OTOOLEFAN GOES TO IRELAND – Part 7
May 4 – Today was the strangest day of our journey so far. Financial worries were plaguing our minds. Steve tried to get some money with his VISA card. The woman ran it through the computer, came back, and said, “It’s been denied.”
Today was the day we left Clifden by bus. While we were waiting for the bus, a dog came along and pissed on some woman’s luggage while she wasn’t looking.
This set the tone for the day. As soon as we got back to Galway, I exchanged all my money and paid Steve back.
We walked out of Galway City and started hitchhiking. Steve was very dejected about his dire financial situation. Finally, we got our first ride in a weird way.
There was a girl hitchhiking in front of us and a car stopped to pick her up. The girl opened the door, talked to the driver, and then refused the ride. Then the car pulled up next to us and we hopped in.
The driver was a middle aged woman. She said they girl hitchhiking was going to Limerick whereas she was going toward Dublin.
We were going towards Dublin too. We were trying to get to Dublin as fast as we could so we could straighten out our financial debacle.
This first ride took us about forty miles down the road. Then we had to wait a long time because we were hitchhiking in a bad spot. Some guy picked us up and brought us a mile down the road to where the real Dublin road began.
Here we stood for a while and Steve was scrutinizing his airplane tickets to see if he could go home a week earlier. That’s how bad it was getting. I, myself, wasn’t doing too good in the “money situation” either. I would be running out of money in a few days as well. So that was the mood we were in when we got one of the best rides of the trip.
The guy who gave us a lift had a ratty little car with the hood not quite closed. I opened the front door and said,
Ah, yes, Dublin.”
It was great! I could understand his accent and he was intelligent. He had a bushy beard, missing teeth and a circle earring.
I was sitting the front seat next to him so I talked with him about many things.
Did he like Van Morrison? Yes, he had seen him two times in a row in 1978. Said he always picks the best musicians available.
Did he like Tom Waits? Yes, thought he was “fantastic.”
Had he heard of Flann O’Brien? Yes, he had. He then asked me,
“Did you read At Swim-Two-Birds?”
“That was fuckin’ brilliant!”
It was a good thing that we connected on these subjects because we had many miles before we got to Dublin. Every once in a while he’d roll a cigarette, steering with one wrist. Also he would look at his petrol gauge and say “I don’t know..yeah, we’ll make it.”
He couldn’t believe it when I told him that in America very few people read books, and that illiteracy was a great problem.
He drove us to the outskirts of Dublin and a short double decker bus ride took us into the city.
We checked into the Leitrim House again and laughed about the fact that we were in Dublin.
After sitting on our beds for a short while, we set out on a quest for a pub named “The Confession Box”, because it’s so small. The smallest in Dublin.
The first night Steve and I were in Dublin I tried to find it, but I was a lost soul. But this time we found it no trouble. It was just as I remembered it from my trip two years ago, all old men. This time they were watching “World Snooker.” Well, this was my two years’ confession. I confessed to a glass of Guinness.
From “The Confession Box” it was off in search of “O’Donahue’s”. We asked a man on the street where it was. We followed his directions as far as Trinity College. Here I asked a girl with the biggest tits I’ve ever seen where “O’Donahue’s” was. She laughed and said we were going way off. She tried to explain it to us, but we didn’t know any of her reference points.
Finally, she decided to show us where it was herself. She was very friendly and had quite a cute face – very, very Irish. And, of course, that means everything to me.
So anyway, Steve and I start talking to her and we’re all laughing. We all say a lot, reveal a lot of things about ourselves. After awhile we get to where “O’Donahue’s” is and then we have a lingering good bye. Off she walks.
“Why didn’t you ask her for a drink?” Steve says to me.
I turn around, but by this time the girl is halfway down the street and I’m not gonna yell. So the rest of the night this bugged the hell out of me. I was out of it.
After one dejected glass of Guinness at “O’Donahue’s”, we started walking back toward O’Connell Street. On our way, Steve saw the sign for “Cap’n America’s”.
“Captain America’s! They have neon Elvis!” Steve said.
Indeed they did.
We went into this place chiefly because we knew it would be full of American trash – and it was.
As we walked up the stairs a sign above us with a bald eagle read:
But the treasure of treasures came when we sat at the bar – right in from of neon Elvis. Neon Elvis is a plastic sculpture of his head, and above it is a pink neon halo.
When Steve and I turned toward the TV, we saw that “Wrestlemania” was on.
We left when Andre the Giant was about to take on America’s new cultural hero – Hulk Hogan.
That girl with the huge tits was still burning in my memory.