Saturday, March 26, 2011

How I Mastered Airport Security

Right, I'm slow at posting, I know. Which means I have a lot to talk about (especially when my usual rambling is factored in) but for now, how about the trip from two weekends ago: Dublin, Paris, and Prestwick. Yep, three cities, one weekend, all transfers on planes. The title, I assure you, is true.

By the way, Prestwick is a town in Scotland, which is part of the UK. If you don't know where Dublin or Paris is, I beg of you to take a geography course.

Alright, that being said, Prestwick was the last stop on our journey, so you can forget about it for now. The first stop was Dublin. To be honest, I rather expected it to be a lot like London except a bit smaller and with different accents. I mean the UK and Ireland are quite close, right? Well, I was wrong. The best example I can think of is asking for directions in London versus in Dublin. In London if you ask for directions (which okay I haven't done because I hate doing that even back in the states) people will generally help you unless they don't know or don't have the time or don't speak English. In Dublin you don't ask for directions. Instead, you begin having a conversation with someone you're traveling with about which way you think you should go and a Dubliner eagerly jumps in and gives you directions. Or multiple people do. All in all, people are very friendly.

In Dublin our main agenda (there were four of us who went on this weekend) was to eat lunch in a pub and have Irish stew. Which we accomplished. And also brings me back to the friendliness of Dublin; we were the only ones in there (eating lunch at 11 = abnormal in Dublin) but the lady was very friendly the whole time and towards the end, two police officers came in and said hello to everyone in the pub (by then there were some other people), including the four of us. Besides the pub, we wandered around the main bit of Dublin and then got on a bus to try and get back to where we were supposed to meet the shuttle to the airport. We got on a bus going the wrong direction. Which was interesting in itself, if you ask me. We got to see more of a residential area. And I got to observe that Irish ambulances look a lot like United Kingdom ones, bright yellow. Yeah, probably not interesting to anyone but me...

Eventually, however, we got back and ended up heading for Paris. Oh, and you thought they spoke French in Paris? Well, actually the do. But most of the signs are also in English! I feel as if we've dominated the world. Although I can't tell if it's British or American or Australian or New Zealand or... whatever kind of English. Anyway, we got to our hostel rather late after going on the French tube (where I had a game of guessing how the next stop would be pronounced; usually I was wrong. My French extends no further than ABBA's Voulez Vous). Needless to say, we crashed as soon as our heads hit our pillows. Keep in mind we had woken up at 2:00 to catch a plane from London and then spent the day wandering Dublin.

The next day, one of the girls in our group who had spent a month is Paris before, led us on a tour. First we went to a really high church to look over Paris and then walked to the Moulin Rouge which was actually very near our hostel. From there, we went on the tube and started a route through Paris where we got to see the Effel Tower, the outside of the Lurve, and Notre Dam as well as other gorgeous things I have no idea what the names of are. A lot of them are in my pictures that are on Facebook but I won't bore (or confuse you with my recollections). After Notre Dam, we got back on the tube and headed to the place where we were supposed to meet the airport shuttle.

Now about the tube in Paris versus London. There are no saxophone players on the tube in London. Despite everything else, I think that makes Paris beat London on the underground. London tube carriages are quiet and everyone does their own thing. Paris has noise; people get on to play music for tips. I can't in the slightest bit see this happening in London.

Alright, after Paris was Prestwick meaning we were back in the UK (and had to go through UK's border control). We probably spent the least amount of waking time in Prestwick and yet I'm pretty much in love with the town. It's a LOT smaller than the other cities we saw but it's still definitely not Gilbert. There were actual houses visible, not just flats and apartments but there were also businesses and at least 3 pubs down the main road. Crowded pubs too! We ended up going in one and listening to karaoke (adults doing karaoke too, not just University students). We stayed in the cutest guesthouse and the next morning three of us went for a walk down to the sea (did I mention it was right by the sea? No? Well, I ought to of) and I got to walk along the beach a bit. It didn't feel half as rushed as London but there was still life to it, people were outwardly friendly (versus London where their all quite reserved), there was no need for driving and yet there was room to walk and space out a bit. Honestly, if I had to chose somewhere in the UK to live, it would likely be Prestwick, at least from my limited scope at the moment.

Anyway, that was a short summary of our crazy weekend trip and keep in mind, we went through all of this on budget airlines. So every trip except the flight from Prestwick to London was an international flight meaning passport stamping and every one required going through security. Thus the title because trust me, I am now an expert.

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