Saturday, April 04, 2009

Laundry Day and an Afternoon in Dublin

In an effort to pack light, we only brought about half a week's worth of clothes each with my plan to find a laundromat midway through our stay in Dublin. So I got up on Wednesday March 25 with high hopes of getting it done relatively quickly. Roxi had even given me helpful literature from the conference that listed approximate locations of do-it-yourself laundries in the area. Unfortunately there were no addresses listed and Google Maps was unable to pinpoint any for me either. So, with my backpack full of dirty laundry, I inquired at the front desk and was given directions a few blocks up the now familiar Pearse Street. In all of our walks along Pearse Street I had never noticed a do-it-yourself washateria, but I went a ahead and followed the directions anyway.

After walking for a good twenty minutes and only having passed a fluff and fold laundry and dry cleaner, I decided to turn around and try the other way. I continued on for a good ten minutes past the hotel in the other direction and the location of a laundry seemed less and less likely with each step. So I made the decision to go back to the hotel and hand wash our clothes in the bath tub and hope for the best. So after an hour wasted, I was back where I started, crouching over the bath tub with my sleeves rolled up, agitating a mixture of hot water, soap and dirty clothes. I tried my best to do a thorough job cleaning, making sure go through several cleaning iterations of soap and hot water followed by several rinse iterations of cold water. After about forty-five minutes, I was as done as I was going to be. Then it was just a matter of wringing out the clothes and trying to arrange them for optimal drying on the convenient rack in the shower.

Roxi only had to endure a half day of conference proceedings on Wednesday with the second half of the day free for the attendees to see some of the sights of Dublin. As one would imagine, Roxi was pretty exhausted from the proceedings and didn't want to try to do too much, so rather than take an organized tour, we opted for a few simple things that were fairly low impact but still resulted in a lot more walking than we anticipated.

After a late lunch of deli sandwiches, we made the short walk from Trinity College to Merrion Square specifically to see the statue of Oscar Wilde. Being a big Wilde fan, Roxi was very excited to see the statue after learning of it's existence on a post card earlier in the week. I happened to see it when I was on my hop-on hop-off bus tour on Monday so I knew the quickest and easiest way to get us there from school.

Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square

The most life-like statue I've ever seen.

We headed back to the hotel, cutting through the campus of Trinity College and stopping in to visit the Science Gallery on the way. It was a brief exhibit mostly covering three-dimensional renderings of Trinity College and Dublin. The best hands-on exhibit was an interactive game between two people where the object was to move a ball from the middle of the table to the opponent's side. The difficulty was that you could not use your hands or any other part of your body for that matter except for your brain! Each side of the table had a headband with sensors in them that would make contact with your forehead. After pressing the start button on the game, the objective of control was to relax yourself so that your stress activity was at a minimum. This brain activity was displayed on a screen for each participant. The ball would move in the direction of the less relaxed participant. After winning a couple of rounds, I was sure that the machine wasn't working correctly and suggested that Roxi and I switch sides just to check. But Roxi wanted to do one more match as we were, so I reattached the sensors and was promptly defeated. We realized that for the previous matches, my sensors were not attached as tightly giving me an unfair advantage since less data was being transmitted to the machine!

When we finished with the exhibit, instead of going back to the hotel as planned, I decided to bring Roxi to Temple Bar to show her a store that I had seen the day before that I knew she would appreciate. Roxi loves vintage and second hand clothes shopping, so when I saw this store on my previous trip through Temple Bar, I thought it would be a great place to show her. Once inside, she wasn't disappointed. If not for the limits of our luggage, we would have left with a lot more items of clothes than we ended up with!

While approaching the store, we ran into a movie production filming on the streets of the district. As exciting as that sounds, it was more frustrating than anything. In trying to cross the public street to the clothing store, a production assistant asked us and others not to walk on the other side of the street as they were about to shoot a scene. Anyone who wants to get into the movies should see the hell that is a PA's life for just a few minutes. This one guy was getting orders on a walkie talkie to keep the street clear of non-extras and having a hell of a time doing it in the very touristy area. Meanwhile, I'm sure his superiors were very angry that he wasn't doing his job. No thanks! I don't need the stress of a movie producer mad at me because I can't keep pedestrians off of a public street and all for crappy pay! I don't even know what they were filming but we weren't about to hang around for very long in hopes of seeing someone famous. Odds are it was a British production and we wouldn't even recognize the actors anyway.

After the trip to Temple Bar, we made the walk back to the hotel for a snack, some rest and relaxation. We spent a good couple of hours just watching TV and lounging around. Of course, on vacation, there is little time for rest, so not long after, we were back on our feet headed for an evening service at Christ Church Cathedral. There were the usual readings and prayers, but we wanted to attend because we had learned from a priest on Sunday that Wednesday and Thursday services are Choral Evensongs. We weren't disappointed as the choir from Christ Church is world-renowned. When Handel's Messiah made it's world premiere in Dublin, the choir was composed of singers from Christ Church and St. Patrick's Cathedrals.

When the service was over, it was very early in the evening, but we were tired and as usual, we both had a big ahead of us, so we decided to go back to the hotel for another relaxing visit to the spa. We were pretty lazy after our swim and didn't even think about dinner until very late in the evening when I bought a couple of sandwiches at the bar. It was all that either of us really needed at that point though. And so with that, we went to sleep with our very early alarm set for the next morning.

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