May. 17th, 2008

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I drove somewhere in the order of 500 miles in the last two days, from Dublin to Cahersiveen (via Mitchelstown, if you're interested in poking at Google Maps). Some notes on the trip:
  • Dublin has mountains. Kerry has Mountains. Yes, they're all under 3,600 feet tall, but in Dublin, the mountains huddle together for mutual support, while in Kerry you see mountains that seem to say, "Behold, I can touch the sea AND the sky!".
  • Special warning signs, such as "Military Activity", "Area prone to ice in winter months", "Dangerous bridge/bend/junction ahead", and, er, SHEEP. Yes. You will not generally find these in the Rules of the Road.
  • Multiple instances of road works with temporary traffic lights, which, being non-functional, are accompanied by the guys with the stop/go lollipop signs.
  • One of the aforementioned lollipop men, walking up the middle of the road at the head of a line of traffic, sign over his shoulder offering "Go" to the following cars (I was the second car in the line). Suddenly, he flips the sign around, we all stop, and the reason is revealed: the gaffer's car is coming in the opposite direction.
  • A bike lane on the Kilorglin/Cahersiveen road. For half a mile. With no trivial means of getting a bike there; and more to the point, the road is signficantly wider at that point than other places where a bike lane might actually be useful.
  • EVERYONE in town seemed to know the wedding I was attending was on. I know it's a small town, but really now.
  • Bad Salesman: stops at service station, makes pitch to guy behind counter who is, essentially, a desk jockey with no real power, then offers to leave a card for the manager before admitting that he doesn't actually have any cards with him.
  • Bad B&B: "what time do you want breakfast?" "what time do you serve until?" "noon" "Ok, 11:30 will do me". Much later, I discover signs in several locations declaring that breakfast stops at 11, and this indeed turns out to be the case.
  • The variety of surfaces that make up an Irish "National Route" - at one point, I was convinced they'd actually ploughed the road; ten minutes later I was on a broad, smooth expanse of motoring joy.
  • Bad Detour: it caught me both ways. Driving into Mallow I encounted a detour around the north of the town, which concluded at the Limerick road, where the signs offered either Cork or Limerick as destinations, neither of which I was headed for. And of course in my confusion I took the wrong one (Limerick) before getting myself back on track (Cork turns out to be Cork plus Other Routes). On the way back, I again messed up my choice of exit from a roundabout and wound up in the town centre, and once more encountered a diversion sign, which directed me to... a car park. Well, not quite, but the diversion signs consisted of one at the town centre indicating that I should go to some street or another, and ... that's it. I eventually found my way to the road home using Douglas Adams' Zen Navigation - follow someone who looks like they know where they're going. The fact that the car had a foreign registration made the exercise that much more fun.
  • On the second last roundabout before home, I tucked in behind an honest-to-goodness DELOREAN. Man, those things still look sweet.
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Three people, aged roughly late teens, early twenties, mid-forties, hesitantly calculating 200 - 4.

In front of a fully electronic cash register.


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