Last week my friend Hasib came to visit me. I had just returned from Scotland and my cold/flu was finally subsiding. I was back to work with plenty to do. I was both relieved and sad to find out that the design of the website I had been toiling with the week before had been completed and completely changed in my two day absence. You can view the website Here. This is New Island's website, and they wanted me to do a redesign. Granted I am not a web designer, web author, or designer, but they thought I was fit for the job because I know photoshop pretty well. So I ended up making about a bazillion mockups, all under the critical eye of one employee or another, all to have my designs completely botched. To be fair, I didn't even like the designs they were having me do, but I was still a little irked when I found out my headaches and constant criticism were for nothing. C'est la vie in the workplace, though. Especially in a creative environment such as a publishing company.
So, with work back to being boring, I couldn't wait for Hasib to come and to actually go out and spend time in Dublin for the first time in three weeks. I was so excited for this weekend that I even decided it was finally time to get a haircut, after five months of abstaining from hairdressers. This ended up being a mistake because the cheapest haircut I could find was 45 euro. An interesting thing about Ireland, though, is that if you want to cut the price in half, you can opt out of the shampooing beforehand. I was not keen on this idea, though, and got the full on deal. I was ready for an awesome weekend.
Hasib got here on a Wednesday night. Since his flight was supposed to arrive at 7:30, I didn't think I could make it to the airport in time (yes, it does take me that long to get home!) I emailed him detailed instructions on how to get to the bus stop by my apartment, and then if we could not find each other, how to get to my apartment from there. I went to the bus stop at exactly the right time and began waiting for him. It was a normal Dublin night, if not a little on the warm side, and I enjoyed the fresh air (without rain!) Every time a bus drove by I jumped in excitement and nervousness. After four buses went by with no Hasib, I began to get worried. I began walking up and down the road, thinking I had missed him. By my calculations, he would have gotten on the bus at 8:45 and it was already 9:30. The bus ride is only about 20 minutes from the airport. Then, I got a call from an unknown number, I answered it hoping it was Hasib and it was! He had somehow managed to miss me entirely and get to my apartment. I galloped the usual ten-minute walk home and got back to a very travel worn but alive Hasib. We embraced and I served him a whopping plate of spaghetti I had earlier prepared for him. For the first half hour we could not shut our mouths, trying to vomit out all of our adventures at each other. My flatmates were amused by our rushed excitement and longing for a familiar face. I wasted no time in introducing Hasib to Irish culture. That night I had planned on a bunch of people going out to a local pub. Since all of us had to work the next day, we stayed near the complex and went to a very Irish and very old man pub. I straightaway ordered Hasib a Guinness...how can you go to Ireland and not have a Guinness at least once? The night was very laid back and everyone chatted like old friends. We got a little tipsy and returned home by midnight to get a good night's sleep.
Since I had to work the next day, my flatmate and I gave Hasib a crash course in navigating Dublin. He would be on his own in the city until 5 pm on Thursday until I could collect him at a well-known meeting spot. The next day I could hardly concentrate at work. I was worried about Hasib, I was excited for the evening's plans, and I was excited for what I would get to do at work later that day. One of my jobs is working for Brookside, which is a book distributor. One of the jobs for Michael, my supervisor, is going around to bookshops in Ireland and trying to sell them books straight from the publisher, mainly academic books. On Thursday, Michael was finally bringing me along to one of these meetings. So, I not only got to get out of the office and into the city but I got to learn about what Michael does when he’s not in the office. Although I highly doubt I will ever become a Book Representative, it was interesting to see Michael trying to sell to bookshops. He brings a big folder full of book descriptions and he and the buyer go through the entire thing and Michael explains the book to the buyer at the store and the buyer will then decide whether or not to buy it. What the buyer has to keep in mind is if there is an audience for the book, how many books to purchase, how much room the bookshop has to store the books, etc. After going to two bookshops, one visit successful and the other visit completely unsuccessful (the buyer forgot about the meeting and left the shop) Michael and I got some tea at a café. At 5, I headed out to meet Hasib.
After finding an excitable and slightly wet Hasib at Trinity College (it was, of course, raining), we purchased Hasib a bus pass and headed back to my apartment to eat dinner. For Thursday night, I had planned on taking Hasib to go see a live band at a bar. After much deliberation within the group planning on going and after Hasib and I had listened to a lot of horrible home-recordings on Myspace, we decided to go see The Bionic Rats in Temple Bar. You can listen to some of their songs by clicking the link. They are a reggae/ska band. We all met at my friend’s apartment before leaving. One of our friends ended up having a family emergency right before leaving, so our group was split in two and only 6 of us ended up going out. Two of the people were two new EUSA girls from Kansas University. After doing a little bar hopping, we finally ended up at the Bionic Rats show. The music was absolutely perfect. Their sound was amazing and just what we were looking for that night. Hasib, Dave and I all started skanking away (click on the link…it’s hilarious) the night. The two girls that came out were equally as fun and we had a very chill night of dancing.
The next day Hasib and I decided that the one touristy thing we’d really like to do together would be to go and see the Irish Museum of Modern Art: IMMA. Dave decided to come along on our journey and we headed out around 1 pm to try and find the Museum. Since the museum is in a part of town none of us had been to before and we were relying on my map that doesn’t give street names, we obviously got lost. The museum is in a pretty sketchy part of town so we began to get nervous. We were walking down alleyways (due to poor directions from a man in a home improvement store) and past flats with broken glass windows and loud rap music. The people we would pass on the street would stop and stare at us, asking with their eyes “what are you doing here” and we would scurry by trying not to make eye contact. What was odd was that in this very poor neighborhood we walked by an advertisement for a 100 euro Justin Timberlake concert.
We finally found our way to the Museum. It was between 3:30 and 4 by the time we actually got there. The building was very impressive; it was tall and made of large white cement or stone bricks. We started walking in and were stopped in our tracks upon seeing what lay in the courtyard. The cobblestones of the courtyard were scattered with a very unique sculpture garden. Some of the sculptors I recognized because Modern Sculpture is probably my favorite art form. Here are some pictures from walking around the courtyard.
Once inside, we had about an hour before the museum closed. Unfortunately one wing of the museum was closed and we only got to see one exhibit. It was still awesome, though, because the exhibit was almost entirely video installations. We would sit in very dark rooms and watch a ten-minute art piece and then move on to the next room. I unfortunately couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but the memories are awesome and I plan to go back with my journal. Oh, and after leaving, we found this cutie:
After the museum we found our way back to the city centre and did some touristy shopping. As is now customary with Dave and I, we went and got some shwarma…that’s how we do.
Then, we were off to the apartment to begin a crazy night that didn’t end for me until 6:30 am the next day.