History repeats

My visits to Belfast have remained entirely consistent. Owing to a rather confusing street layout, I ended up walking around the neighborhood to find the taxi this morning. This led to a sequence of events whereby we arrived at the ferry terminal at 7:15am after every other passenger had boarded.

The gatekeeper asked us if we already had tickets and looked more than a little crestfallen when we said no. The proceeding comment from the (rather weary) ticket agent to her coworker, “are we still open for selling tickets?” did not inspire much hope in us either. The coworker, on the other hand responded with a cherry “oh yes” and we buoyed. The rather deflated ticket agent began the ticketing process with a weary sigh and a series of visual daggers. When I requested the 30% discount allowed by our Eurail passes the poor woman was brought to the edge of her worldly patience. Unbeknownst to me, the effort required for her to apply the discount more than doubled the task of issuing the tickets.

Oh, and the ferry was leaving at 7:30am.

We were directed, corralled, encouraged, prompted, and radioed onto the boat just before the ramp was raised to halt further boarding. We no more than sat down when the captain’s announcements began and the ship began to rumble out to sea. Being old enough to remember the thrill of being the last car on the ferry between P.E.I. and New Brunswick, I enjoyed our early morning adventure with a touch of nostalgia and no small amount of relief.

Our last visit to Belfast involved a rushed trip from the train terminal to Larne to catch a similar ferry. Like this trip, I saw the train station, the inside of a taxi, and a hurried run through the ferry terminal. This visit was a slight improvement for me as I was able to enjoy the comforts of Egyptian cotton in the period between train and ferry.

Jan and I are now planning on a way to return to Northern Ireland. The taxi driver suggested coming back in May for the weather and for motorcycle racing (he was an avid racer and his son was a sponsored rider that was second in his age group–he showed me pictures of his bike while we drove to the terminal this morning; apparently it will manage 85mph in first gear).

I must return to this place.

My Birthday in Belfast

Yesterday was my birthday. I got to go out with mom. We went to a tea house for tea. It was the first time since I left home that I got to have waffles. With them I got whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Then we went to look for a chocolate cheesecake. We had to get a lemon cheesecake. When we got back I got to help make supper. We had salad that I made, chicken and salmon in the salad. I had a great day

Egyptian cotton

I have been out of commission for a little while. In fact, I have seen only two things in Belfast so far: the train station (generic) and the apartment (spectacular). We were all feeling iffy in Dublin and I thought going out a few times to walk around the city and see the sights in the cool weather was a good idea. In fact it was an excellent idea … at the time. It, however, led to the aforementioned week spent inside the apartment and primarily in bed. I am out of bed now–just in time to pack and get ready to go to Edinburgh. I have every hope of taking a look at Belfast sometime today.

Now, you might suggest that being mostly useless in bed (or perhaps, if you are being kind, being in mostly useless and in bed) is not an unknown phenomena for me. This may all be true, but I have never been in such a state in such comfort. I will not judge all Egyptian cotton by the lovely bedding that covered the navigable bounds of my erstwhile convalescence; but it was wonderful. Being ill made it impossible to go to the Giant’s Causeway (I have now missed it twice in fifteen years and am very disappointed–as are the rest of the family) and to visit Enniskillen (the home of some of Janet’s ancestors–also disappointment) but I have had the enviable pleasure of discovering the comforts and joy of Egyptian cotton bedding. The contrast between the threadbare linnen in our Dublin apartment and the bedding in this apartment could not be more black and while (or semi-transparent and white). I love this apartment.

This also brings me to one of the surprises, or perhaps better stated, unknowns of the trip: “What is it like in Belfast?” The last time we passed through Belfast was in the 1990s when things were somewhat tense (not as tense as they were in the 1970s, but still tense) and even then we only drove through from the train station to the ferry terminal. Even before we came up here there were some incidents in Derry involving things going boom and vehicles burning that made us a tad nervous. We did not know what to expect. In fact, we knew surprisingly little about Belfast at all beyond the conflict and violence that has made the news for decades.

It has turned out that Belfast is doing quite well, thank you very much. People are struggling with the economic downturn (banking and real estate) but not as much as in Dublin. There are some very well-to-do areas and some that are not. People are capitalizing on the history of conflict by offering political tours of the city and things appear to be very much … stable. In my opinion, most people (worldwide) just want to get on with living. This appears to be happening here. The concerns of the day are interest rates and government debt and less oriented toward violence and fighting. The depth of my analysis comes from watching television news programs (primarily BBC and RTE so my viewpoint is skewed) but I like to think that the halloween party the girls attended was more indicative of life in Belfast than plots and violence. I intend to do my best to maintain my illusions.

I am now off to start packing for our journey tomorrow. If I do not get to see more of Belfast (beyond my traditional train station and ferry terminal visits) I will be returning when I can truly find out about this place.

Halloween party at a mall in Belfast

Last night I went to a Halloween party. At the party there was face painting and a scavenger hunt. You had to look for spiders in certain shops. When we found the spider we got to take a treat from a bucket. I got my face painted as my costume. Before we went to the party in the mall, we went out to eat at the mall. We went to a restaurant on at the mall. It was an awesome party at the mall in Belfast.

Going in to Town with mom

Today I went into town. I went on a city bus that was not a double-decker bus. Some of the city buses are double-decker bus like we used to have back home for tours of Charlottetown. We went out for lunch then we went to a book store and got I Shall Wear Midnight. The book cost some pounds. Mom and I found a market in the same building as the restaurant. I had a great time out with mom.

Halloween Hooray

Yeaterday I went to downtown Belfast, to get my Halloween costume for a party tomorrow in downtown Belfast. I bet you know what Sarah is going to dress up as, but not me. She is going to be a gypsy queen. I’m not going to tell you just yet what I’m going to be. Instead, I’m going to give you hidden clues in this post. If you want to guess, please write your comment before you read this whole post please. Oh did that sound like a threat? I’m sorry if it did. My hat goes over my mind sometimes. {abracadabra} Now you will tell me what you are going to be for Halloween in a comment. Now for my riddle hint.

Some nights are black, and some are white with stars. Mine are not one or the other. Mine are full of brooms and spells, but not all my nights. Other nights are full of people and a normal night sky.

Do you know what I am yet tell me in a comment soon because my costume will be known after I say a weird spell

-/:;()$&@.,?!’,[]{}#%^*+=_\|~<>€£¥.,?!’,roromono-/:;()$&@.,?!’,[]{}#%^*+=_\|~<>€£¥.,?!’,

I’m going to be a which.

Going on a walk to the grocery store in Belfast

Today I went to the store with Robin and mom. Robin and I found some Halloween costumes. The path we walked on doesn’t allow dogs. I had a great day today. I think that Belfast is an awesome place if you are on at trip with your family or a school trip. I have start to get souvenirs when we go to a new city around the world. We may go to Austria. A bag for packing groceries are cost us 10 pence each (that is like cents to us). I really like it in this part of Northern Ireland.

Coming to Belfast( leaving Dublin)

Today I came to Belfast. I came on the train. I got to ride in a taxis with 4 seats; two are looking forwards and two are looking backwards. This is a different way to ride in a car. I came into the house and got to pick out my bedroom. I got a room that is really close to the stairs. If you have been in Belfast, what do you think I should do with my family? I can’t what to see more of the world.

Moving day

Today we moved to Belfast, by train. On the way I colored in a designing book. On the train I got a bottle of water that lasted me to the end of the ride. When we got off the train we got a cab to our house. The driver was a nice man; the cab was nice too, but too crowded, in my mind. The cab driver did not know where our house was. So it took us a while to get to our house. When we did get to our home the lady we are renting this house from was there and she showed us around then left. Then we unpacked and ate then wrote posts.

That was our day, a busy one.

Going to Enniskillen and Dublin (leaving Enniscrone)

We are going to go and see more of the world. We are just getting board here because it is too small. We have relatives that were from Ireland. When we are done with our time in Enniscrone we will visit Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and Avoc in Wicklow Co. Ireland. My grandmother’s grandmother was from Enniskillen. Her name was Selina Upham Fowler. My great grandfather Laurie Birch’s relatives came to PEI from the Vale of Avoc Co. Wicklow which is pretty close to Dublin. When I get there I am going to have a nice time seeing where my relatives came from. We were going to go to Enniskillen yesterday, but Mom’s back was too sore.

We are now planning to visit from Belfast at the end of the month. We are leaving Enniscrone a week from today and will spend a week in Dublin before going to Belfast and then to Edinburgh. The apartment in Edinburgh has bunk beds so Robin is taking the top bunk and I am taking the bottom bunk!