Saturday, September 17, 2005

Waterford by Bus

Breakfast at the Mayor Walk B&B is served promptly at 8:30 a.m. Don't expect to come waltzing in at a quarter to 9, because it won't be there. This morning I ate with a couple from northern Idaho-- who actually seemed pretty normal (no white hoods or extra toes), and a couple from France. We had sausage, bacon (thinly sliced ham steaks), and eggs. I was out the door shortly thereafter.
As it was Saturday morning-- early Saturday morning, no one was on the cobblestone streets of Waterford as I made my way past the walled garden of the Presbyterian/Methodist Church (a combination I never thought I'd see), through the city square, past the closing United Colors of Benetton, or onto the Quay. There were a few locals setting up for the Saturday market, but just nuns selling bread, and a ponytailed thinman wearing a wolf t-shirt and selling his wood-carved dragons, crystals, and role-playing game cards.
I caught the 3 bus to the Waterford Crystal factory. The route starts out in front of Kelly's Fine Clothing Department Store for Women, and loops the town every 20 mins. or so. It is a great way to see the town-- even if you have no particular destination. I was the only female on the bus, I was also the only person on the bus (including the driver) under 60 years old. I was greeted with bigs smiles and a couple of winks. At the next stop, another old man gets on and proceeds to greet everyone on the bus. They are all on a first name basis. As we continue through the route, people get on and off, greeting each other and saying farewells. They also talk about people they see walking on the street:
-"Oh, there's Peter, there. Do you see he's got himself a new cane?"
~"I did! He was showin' it off down the pub last night."
-"You know, she used to be a pretty lady, but I much prefer her daughter these days"

It was so cute. Waterford isn't a tiny village, it is an large town with shopping centers, and a strong economy, but it felt so quaint and everyone on the bus wished me luck and told me they hoped I enjoyed my tour of the factory as I left!

Unfortunately, the tour of the factory was more like on of those "luncheons" you have to attend while to get that free weekend in Vail.
Sure, you get to go through the factory, but at every stop, the guide made a point to sell-- even the craftsmen had memorized a bit, telling us to make sure to stop by the gallery and pick out something pretty to keep them in the job. Ick.
But, with my student ID I only paid 4 euro, and I did have fun seeing the town.
Then, I headed back to the Quay to catch the bus to Dunmore East. This is a tiny village in County Waterford. It is a fishing village with a beach, a park, a church, and not much else. But it is so beautiful and there weren't any tourists-- it was almost as if the town couldn't support any kind of tourism. It is that small. It is also very green, the water is very blue and the surrounding rocks, cliffs, and beach staggeringly beautiful. Today was warm and the sun was shining, so I played on the beach, picnicked on the cliffs, and talked to locals. My bus driver there and back was named Percy. Percy had to be about 80 years old, and like most of the inhabitants of Dunmore East, was more difficult for me to understand, than anyone I've ever heard speaking in French. Even in Waterford I've encountered some strong accents, but today was the worst. I felt like a complete idiot, because I had to ask people to repeat themselves several times.
While on the beach-- in my new suede PUMAS (I think I'll regret that one later), I made friends with a couple who lived across the water in Wexford County, and a little boy who was running around the beach completely naked, playing with his big, black dog. Now, it was sunny and warm out, but the water was freezing cold-- even the wet sand was cold (hence the PUMAS), but this kid was begging his mom, "Ma? MMMAAAAA! I want to go in the water with the boats!" His little bum and hands and feet were covered in mud, and he was so happy splashing in the tidal pools.
Tomorrow, I am making my way to Cork and hopefully, good weather and luck will follow:)
I am still having problems with my side bar, I don't know how to pull it back up from the bottom of the page, and I still can't post any of my pictures. But, stay tuned.

One of my favorite websites is Overheard in New York. Today, I bring you Overheard in Ireland:

Tour Guide: Are you Catholic?
Tourist: No, we're American

-- heard in Christ Church Cathedral

Man on street talking to buddies: It's called Ciallis or something like that. It's like the other one, but is supposed to work for days instead of hours.

--heard in Dunmore East.


Blogger Jen said...

The picture is beautiful. I would love to see more.

3:26 AM  
Blogger Adeptus said...

I haven't been in Waterford for a long time. I was just thinking about the crystal makers saying things like "buy something pretty to keep them in a job". They were probably serious, as there were alot of jobs lost in Waterford Crystal a month or two ago. The company is a huge international brand now (Waterford Wedgewood PLC), and as such has to "rationalise". There's not the demand for fine crystal as there used to be, so they've been changing their design focus to contemorise a bit.

Cork should be fun. But the accent is quite different from Waterford. You may have difficulties with the old men if you ask for directions :oD Fun people though. I lived in a small town 20 miles north of Cork city for a while about 13 years ago, was great! :oD

4:42 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

Yes, the accent is quite different! I wasn't prepared for just how. I'm finding that everyone I encounter "is good people." Very friendly, very genuine-- or very good at faking it:)

9:56 PM  

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