Back In Ireland
A month later, I found myself heading back to Ireland. I decided to stay in the Temple Bar Hotel because it was downtown. I arrived around noon and hoped that my room was cleaned so I could head right into sleep as the flight took me through the night.
Temple Bar Hotel
This hotel's policy is to release the rooms once the proper check-in time is listed when booking. Your room will be ready at 3 pm… ugh. So I store my suitcase there and wander the streets of Dublin, grabbing lunch and heading to the first coffee shop to get online. Three pm took a very long time to arrive.
I got back to the hotel by 3, grabbed my suitcase and room key and asked them to point me to the elevator, only to be told they didn’t have one. So I lug my suitcase up a few flights to the smallest room since my visit to Seoul. It was very small. The bed took up most of the room.
I closed the blinds and climbed into bed. I had a good nap. I had booked into this location for two nights before my flight to the UK. After my rest, I wandered around downtown remembering all the places I have visited in the past. The area I was in is full of bars and restaurants. I started to photograph people who were photographing other people. It was fun to get into the right spot to grab the shot. Street shooting is all about catching the moment.
Fire Alarm Thinking
In the middle of my last night, the fire alarm came on. It was a deafening sound as there was a bell in each room. I stood there in my pyjamas, pondering what I should take. I didn’t hear anyone leaving. It was an odd few minutes of thinking about what I should take. Should I get dressed? Grab my shoes? Passport, wallet, phone, charger, laptop… I put my hand on the door, and it was cold, so I peeked out. A man in the hall asked if I could hear the bell in his room. I said there was a bell in all the rooms. So he asked if my bell was on too. I said they were all on. He asked me what I had done to set off the bell. I said I was in bed. And then the alarm stopped.
So what do you do then? Was it a false alarm? No sounds of fire trucks? Is it okay to let it go? So we headed back to our rooms and contemplated what had happened. According to the front desk, the next day, it was caused by a hot tap being left on for too long.
Off to the airport, I go. Get through security, head to the VIP lounge, and relax before the flight. The flight was delayed for over 2 hours due to mechanical issues. It is only an hour's flight to the UK with no customs officer to meet with. I had booked my arrival one week before my course because I assumed the country would be chaotic because of the King's Coronation; however, upon arrival, I saw very little hoopla. Only a couple of stores had memorabilia.
When I picked up my rental car, I failed to realize with the exchange, it would be close to $5000 for the two weeks, which seemed ludicrous to me. It was too late in the evening to argue, and headed off to Burnham on Crouch. The highways were a breeze; the side roads could be chaotic.
Driving on the Left
I am a novice left-hand driver. I sometimes climb into the passenger seat only to realize the driver's seat is on the other side. However, on the road heading there, I am tired. And when I get off the highway, the roads become narrow and windy. Yet despite this, the speed limit stays the same. It is dark now, and I am travelling a route I have never been on before at a high rate of speed and on the wrong side of the road. This makes it a bit of white knuckle drive.
The speed limit stays close to the highway speed, often 100 kph. As I navigate these side roads, I realize I have numerous cars behind me. I pull off occasionally to allow them to pass. But it's a long weekend, and many people are heading this way.
Ye Olde White Harte Hotel
I finally arrived at my hotel, a bar called Ye Olde White Harte Hotel in Burnham on Crouch. It is 11 pm on a Friday night, so numerous patrons are still in the bar. I meet with the bar owner Victoria, and she tells me that she will put me in their best room for one night, then the next day, I am to go into another room that has a shared bathroom, and then the third night, I will switch back to the original room.
I look at the stairs leading up to the rooms and decide to leave my suitcase in the car till the following morning. The first set of stairs is long and relatively steep; however, the second set is similar to stepping on a carpet-covered ladder. I might be exaggerating a bit, but they were steep. My Suitcase will be fun as it is 57 lbs, enough to un-counter my balance going up these stairs.