Friday, 4 September 2009

Mists and Potatoes

*Grumpy grumbles of a foreigner suffering from cultural shock*

Three things never change when you fly to Ireland – the plane is full of non-Irish crying babies, you land next to a field of cows, and it’s always pissing rain. From the warmth of Russian summer (funny but it’s +25 there) I go to the lifestyle of jacket-over-scarf-over-long sleeve. Heck, I’m even wearing thermals for the first time in my life…

Someone told me that Italian women come here for that light drizzle from the Atlantic; supposed to be good for skin. I imagine wrinkle-tanned loud big-mouthed Italian women in huge dragonfly sunglasses trying to cool down their skin under the mist. The air in Dublin will always smell to me like a mixture of gasoline, potatoes (I believe the Guinness factory is to blame for that) and that strange washing powder my boyfriend’s ma uses for clothes.

We went to Dun Laoighre (I bet you won’t guess how this one reads) for the Festival of World Cultures, which added to my initial cultural shock. In two day I learnt that most of the cultures eat same old curry or variants of it with veggies and rice, that drinking is the favorite pastime of any nationality on this planet and that dancing is not what I believed it to be. I digested the heavy Irish bread-based cuisine under heavy Irish skies along with heavy Irish women, undressed according to the weather somewhere in Spain, and doing salsa at the Harbour-Plaza.

I guess it’s all my Russian background. Raised on ballet and constant criticism and perfectionism, I just can’t get this idea of ‘ah, we’re just having fun’ and ‘dance is for all sizes and ages’....I mean, it sounds terrible, because the idea is great, but some aesthetic part of me revolts against seeing a woman with a wardrobe-shaped arse kicking legs in the air and giving me a great view of her lingerie preferences.
Overall, the festival reminded me of our tent get-together in some rainy forest but without actual tents and with much more drinking going on.

Dun Laoighre itself is a lovely town by the sea, with areas nearby that turned out to be posh homes to U2, Enya and some other local celebrities. These respected people are obviously extremely patriotic. They are ready to spend millions on a house with a view of this northern sea, which welcomes you, not unlike some Viking ancestor, with a refreshing blast of icy wind in the face, no matter what season or time.

Yesterday we drove up to the mountains for a view of Dublin at night (which is something worth seeing). The associations that come to mind are – golden Christmas lights thrown into dark water, a huge (and obviously radioactive) spider web or some exotic piece of jewelry on black velvet.

The road was lovely creepy, one of those where trees arch above you ready to swallow the car any moment. There are no lamps or light around, so you only see about 10m of the road ahead. ( I think one of the houses was called “Broken” – sounds German and like something Tim Burton would love).

Orange road signs look like weird overgrown mushrooms or dwarfs hiding in the bushes, peeping at you. With all the rains these forests get, it feels like little ancient stone walls barely hold the green masses from spilling on to the road and consuming it.

It rained all night and day after – I feel that very soon I’ll sprout some green tentacles and grow moss on my north side.

(first photo by Akrito Kurosawa)


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