Monday, April 29, 2013

Anti-Tourism: Dublin

I've recently discovered that I am a terrible tourist.  Not in the typical way, such as giving snide comments when people don't speak American, or being absolutely guffawed when there isn't a Starbucks I can get my coffee on at every corner, or complaining that my food is just simply too strange and, quite frankly, shit. No no.  I mean that I make plans to go somewhere (and by make plans I mean search Ryanair for the current cheapest flight, review my Facebook friends list to see if I have any friend living in current cheap destination, and book) and stop all thinking processes about the destination until I have to pack.  Then, I arrive and my friend will say "So what do you want to do?" And I stare blankly and the realization hits me... "Oh yeah...There are touristy things to see when you're a tourist, aren't there?"  

But am I a terrible tourist or a really excellent tourist?  Am I lazy or am I actually adventurous?  Do I take the paths bent in the undergrowth or the ones less traveled by?

See, I went to Dublin about a month ago and it was one of my favorite trips so far, yet the single and only 'tourist' spot my friend Andrea and I hit was the Guinness storehouse. (A really awesome brewery, by the way, if you are into breweries or just in general love Guinness [which I don't]).  Apart from a few hours we spent in Howth, I basically saw nothing but pubs, inns, plates of food, and the inside of her awesome host family's home. 

                                 Proof of said tourist experience

In Howth, eating the market goods
The gorgeous views of Howth

What made it so great is that I spent the weekend living more like a local rather than with my face stuffed inside a map just trying to get from attraction to attraction to snap a few photos and get on to the next thing before it got too dark or too cold.  We spent our first and last nights at The Raheny Inn, a "kip" as the Irish say (or at least the Irish in Kilbarrack), and that is where I first realized that the Mexicans were having a run for their money as my favorite people in the world.  I'm head over heels for the Irish.  They're crude, they're honest, they're open, they keep me laughing and they just seem to know how to have a great time.  The minute we came into the pub, every old man bellied up to the bar was keen on finding out who Andrea's new friend was, where I was coming from, and how many pints I wanted. Well, to be fair they didn't really ask how many pints I wanted, they just kept right on ordering in your stereotypical Irish fashion.  We chummed up with the bartenders who Andrea was already acquainted with and made fast friends by the end of the night.  

Andrea and I with her host dad, John.
I felt completely in my element the minute I stepped foot into Andrea's host family's place.  Her host dad immediately started giving me a hard time, her host mom had made an amazing chicken curry dinner for us, and we wasted no time getting down to the pub for a drink.  The whole weekend was glorious; not having to worry about who would mean mug me if I said the F word, no qualms about saying whatever ludicrous thing came to mind, and definitely not caring about striking up conversations with strangers which proves to be a lot more difficult and awkward here in España.  When Sunday came I absolutely did not want to return to Spain and the Spanish, but my wallet and my liver were both saying "Honey, it's time" and the wonderful Éire weekend came to a sad end.  

In conclusion, I am the anti-tourist. I would much rather spend a few days like a local than a few days running myself ragged just to say I saw something that millions of other people have seen too and I think that's the best kind of tourist one can strive to be. 

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