle of  the week, what he hell. Deep Breath, Deep Breath, “Is there another place, close you recommend?”   “Yes, Eurasia Hostel just across the street and up a little, I saw you past it this morning.”  “Thank you, breakfast first?”   He nodded.

Dang, Bank issues and now I am getting kicked out….did ya ever have a rougher start to a holiday?

Breakfast in hostels is usually something local-ish and or cornflakes and milk if you choose.  The buffet both mornings I was there was delightful chunks of bread, tomato, cheese, cucumbers, and boiled eggs. I saw many people making sandwiches.  They offer tea, coffee and something yellow to drink, I decided it was a version of lemonade.

Breakfast over I popped across the street to find Eurasia Hostel, indeed it was rock throwing distance from where my bags currently were.  I had been in a chilly 4 bed dorm with cats fighting out the window (11euro) , I was offered a very warm 12 bed mixed dorm for 10 euro. I asked what the single price was he said “26 euro”. Ahh, dorm it is then.  He asked if I needed help with my bags, I told him no, paid him and was off to pack my bag.

Alrighty, bed for the evening sorted, back to the bank boggle. Oh by the by I decided between the bank issue and the weather I would hang here in Istanbul a bit longer.

On my way back into town I noticed many people about the Blue Mosque, perhaps this is the time to go inside. It is free,  though one has to go through the correct door, take your shoes off and cover your head, this last bits no problem do to the cold temps.

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Inside the courtyard.

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Sophia from inside the Blue Mosque courtyard.  The people, Asians from a bus I saw on the other side of  the building.

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Inside the interior courtyard. I saw a guy shooing people away from what looked like a door toward an exit through the courtyard, I followed suit before he had to tell me as well.

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It would see many a person from many a place come to see the Blue Mosque.

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It is impressive from many angles. Not my best pics due to the low light but you can see all the blue tiles…thus, Blue Mosque.

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Plenty of stained glass in the place.

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The vastness of it is overwhelming.

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From the exit side of the building.

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Tis tough to get a pics which truly show the huge-ness of  the place.

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I thought maybe if I found another bank’s ATM my card would work so… random street roaming, tis one of my favorite things cause ya never know what  you will come across.

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Do you even believe how old this building looks.

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Brick work of the Grand Bazaar.  This place feels like an indoor mall but far far HUGER and no doors to the stores, so think a cross between a flea market with vendors and a mall.  I didn’t wander much being I was enticed to have tea, food and conversation, see previous post.  I may have to go back….or not being I am not a shopper.

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From the coffee shop were we had tea, apple tea, yummy.  Later it was suggested I taste rose-hips tea, yeah cool, it’s good too. One of the beverages they offered at lunch was  a yogurt, water and salt something… it takes some getting used to but I bet it would be yummy on a hot day. I was also offered dang, I can’t remember what flavor of baklava it was, but it is mandatory to have tea when one eats sweets on this part of he world.  Truly, a delightful day.

Ended with a bit of sun…

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For a very nice sun set..

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It would seem the people in this place are not early risers. The heat in the dorm woke me before call to prayer, holy hannah was it HOT.  I sorted myself, with flashlight in hand went to the terrace to see the weather and post more pics. I was not joined by others until 830a.

The sun may be going to come out today, it is still  cold, ice on the outside tables.

Oh yeah, I called the bank two more times yesterday. Once while I was with my new friends in the grand bizarre, they insisted. Nice people! Anywho the bank said to call back after 3, I did to the tune of 59 minutes and 14 bucks.

They decided to send yet another card, to the new hostel, so.. I wait. I may have a visit to the Asian Side of Istanbul. I am still not at all sure why they call it the Asian Side. Perhaps I will learn today.

Day One ~ Feb 1st

Filed under: Photos — she_travels at 11:28 pm on Monday, February 1, 2010

Purchasing a visa is the 1st thing on the agenda once one is off the plane. The guy was a bit grumpy with other people, noticing this I had my $20us in my passport next to my photo.  He was all kinds of fast, I don’t think he even looked at me.

Passport control was far more time consuming, the place was chock a block full of people from all over the world. The Turks were in a different section, I was in the “all other nationalities” line. It was a dozy, with people cutting in line, pushing, not at all civilized.

Once one is through passport control, they retrieve their checked  bags and head for customs. Strange that, I saw one official looking guy who didn’t so much as glance at me, much less ask any questions or look through my bags , so I headed for the exit sign.

Next up…local currency. I had copied directions from the web and had the bit of paper with me. It told me where the ATM’s were and how to get to the Metro (train) then how to switch from the Metro to the Tram (lightrail). I also had walking directions from the tram stop to the hostel I had booked.

The first boggle came when the ATM machine said, “Your card is expired” Can you believe that? Hell, I had come half way around the world with an expired ATM card. I thought about using my credit card to get cash but when the machine asked for a “pin number” I could not produce…. I took a few deep breaths and realized I had US money I could change into local notes. A very helpful gentlemen pointed me in the right direction, then was kind enough to show me the stairs down to the Metro.

The machine ya have to get your train tokens from, is all in Turkish, being I had just landed I didn’t understand the money yet…so I put a 5tl coin in the machine,  I understood they are 2tl, and one needs two cause of the transfer. When the machine didn’t do what I thought it should I attempted to get my 5tl back… I could not locate the correct button. A group of two men and a lady came up behind me…. I backed off the machine, pointed at it and motioned with a swiping movement from the machine to me…the lady caught on, all three were laughing, she hit a green button and poof, my 5tl coin. By this time an official looking guy had showed up. I said while holding up 2 fingers, “ I need two tokens” The new guy looked at my hand holding the 5 coin and shook his head. This I took to mean, *more money lady*. I took out two small paper notes, he took the 5tl, hit a green button twice stepped back and pointed at the bottom of the machine. Sure enough my change and two red tokens. By this time we had drawn a crowd of 5 or so people all laughing at and with the silly gal who knows nothing. Fun was had by all.

Ok tokens in hand, I watched someone go through the turnstile making sure when I got there I put my newly won red token in the correct slot. Around the corner I found two signs for the place I wanted to go, I hesitated at the top of the stairs when one of the guys with the lady from before passed me giggling waving at me to follow him.

Thank goodness the airport was at the end of the Metro line,  I could not mess up and go the wrong direction.  Once in the train it occurred to me
I had two different sets of directions (one from the hostel and one from a very helpful site called Turkey Travel Planner) on where to transfer to the light rail, while looking at the map on the Metro wall I decide to go to the end of the line past the bus station so in the future I would have an idea of what the buses were about.

When we got to the end of the line, the guy sitting next me said “This is the last stop, you must get off here.” I said “Thank you so much” He was cute!

Alright, so my directions said “As you leave the Metro Station, go through the underground passage and straight onto the pedestrian walkway then walk over the bridge to the tram stop”

Yeah, on paper it looks good but when your standing there looking at a set of stairs going up…ahh what the hell, I don’t see any underground tunnel, I will go up with all the other people who know where they are going. At the top of the stairs I looked about and sure enough another set of stairs down not far off to my left, could this be the mentioned tunnel?  There were all manner of merchants with their wares, I was surprised no one said anything to me.

Up another flight of stairs all I saw was buses and people. I took a few steps closer to the buses looking for a bridge….by jove, people going up another set of stairs, when I looked a bit harder it was over the street, this was making sense. On  the other side I was attempting to locate the “Pedestrian walk” ….thank goodness I sign in English “Tram” with a arrow. Pay Dirt!

More buildings. More shops and more of me wondering if I was going the right direction or was I going to have to flag a cop, wait what do the cops look like here, to get me where I am going.

It was not nearly as far as all that when I saw the tram line, another set of stairs up….I got to the top of the bridge over the tram line and realize I have no idea what direction to take the tram. Deep breath….look at the street signs, your looking for Sultanahmet…indeed I did find a sign so I skipped down the steps to the tram landing but one had to use their last hard won red token so before I did that I flagged a guy in a orange vest.
“This way to Sultanahmet? “ He didn’t understand. “This way to the Blue Mosque”  Mind you everyone around was looking at me like I was American. He nodded his head, “Yes, Blue Mosque this way.” I knew from research the Tram says “Blue Mosque” at the correct stop, so I figured everyone has heard it.

The tram stopped, the people on the platform crushed in. I saw a bitty space just inside the door which could handle me and my bags,  just. The next stop three people got off and many go on, at one point my back was against a wall and I swear that old guy’s elbow was in my breast. Ahh, well what are ya gonna do… oh yeah and there was a screaming kid…whew! Three more stops, I can do this…just three more stops.

The gods were listening cause at the next stop most of the people got off, oh but not  the screaming kid.

Most of the Metro ride from the airport was offering me views of construction, apt buildings or more road. Several of the tram line stops were in a shopping area with very nice shops, the kind of shops you would not catch me in, but pretty to look at. When the tram landed at Sultanahmet I was floored. The first thing you see is a park area offering free wifi. Three Mosques and a bit of shop behind you. When the tram noise died there was a peaceful, calming feeling to the air. Nice place!

I collected my thoughts, sorted my bags and found the walking directions.  I was doing pretty well til the directions said “beyond the traffic light…” I did not see a traffic light, anywhere. While I was trying to decide to go farther down the road or to turn here I was approached by a man who said “You look lost, where do you want to go.”  I said “I am looking for the traffic light but do not see one.” He repeated, “Where do you want to go?”  I handed him the directions and went looking for my conformation paper. Long story short, he knew of the place, asked me if I wanted tea (this culture is all about the tea and conversation, one does not turn people down, and what else did I have to do.)  We had tea, apple tea, yummy, on the balcony of his uncle’s shop with a truly beautiful view of the Blue Mosque and the sea in the distance.  Sadly, I have forgotten his name but he divides his time between here and New Jersey and decided to take it upon himself to solve my bank card problem.

After tea and abit of conversation, he took me to the hostel, waited and then went to the park to call my bank. I will not get into all those headaches but 4 calls, one of which cost me 7 bucks, later I understand Visa 911 is sending me a new temp card, should be here tomorrow and the hostel is going to sign for it.

The three hours we had to wait between phone call one and phone call two, my new friend managed to play local tour guide. Nothing fancy but it was a delightful bit if strolling after being cooped up in plane and airports for 24 hours.

The second phone call led to the third but I had to be in the hostel for the third one, so I thanked my new friend and was off.

Once the third phone call with the Vias 911 people was handled and during which I found out I have to call the bank back about the PIN number, I was given 2 toll free numbers, none worked and the hostel manager guy said “How about if you go to _____ , buy an international phone card and use a public phone.” He pointed me in the direction of the phones and cards.

Did I mention is was a beautiful day, t-shirt weather…when I went out to use the phone is was dark, wet and blowing…YUK. The good news, my brand spankin new REI coat does as advertised, water proof! and I have a 7$ fleece under if from the second hand.

Last call to the bank, nice walk in the dark and rain… shezz what a day I have had. My brain was not working well enough to get my universal plug to function, I was so afraid I was going to have to pack around another useless computer. Whew, a three hour nap and a shower…my neurons are firing again, got the plug to work.

I managed to get two pics today, I know not many but I didn’t want to act a complete tourist when out strolling with my local friend. More pics tomorrow, I promise.

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Tram landing going to Sultanahmet.

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Blue Mosque, last night in the wet and blowing. I thought they called it the Blue Mosque cause the roof is blue but maybe its not cause my new friend says it is blue inside.

I wanted to get some sunrise pics this morning but it is GRAY, gray out there. We will see if  the sun shows later.

By  the by ~ my roommate and I spend most of the night listening to cats fight, they were throwing each other against the window off and on all night. Man! fighting cats can be loud!

Detour

Filed under: Inspiration — she_travels at 1:00 pm on Sunday, April 19, 2009

I was very glad to have been able to spend some time living with Scruffles, his kitty, horse, chicken and rabbit friends cause the following week I landed in the hospital.

It started simply enough with abdominal pain, not so much I could not deal but enough to make me wonder what was up. By 6pm on the Tues after spring break I was having a hard time breathing properly because the pain was so intense. I thought it was just cramps until a client called about something, we starting going over my symptoms and she suggested it was not cramps cause I had finished my female cycle 4 days before.

I called Mom, the registered nurse, see what she thought. She mentioned the possibility of food poisoning and I would no doubt start vomiting any minute. I never did.

The intense pain only lasted about 4 hours, I called the doctors office the next morning to make an appointment. The lady was very nice when telling me to come in at 10:50.

I was examined by several doctors, gave blood and urine then had a CT Scan done. In the end it was decided I had cysts on both ovaries and they must be causing  the pain.

I was given the option of managing the pain with drugs and antibiotics to see if in fact the cysts would shrink or I could have surgery done to remove the offending tissue. I was not given alot of time to decide,  in the end I choose Laparoscopic surgery cause the Doc said it is possible but unlikely  the largest cyst 7cm would shrink. I had a  life to live and did not want to do so on pain meds if it could be helped.  The idea was to go in for surgery at 12pm Thurs and be out at 8pm. This was only if every thing went swimmingly. Dr. Kim was very up front about the possibilities of things going wrong along with the release form I signed the following day which said “Oh by the by, you may not live through this.”

Once in surgery the Doctors found my right ovary was multi-cystic so they removed it. In the process of figuring out what was up with the left ovary they found an abscess on my colon which started to ooze some nasty pus into my abdomen. They cleaned me out as best they could, placed a drain and started me on “the big gun” antibiotics then admitted me to the hospital.

Dr. Kim came by while I was in the recovery room to say “You are about to be very very sick.”

He wasn’t kidding, over the next three days I had temps between 101.9 and 103.8 with a very low oxygen level. I had tubes going in me with fluids and antibiotics, I had tubes coming out of me cause I could not get to the bathroom. I had an oxygen tube up my nose and a gadget on my finger attached to a small box which sent a signal to a guy behind a computer screen monitoring my oxygen level and my heart rate. The nurses call them the tattletales, if a patient with this gadget needs help the tattletales call them.

We were all pretty frightened  being concern they may not get the infection under control or in the process I would fry my brain. There were several nights of something they call a cooling blanket, its a blanket with cold water circulating through chambers they set at 60 degrees in addition to placing ice packs under my arms pits.

When the fevers came down they sent be back to the CT scan and found another abscess, a second drain was placed.

The Tues following the original Dr apt I was feeling well enough the doc told me I could have clear liquids. Mind you I had had nothing to eat for six days in the hospital and very little the four days before.

Wed,  a full week after the first CT scan,  they removed my tubes and hoses and told me to EAT!  Yuk, by brain understood but my tummy was all kinds of scared. Mom brought me my favorite potato soup so my taste buds were excited even if the rest of me was wacky.

Thurs morning one of the docs removed the 1st drain. They sent me home with the second drain still in me that afternoon.

I was in the hospital for a full seven days. It was a very odd experience. The world outside keeps on moving and chugging along, yet in the hospital all you have is your little bubble of pain and fear.

Stranger still,  I was fine on the Monday, painful Tues, trying to die Thur, Fri, and absolutely fine again the following Friday. I did sleep a fair amount  the first few days out of the hospital but truly  was fine.

It is now Sunday 18days after the surgery and I am back to normal, finished the antibiotics this morning, am not in the least bit sore. Truly it is amazing how fast your body can heal given the chance.

Just a few side thoughts.

Had the abscess on my colon burst during spring break, not only would I have died but the animals I was caring for would have suffered.

I am usually in a third would country in March, I only came back this year early to pay off my broken leg from last July.

I was suppose to drive to TX with my mother the Tues the pain started but the weather was so bad between were I am and where she is I decided not  to go.

I had 10 days of no responsibility to any of my clients to do anything I wished with. The first of  those days was the first day of pain.

Imagine the universe, god, a higher power or hell, maybe it was me lining all these things up in such a way I not only lived through it but no one else’s life or plans were interrupted.

I am telling you if you allow that higher power to take care of ya…. it will!

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Filed under: Vietnam — she_travels at 3:06 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009

Phu Quoc is as island off the coast of Cambodia which belongs to Vietnam. I must have a few pics but at the moment I can not find them.  Google can if your interested before I get sorted out. 

The ferry ride over was easy enough, long, maybe 4 hours. I am not sure I would have been nearly so well when I arrived had I not had my noise reduction ears pieces for my MP3 Player. That boat was LOUD! 

I did not see as much of the island as I had wanted, it poured rain the 1st day I was there. The following morning I was SICK. I am still not exactly sure what I had but if felt like,  what people describe as,  a sinus infection. The congestion was only in my head and the pain was far greater than I would have though. It was much like my migraine headaches with the added bit of sinus congestion. I could not look out the window for the stabbing pain in my head, hell moving was a challenge. 

I was so afraid it would not resolve by the time I had to get on a plane,  I forced myself to stay indoors drinking nothing but water for the next two days. At some point it finally occurred to me I had a new version/strength of my migraine medication with me..I popped one of those, went back to bed and by the third morning I was fine. Good thing too I had to get on a ferry back to Rach Gia to spend the night then hop a plane to Bangkok the next morning. 

I will look for pictures of  the island.

When it rains…

Filed under: Boggles — she_travels at 9:12 am on Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am still having trouble with the web host..there is a good chance I will have to rebuild the site with the new software the web host switched to.

In the mean time,  the computer with all my SEA pics died. It can be fixed it’s just going to take some time.

I will get this sorted out..honest guys!

Broken Pictures

Filed under: Boggles — she_travels at 4:41 pm on Thursday, October 2, 2008

My apologies for the broken links to the pictures… something is amiss with my web host. I am working on a solution!

Quick update! The silly host people are shifting stuff from old servers to new servers. In the prosess the “path” to my images was changed. Here is the kicker people. I have to go back and one by one change the “path” to every single image. Bummer huh?

I am going to go backwards, start on this page til I get to the first page from just over two years ago. This is going to take some time, I am sorry.

Flight..Time!

Filed under: Endings,Roatan — she_travels at 9:52 am on Monday, May 5, 2008

This is going to be quick, I am fast running out of time. Currently in Boulder madly!! Madly repacking, sorting money, having conversations with China Air.

Two days in West Bay is never enough. Saturday morning I was snorkeling with fishes, corals, and lobster. Saturday at about 4pm my phone was ringing in Houston. My mother saying China Air had her called three times with information about my fights to Bangkok on Tuesday having a slight snaffoo. There was concern about the amount of time I had between connections in LA.  They were suggesting I ask Delta to switch me from the 12:45 flight to the 7am flight. I told her I would have a chat with Delta when I arrived in Denver.

The phone was ringing while I was talking to mom. A friend asking where and how I was. I said Houston on my way to Denver. He decided he would arrange his world to meet me at the airport. Friends, ya gotta love them.

I went to the Delta ticket count in Denver they said “The ticket is not ours, you have to call your travel agent.”  I didn’t understand how a ticket for a Delta flight was not Delta’s but understood I was not going to get any more info from them.

I had a delightful evening with my friend. He was kind enough to ask what my needs where for Sunday. I said “ I have to get my hands on a new camera, I know what I want I am just not sure where to find it. I also need a ride to Boulder.”  What fun that guy is, while I was in the shower he found out where best to pick up the camera on the way to dropping me in Boulder.

Dang…I am running out of time…still gotta pack and clean Shawna’s barn.

It’s 950am here in Boulder, I have to be at the Thai visa place at 1130am.  I am still in the process of talking to China Air about my flight out tomorrow at 7am.

Issues O’ the Email

Filed under: Boggles,Important — she_travels at 4:33 pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For those of you not receiving a reply to email you sent the last several weeks let us blame Bluebottle.

There has been an issue with my email client for an amount of time they choose not to disclose (I noticed oddness some two days ago). Bluebottle knows they have an issue, they know they need to fix it yet they are not telling us when it started nor when it will be fixed. Silly people.

Not to worry, I devised a plan and put it to action.

Brand new shiny address I have. I would post it here but the nasty spam bots would eat me alive so…. it is linked to the “email me” clickable to the right.

Honest and true if I receive an email I reply… unless my email client lost the mail. Do try again to any that have been ignored.

Most happy belated Bunny day to all!

Good news, bad news, good again

Filed under: Photos,Roatan — she_travels at 4:55 pm on Sunday, March 9, 2008

The good news is I have a few pictures from the past several weeks I have to re-size/post to the blog.

The bad news is the camera died this morning. You can bet I was saying some very unlady like words when I grabbed it to snap a shot of the resent storm breaking up.

There was a bank of cloud at the water line looking toward the mainland of Honduras with the mountains visible behind along with a break in the clouds above allowing just few rays of sunshine through. Truly a photo op…dang silly camera said no.

The good news is I will be going through the states before heading to Thailand so I can replace it.  Or perhaps a purchase in Thailand is a better idea.

Off to the races

Filed under: Boggles,Ireland,Kind Strangers — she_travels at 3:05 pm on Friday, July 6, 2007

You will notice  my repeated use of the words wander, roam and meander. I know there are people who need a plan, they need to know where they are going, where they will be sleeping. They need to know the path between points A and B. I,  on the other,  had spent just short of eight weeks wandering, roaming and meandering most haphazardly the hills, dales, towns, villages and cities of Ireland. For me this is the very best possible way to experience a place.

With the above info you can understand just how I landed at the greyhound dog races of Limerick, Ireland.

The town of Tarbert lies just north and south of Kilrush. One can take the ferry across the huge Shannon Estuary to arrive a mere mile outside of town. This is exactly what I had done. Arriving in Tarbert I was once again looking for the hostel listed….and once again I was surprised to see…no hostel.

The time was long about 1pm..plenty of daylight to shift to plan B. What might plan B you ask…why the Eirann Bus system of course. In all the towns and villages I have been in there is at least a stop. You know the look, a pole in what ever color with the bus logo. In Ireland the pole has a framed schedule of that bus stop.

After meandering about town attempting to locate the bus stop with no success I stopped in to the local market.

“Excuse me” I said to the lady behind the counter “Where might the bus stop be?”

She gave me an odd look, then focused past me. I looked the direction she did at the same time hearing a voice behind me say “Perhaps in the square just up the hill”

“Do you know the bus schedule?”

Another sorta blank look with a “Maybe across the road at the pub”

I stepped back out the door to the pub… with not better results there. This was the point when I started to realized I may be in a bit of trouble…not bad trouble but a hiccup none the less. This little town of Tarbert which has a ferry has no idea where to find the bus stop much less the bus schedule. Does anyone think this odd? Then it occurred to me…I had to walk from Kilrush to the ferry (with a bit of help). I was the only foot passenger on the ferry and I had to walk in to town. You would have thought I would know buses are not all that frequent. Ahh well here I was…now what.

I was walking past a cafe with people in it at the very moment I decided to take matters in to my own hands. Stepping through the door I noticed it was a very small place. There was a couple sitting at the back, there was a couple sitting against the side wall. The wait person came out from the back, notice me and left. I sat down to wait. When she came back she was going to give me a menu, I stopped her saying “I am looking for the bus schedule. She said, “I can call someone that may know.” I replied saying “Or if you (raising my voice) or anyone knows some one that can get me out of town…. “. I stopped there to wait.

From behind me someone said “Where are you going”

I replied quickly “Direction doesn’t bother me, where a bus stops.”

The lady at the side wall said something, then the lady behind me said something. I don’t remember either comment. I do remember the lady behind me said “I can get you as far as ?” I didn’t hear what town she said, I still didn’t care.

Come to find out she had just finish having lunch with her mother on this most beautiful Saturday afternoon and was on her way back to…wherever.

We piled in to the car with me expressing my gratitude for being saved. During the car ride they found out much more about me than I did them. Mary (the daughter) must have decided during the conversation that dropping me at the bus stop alone was no longer the plan. She did not mention this to me, or her mother. She parked in front of a terrace house and dialed her cell phone. After talking for a minute she told her mother he was walking the dog and would be along, “Oh there he is coming up the street..” I am so much who I am I said “ya mean the half naked guy”. She replied yes. He was only wearing shorts and was walking a black greyhound.

Mary jumped out of the car as did I. Introduced me to MJ (the guy) the dog they call “big Black dog”. Mary asked if I wanted help with my stuff and said she was taking her mother home. Mind you at this point I am still a bit fuzzy on what is going on but hell Mary seemed to have a handle on it. I did ask just before she left “Will you be back?” She said “You think I would leave him alone with a strange American woman.”

Mary was off. MJ and I went in the house. I tossed my bag in a corner. He offered tea and apple tart. It’s all so civilized and bit odd but what the hell right? By the time Mary got back 10 minutes later MJ and I were old friends. What a cool guy he is, perhaps the easiest going guy I have met in a long time and has done about everything once. Truly enjoyable company.

Mary asked after sitting for a minute if MJ was going to the dog races. Again me and my big mouth “Ya gonna take the lost American to the races?” Mary asked it I wanted to go. I told her I had never been, sure, but don’t let me talk you into something you were not already going to do.

It seemed the two decided dinner would be had before going to the races. So, dinner it was, up the street. MJ had his favorite,  I don’t remember what it was. I had a chicken sandwich they put stuffing on..dang good chicken. I don’t remember Mary’s entree but the thing she had for dessert was…wow worthy. It was a butterscotch banana something that had to have sweet and condensed milk. One bite was plenty for me.

Once back at the house from dinner we sorted out jackets in case it was chilly after dark, hopped in Mary’s car and were off to the races. What a hoot!! I had no idea what I was getting in to. Mary and MJ own two racing dogs, the black one at the house decided she would rather play than work. None of their dogs were racing that evening but we had a grand old time. I picked three out of five winners but only bet on four. I came out several euro ahead of when I went in. It was all great fun!

I spent the night in MJ’s spare room. The following day being Sunday I didn’t want to intrude anymore than I had. When MJ took the dog out for a walk, I went to the bus stop. I am headed south still. Killarny here I come.

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