The Charm of Dublin

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Ireland isn’t on a lot of people’s wish lists, but I was eager to see the beauty of the country. After strutting my way through Amsterdam and Bruges, I made my way to Dublin on RyanAir. RyanAir probably wasn’t my best idea. It was a short trip, and I didn’t have any problems with being overcharged for luggage, but I couldn’t even find the check-in counter. Since I spent so much time walking around the terminal searching for it, I had to rush through the rest of Amsterdam’s airport with no time to take a break in a lounge.

Once, I arrived, I used Aircoach to get to my hotel in Ballsbridge. It was pretty simple, and I didn’t have to book in advance. Once I stepped out of the airport, they were located right out front and to the left. I told them where I was going, paid for my ticket, and waited about ten minutes for the bus to arrive. It cost €14 roundtrip, and there was a space under the bus to store the heavy luggage. The bus wasn’t crowded at all, and was pretty quiet. There was wifi, and a charging port.

One thing worth noting is that Ireland drives on the left side of the road. My brain never quite adapted to it, and I was always looking in the wrong lanes before I crossed the street. There was no way that I would have been able to drive in that country, but I noticed that a lot of travel packages to Ireland come with a rental car.

Navigating Ireland was pretty easy to do without a car. I mainly used the bus and taxis. There was a specific Leap card for tourists, which provided access to the buses and metro. The problem with this was it was only sold at certain places, and all of those places close around 5 pm. I wasn’t able to obtain one until my third day in Dublin because of this. The first day, I arrived right after it had closed. I spent my second day at the Cliffs of Moher, so wasn’t able to get it then either. They offer 1-, 3-, and 7-day cards, but I would do the math first to determine if it is even worth it. ​The buses run regularly, and I never had to wait more than five minutes for one to arrive. They were all pretty full, but not extremely crowded. I always had a seat.

Since, I couldn’t get a Leap visitor card, I chose to walk on the first two days. Sure, I could have taken a taxi, but my feet worked just fine. I strolled from Ballsbridge down to Temple Bar on my first night in the city. taking everything in. Dublin really is a gorgeous city. I did a musical pub crawl that first night. The concept was just what one would expect – traditional Irish music and several pints of beer at local pubs. There was even a special riverdance performance. I don’t drink beer, but I think I would have been more impressed if I did. Continue reading

A Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher

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When I saw a photo of the Cliffs of Moher, I knew I needed to visit Ireland. It was just beautiful, and I wanted to witness it for myself. While I was in Dublin, booked the Cliffs Of Moher, Atlantic Edge Ocean Walk & Galway City Day Tour with Wild Rover tours. The bus was equipped with wifi, and our guide was entertaining. He walked down the bus and chatted with every passenger. We spoke for a while about the beauty of Haiti, and the time he got high in Jamaica and almost missed his bus.

They don’t mention this in the tour description, but we stopped for a break at the Obama gas station before we arrived at the cliffs. I didn’t know this was a thing, as I was entertained by the fact that it existed in the Irish countryside.

When we arrived at the cliffs, our tour guide recommended that we walk to the area with the best view right away in case the weather worsens. The hazy fog blocked any clear view of the cliffs, and I was disappointed because that was the most convincing reason for me to visit Ireland. I kept walking along the trail, glancing at the sky every once in a while. The haze was moving slowly, but I could tell that clear skies were approaching.

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A Day Tour to Northern Ireland

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I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t know Northern Ireland was a part of the U.K. and not Ireland. So when our tour bus was halfway to our destination, I was surprised to hear the tour guide announce something about having our passports. My heart sunk immediately because I didn’t bring it. I’m usually good about these types of things, but I didn’t know it was needed. What were they going to do? Throw me off the bus at the border? Shouldn’t that have been something they checked before I even got on the tour bus?

“Oh, shit!” the guy seated next to me exclaimed as he turned to his wife to announce that he didn’t bring the family’s passports with him. I didn’t feel so bad at that moment. At least I’d be sitting at the border with other people. I realized at that moment that the entire bus had gotten silent because no one had their passports with them.

“I’m just kidding!” our tour guide said in an Irish accent after a long pause, and there was a huge sigh of relief all over the bus. A distinct border between Ireland and Northern Ireland didn’t even exist. Bruh, you can’t play with people’s emotions like that!

My trip to Northern Ireland with Wild Rover tours included a trip to Giants Causeway, Belfast City & Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge. I normally don’t use tours because I like to go at my own pace, and I like to visit an attraction before the busload of tourist arrive. However, I used this company for Northern Ireland and my trip to the Cliffs of Moher as well. One thing I noticed about Wild Rover was that they had problems overbooking. There were two pickup locations in Dublin for the tours, but the bus usually filled up at the first location. There was an instance where a couple that arrived at the second location couldn’t do the tour because the bus was already filled. They were furious because they had already paid and planned for the day. The guide explained that the company had seen a surge in bookings, and hadn’t been handling it well. The issue may have been resolved by now, but I would arrive early to the first pickup location just in case.

When we made a break stop at a gas station on our way to Belfast, our tour guide recommended we buy something for lunch there because of the time constraints and the lack of available food options at the causeway. There was a restaurant at Giant’s Causeway, but he warned that they moved slowly and most of the time would have been spent eating lunch and not viewing the causeway. I heeded his warning and grabbed a random sandwich.

The first part of the tour started in Belfast. There was the option to take the black taxi tour or visit the Titanic museum. I chose the black taxi tour without a second thought because I hadn’t had any interest in the Titanic since fourth grade. Everyone except for the family seated behind me took the black taxi tour as well.

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Find a Friend

IMG_8389Solo in Dublin, I hadn’t been on Irish soil for more than a few hours before I decided to leave my hotel and grab some food. I had been running late for my flight out of Amsterdam earlier, so I didn’t get a chance to eat that day. I walked over to this burger joint in Ballsbridge and found a table inside for lunch. Once comfortably seated, I glanced around at my surroundings and noticed another black woman also sitting alone at a booth adjacent to me. She had her head down while looking at her phone, and her overall vibe gave me the impression that she was on holiday. I was wondering if she was American because she was rocking a small afro and a shirt that said something quirky.

I ordered and received my food, and looked her way every once in a while to see if she noticed me. I was trying not to stare, but I wanted to make eye contact so I could start a dialogue. I needed a friend, and she was about to be it.   I checked her body language and assumed she was an introvert. Me, too! We already had something in common, BFF! I eventually heard her speak to the waitress, and confirmed by her accent that she was definitely American. Oh yeah, she was about to be my bff for the next few days and she didn’t even know it.

I had navigated my Eurotrip without making a single friend. It was unusual for me, even as an introverted solo traveler, to have experienced all meals by myself. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sense of friendship until the possibility of it presented itself.

I was chewing on a really good burger when I noticed her gathering her things and standing up to walk out. I’m socially awkward, so I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything because my mouth was full, but I was still staring her down, hoping she caught the energy of my eyes watching her. I slightly waved my hand hoping to get her attention, but she escaped without seeing me.

Damn. As quickly as the excitement of navigating Dublin with a friend had come, it had also gone.

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I Watched All 80 Episodes of the Celia Telenovela and I Still Cannot Speak Spanish

An 80-episode telenovela loosely based on the life of Celia Cruz was released on Netflix last year. Each episode is about 45 minutes, and I was hooked after I watched the first episode. It began when Celia’s Aunt Ana has a baby girl who dies. At the funeral, a priestess tells Aunt Ana that children never die and the baby will come back as someone else. To know who she is, Aunt Ana breaks the baby’s pinky finger to leave her mark. Her sister gives birth to a baby girl three months later that has the finger. That baby girl is Celia.

There were things in the show that were added for dramatic effect, and didn’t actually occur in Celia’s life, but the show was great nonetheless. It was easy to root for her. I’m going to talk about the characters and scenes from the series, but I also know that it may be different from her actual life.

My favorite characters other than Celia were Aunt Ana and Mirelys. Poor Mirelys! She just couldn’t pick them. All she wanted was somebody to love her and provide her with regular orgasms. After Pedro ditched her, she thought she found it with Mario. Now Mario and Pedro had been close friends, and he was grieving the end of his relationship with Raquel, who had run off to Mexico with her ex-husband. Raquel’s ass didn’t even like Mario until he surprised her by bringing her mom to see her from Cuba. Then he helped her get her career off the ground. Call a thing a thing – she was curving that man left and right. She only fell in love after Mario did all kinds of shit for her. Well this is where Mirelys comes in. Mirelys and he only fell in love because they were both heartbroken and lonely. Both relationships were doomed. Continue reading

Dating Chronicles: The Restraining Order Part II

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Read Part I here.

I tried to fall asleep, but I kept replaying the events of that morning in my head over and over again. I cried quietly in my old bedroom, fell asleep briefly, woke up, replayed the events, and repeated until Monday morning when I drove to the Clerk of Court’s office to file a protective order. I had no reason to be ashamed, but it was embarassing to ask for directions to the right office for protective orders. It was embarassing to request the forms from the clerk, and sit in the open hallway as I completed several pages of information. The clerk and I went over the information on the forms, and she directed me to a judge to get my temporary restraining order approved.

I sat outside the courtroom on a hard bench in a long hallway, waiting for the judge to finish a trial so that I could get my TRO approved. The hallway was stuffy from having so many people inside, and not enough air vents blowing cool air. There was a man seated next to me who had so much nervous energy that he kept shaking his legs, causing the bench to vibrate. Another woman on the opposite side of me sat motionless with her head down. Suddenly the doors of the courtroom opened, and Charles’ niece (the daughter of Marcel, whose dick I had allegedly been scoping) and cousin exited. IS THIS REAL LIFE?! The niece smiled and asked if I was there for traffic court. I told her no and laughed nervously. They both smiled, accepted my answer, and went about their lives without further questioning my reasons for being there. Certainly, they were going to snitch.

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An Extended Weekend in Biloxi

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The New Orleans airport has always been a bit hectic during 4th of July weekend because of Essence Fest, and I wanted to avoid it. Instead of flying somewhere for the holiday, I decided to take a spontaneous road trip with a friend. We decided at the last minute to take the scenic route to Biloxi, Mississippi.

Now, I hadn’t been there since the summer before 7th grade. I only remember because I had just gotten my braces, and I have a picture of my brace face with my parents at a pizza place in Biloxi. The last time my friend had been there was immediately after Katrina destroyed it. Needless to say, things had changed a lot. Poor Mississippi suffered through Katrina and the BP oil spill and it took a gargantuan hit on the economy.

I honestly never held a positive opinion of Mississippi. That state is always competing with Louisiana to take the crown on the “worst states” list, and usually wins. I know that it isn’t a bunch of racist hillbillies stuck in the antebellum, but I just never felt that it had anything to offer me. I’ve met a lot of men from Jackson. Apparently, the dating scene there is horrendous and there are lots of black gays with and abnormally high rate of HIV.

We stopped at a couple of markets on the side of the road in Louisiana as we made our way to Mississippi. Can I just mention how much Louisiana makes me smile sometimes? Where else can one see a sign on the side of the road that says “FRESH GATOR JERKY?” How can one not stop on the side of the road and buy some? It was good, too. We bought gator jerky, cracklins, liquor, and chocolate covered strawberries.

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Dating Chronicles: The Restraining Order Part 1

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Charles* and I had been in month three of dating, and things were not going well. The guy had paranoia tendencies, and had accused me of communicating with other guys. I was not and there was nothing to indicate that I was. Furthermore, we were casually dating and not in a committed monogamous relationship, so he had no right to make accusations even if I was. This wasn’t going anywhere, and we both knew it. I was unwilling to defend myself against unnecessary accusations made by an insecure man, so I ended our dating relationship late Saturday night while he was at my apartment.

Maybe I should have done that over the phone instead. I really thought it would be as simple as me saying it’s over, him saying okay, him leaving my apartment, and is both proceeding to live our best lives separately. Charles became irate, began a lengthy monologue about how horrible of a person I was, called me everything but my God-given name, and further alleged that I had been lusting for his brothers-in law. The entire time I lay across my bed, waiting for him to finish saying what he had to say and leave. His outlandish statements were not factual, and I didn’t care to defend myself any longer.

“Yeah, I saw you looking at my brother-in-law!” he yelled passionately. “I saw you looking at Marcel’s* dick when we were at the waterpark! Then you tried to look at me to see if I was watching you, but I caught your ass!” As he spoke, he became even more irate, and motioned to hit me as I lay in bed, but stopped mid swing.

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Dating Chronicles: The Set Up II

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Keith*

Here’s the deal: I don’t like kids. I don’t want kids. I won’t have kids. The only time I like them is when they are nice, calm, quiet, and respectful. Since that happens rarely, I’d rather do without them in my life entirely. I have no doubts in my mind about this. I don’t despise them; I just would rather not be around them. Being around someone else’s kids is out of my comfort zone.

Keith had a daughter who was three years old that he never saw due to “baby mama drama.” There are two sides to every story, and I didn’t know the story of the mother.

Well, for some odd reason, Keith’s biggest fantasy was to spend time with his daughter and someone that he cared about (me at the time) altogether. But he was so afraid to bring his daughter around me because he knew how I felt about children. No sweat off my back. I was not interested in the proposition anyway. He was highly furious at the idea that I was not interested in spending time with him and his daughter.

He invited himself over to my apartment one evening. I say okay, thinking we were going to do grown up things. I got a knock on my door. I unlocked and opened the door without even looking through the peephole to see who was on the other side. I expected to see Keith’s sexy self grinning at me. And I did. Not only did I see Keith, standing in front of him was an adorable girl with long black pigtails and a smile inherited from her father.

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Dating Chronicles: Jerk Off

I had been entertaining a male friend one evening, and he decided to spend the night. I despised overnight guests, and made it a rule to never allow men to spend the night. Things worked best that way because I always felt that spending the night left a door open to the possibilities of other things. Other things were not possible, and I didn’t want anyone to get an misunderstanding. Still, I made an exception for this guy. Actually, it was an unspoken decision between the both of us.

I don’t remember what we did that day, but it exhausted me. We both hopped into the bed at the end of the night. Sex was not involved, but we spooned for a while until I got hot and pushed him off me. This was the summertime and I wasn’t trying to break out into a sweat because of his body heat. We both fell asleep, me on my side with my back facing him. It was common for me to sleep so hard that a party could be happening around me and I wouldn’t know. When I was in Mexico City earlier this year, I slept with the window open while the neighbors across the street had a grand opening celebration of their bar for three days straight. The speakers were blaring with the sounds of music and laughter filled the air, but I still had a good night’s sleep. Similar to those nights in Mexico City, I was dead asleep this particular night.

I was awakened later in the night by movements in the bed. The movements had a pattern, and it took me a moment to realize it was coming from him. It felt like he may have been unconsciously and restlessly shaking his leg in his sleep. I didn’t even open my eyes, but I thought he was asleep. Since my back was facing him, I reached behind me and gently pushed him to get him to stop moving. I didn’t say a word, but he understood what that push meant. He stopped moving. Satisfied with the tranquility of the bed, I repositioned myself by turning around to face his direction and immediately fell back into a deep slumber.

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