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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Saturday, 30 June 2001
--> Dougas Village (IRL)

About waking up with a terrible hangover, but eventually this night started off with a lot of fun at the Cork Greyhond Dog Races. But it all ended less funny as something I just needed to deal with: going out while being totally tired. No drinks for me anymore!
It was Niamh waking me up for some tea, around nine in the morning. With an embarrissing hangover I looked up from my pillow, I tried to speak but nothing came out of my mouth…

I skipped the tea and slept for another three hours. Around noon I got a shower and completely woke with a cup of coffee.

Niamh took off for the rest of the day. She was attending the concert of The Eagles in Dublin tonight, together with some friends of her. I was kind of jealous, but Fiona, my hostess for today at the same apartment, promised me a really nice night tonight.

I spent the afternoon hours typing my reports and uploading pictures on the web. Again I was some days ahead and I updates the whole thing within 3 hours (!).

Around 7pm I changed my clothing in something more elegant than a t-shirt (my only blouse, an Hawaiian one) as Fiona was going to take me to a charity Greyhound Dog Race!

The taxi took us all the way to the race tracks in Cork, and when we got inside of the glass walled building with the view on the tracks, Fiona introduced me to – I think – twenty-five members of her family…

And the charity was the Irish Cystic Fibrosis Association who organised it all, complete with a full 3-board-dinner!

Of course I learned about this disease. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease seriously affecting the lungs and digestive system, which threatens the lives of many hundreds of children from birth onwards.

One in twenty people carry the recessive gene of cystic fibrosis and two carriers getting to getter may give birth to one of more children with the disease.

A generation ago, cystic fibrosis was probably fatal in most cases in childhood but with early diagnosis and careful management, some children are now beginning to emerge into adult life with reasonable good health.

The disease it, however not yet fully curable and they remain at risk and may still die in childhood.

It was great to see full lounges of people who bought tickets for this charity-event, enjoying the meal and the races.

It was my first time ever being at a dog race and as I was the one without the money, Fiona would place bets on the dog I would pick. And the first few races I won nothing, and as soon as Fiona picked one dog: she won 5 Irish Punts!

Next to us sat a couple and the guy, Adrian, guessed the three winning dogs in the right order and had put £2 on it. The dogs raced in that right order and he won the double of £ 71.80.

From that point his eyes got very serious and he started to look at the boards with all the ongoing bets to see how the odds are doing. He would conclude the winning bets out of it, but he never won so much money again.

After the race he told me he’d never go to a dog race again, just because it can become so addictive, especially when you are winning big money. While he said it, I still could see the £-signs in his eyes…

To be able to win something and feel the adrenaline pump if a dog makes it the the finish line as the first, Fiona and I decided to put a £1 on every running dog in the race. That was a total of £5, so we had to win something.

And we cheered as we had won the jack pot, likely to pass around the champagne; just because finally we had won something again.

Even though it was only £ 2.20 ….

When the dog races (total ten) were over, the serious big-money spenders up front took off, but everybody who got the charity tickets stayed and joined another hall where a band was playing really good disco music. Imagine a good wedding band singing songs of Mellenkamp, Tina Turner and some 70’s dance classics.

It didn’t really got me moving, I just don’t really like to dance with older people – just keep it a temporary generation gap, I’ll come in later.

And I was getting pretty tired. The pints of Carlsberg, Murphy’s beer and Budweiser were coming up all the time and I got a new one as soon as one was halfway empty…

Finishing with a Smirnoff Ice mixed with Lemonade I looked at my hostess. It was 0.15am and the whole group had already ordered a taxi to collect us at 0.45. I could handle that, my eyes just had to stay open.

It is just the thing that a lot of alcohol makes me tired. My Dutch little stomach isn’t used to it and certainly not with the life I am living right now…

At 0.45am we got in a taxi van that took us from the Racetracks into Cork, but wasn’t going all the way to Douglas Village. So Deidre, who had joined us at the disco, Fiona and me got off.

I was ready to go to bed and have another long sleep, but for Deidre and Fiona this was their Saturday night out, so I just had to come with them.

That wasn’t really a problem for me, allthough I wasn’t that fast in walking again and they looked like their night had just started.

It didn’t give a good feeling to walk 20 meters behind them, while they were deciding which pub they should visit and it was not funny anymore. Couldn’t they see I could not go on anymore?

In a pub called Long Valley, Deidre started off a long story about her life as a backpacker and all kinds of things that happened to her on the Fiji Islands, but I couldn’t concentrate.

I told Fiona I was out of energy, that’s what alcohol does with me and didn’t want anymore. But she tried to relativate it by saying: “But you can sleep in tomorrow morning!”. That’s just not the point. Even if I can, sometimes things just stop.

They even offered me another pint of beer, but I rejected it and asked for a glass of water. When they got their second pint my head was resting on my arms on the table while I was still trying to keep my eyes open.

They made the joke about walking 5 miles home after they would get out of the pub at 2am and I said: “That’s fine for me, but I’ll just sit at the side of the street, waiting until I can walk again.”

It was a little –not funny- joke and when the pub closed we all got out. While my legs were shaking and my head was ready to roll of my body to find its place to sleep, they started to walk ahead again. My shoulder were feeling heavy and all around me there was only noise of people getting out of pubs and walking on the streets.

Deidre and Fiona had to walk to another street crossing, about 5 minutes further, where they would be able to get a taxi.

When I saw the distance between them and me –their guest!- getting bigger and bigger I had to sit down on a little wall.

A group of young girls walked by and asked if everything was okay, worrying about this guy who would fall asleep on the street. I said I was okay and I was waiting for friends to come and they left me.

Some ten minutes later (it felt like an hour) Fiona and Deidre came back to me, sounding very disapointed to me. Because I wasn’t there with them, they missed their taxi! Now they had to try it all over again.

I just couldn’t get it out of my mouth to aks if they could keep an eye on me a little more when walking ahead, just as it’s just not polite – even when everybody is drunk, Dutch would always take care of eachother, the Irish…? – to leave your guest walking behind you. But I just couldn’t say that; I didn’t want to start a discussion while waiting for a taxi.

The taxi driver that finally took us with him looked like he was Elvis Presley himself, with dark sunglasses (at night) and very big sideburns. “Yeah” he said with a very low and dark voice, “Everybody calls me Elvis around here.”

That’s about the last thing I heard until the cab arrived in front of the Reeveswood Gate where the apartment was.

Fiona asked if I was okay and I said I wasn’t and again I told her I was just completely out of energy. Empty. Finished. Over.

I couldn’t say anymore, something was really bothering me inside of me. More thoughts than feelings.

When we got inside I got my stuff and head up to Niamh’s room, which I could use for tonight. I decided to take a long sleep and I crashed on the bed.

Night, Douglas Village


PS: Before you may heavily react on this last night on my messageboard, please continue reading tomorrow's report.

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