Sunday, August 26, 2007

the land of little green men, part seven

day seven: the continuing search for fame, fortune, and that rich man

by this point, i was having to sit on my suitcase (which i'd already expanded a couple of days before) in order to close it. this, obviously, would not do. so, out came handy collapsed box number two, as well as the roll of tape, and i set to work transferring recent purchases (i mean, ahem dirty clothing left behind on holiday) into this box for shipping home.

our first stop after leaving castlebar was at the town of cong, in county mayo.

undoubtedly, you have heard of cong. not because of the giant monkey who didn't know how to spell, but because of that timeless classic, "the quiet man".

what's this? you've never heard of "the quiet man", either? ah, well- you, my friend, are truly missing out. apparently this movie was so utterly fantastic that you have led a truly sheltered life if you've never popped it into your vhs or dvd player. the town is still talking about it, over 50 years after its release, which means that either it's a piece of celluloid perfection, or else the town of cong is really hard up for tourist attractions.

however, i'm afraid all of the "quiet man" this and "quiet man" that left me unimpressed. however, in one of the "quiet man" shops, i saw a thing of great joy and beauty. i later spotted it in other sizes, more suitable for gift giving, but the first was certainly the best. unfortunately, i couldn't figure out how to get it home intact.

this particular shop was run by a little old woman who'd forgotten to put in her dentures that morning, but i think i still made out something about her meeting john wayne personally. she was sharing various "quiet man" tidbits with another member of our tour group, but i was not convinced she was suitably enough distracted for me to be able to fiddle with my camera long enough to get a picture of this wonderful gift.

mama, carefully attuned to my needs, as ever, was kind enough to run back into the store and snap this picture. feel free to bask in its glory for as long as you like:

is it just me, or does the lamp in "a christmas story" pale in comparison?

aside from "the quiet man", cong's other claim to fame is its abbey, which dates to the 12th century.

before leaving town, we visited the facilities (slow to flush, but toilet paper and seats were included, so overall a good pick.), and shipped box number two- which, for some strange and bizarre reason, wound up costing 52 euros, despite only weighing maybe a couple of kilograms. (furthermore, you would think that would be enough to buy my package a first-class cabin on whatever ship it sailed on. however, since it took three weeks to arrive after shipping, i'm wondering if maybe it wound up on someone's canoe, instead.)

on the way to galway, we stopped to take pictures of lough corrib, which is the second largest lake in ireland, and we also stopped briefly at the connemara marble factory, just outside of galway.

galway is the third largest city in ireland, after dublin and cork. the main center of galway is eyre square, and the roundabouts in town are named for the 14 norman families who took over the city.

the main street in galway is for pedestrians only, and was reminiscent of las ramblas in barcelona, right down to the buskers.

since you're supposed to pay to take a busker's picture, i'm afraid i'll have to go back and drop a few cents into this guy's bucket the next time i'm in galway. (oops)

in retrospect, i should have also paid a visit to madam bridget, who read palms (sometimes while even looking at them!) in exchange for 5 euros. i wonder if she would have predicted that i'd find a 10 euro note in the parking lot of our hotel while walking back after dinner that evening.

in addition to living statues, the main street also featured multiple musicians, artisans, scantily clad girls who'd let you paint them for a small donation ("take part in body art", the sign said), and a guy who was either a very casually dressed interpretive dancer...or a drunkard.

one of the musicians caught my eye. he had instruments, like the others. he had a dog, as did some of the others. he had an open guitar case, like the others.

i could not resist taking a picture. when i asked if i could get a picture of him with bodhi, he said we'd do one better. i was handed an instrument, bodhi a pick, and we had our musical debut right there, in the middle of galway.

he "plinked", and when he pointed at me, i "plonked". a crowd gathered, and despite my fear of audiences (hence the stand-up comedy career that lasted a whopping thirty seconds- the time it took me to realize, with horror, that i'd actually have to be onstage in front of people), i made it through the entire song...including our finale with bodhi, whom i started to gather up and stow in my camera case until an italian tourist in the crowd asked to take a picture of.....go figure.

i'll let you kow when we start the world tour. cds were available "on line"- as in the cardboard discs he'd strung up on a string behind us.

actually, i think that, were i to become a busker, i'd take the easy way out- find an old, pouffy dress, paint it (and myself) silver, and stand very, very still for several hours.

in the next captivating chapter: i learn the meaning of "international stop",as well as yet another off color limerick, the meaning of "fitz", and that it is possible to lighten up an otherwise stuffy photo without the photographer noticing.

1 comment:

Kal said...

that lamp would have earned a place of honor in my front window...