Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dublin Calling

...well, maybe not night and day, but Dublin is definitely a different city. Dublin is to London what a Philly/DC mix would be to NYC. I say Philly because Dublin has obviously been pulling itself up from a not-so-glamorous past, and it feels about the same size as DC. Yet, they are growing at a phenomenal rate. Dublin is also a more manageable in a three day stint than a bigger city. They've just installed a tram system called the Luas, which means "speed" in Irish. The tram runs up and down the Liffey River, along which most of the city flows, so for the moment there is quick public transit to almost anywhere you want to go. Within a few years, though, the expansion of the city will break far out of this band and the tram system will be somewhat like DC's - effective if you live in the right areas, but not so much if you actually live outside the city proper.

The gay "scene" here is also different. There is no Soho-like or Dupont-like area. It's all interspersed with the straight world. I think this is a testament to the uniting power of alcohol. Dubliners don't care what color you are, where you came from, who you worship, or who you sleep with, as long as you drink pints of beer and can pay for it. But don't try drinking cocktails here... they have to measure out each shot to government standards. That's just no fun. Yet, they get by just fine on beer. If you're ever in Dublin and want to experience the scene, hit The George on Sunday night around 9:30pm for Drag bingo and a show. The Drag queens are amazing. They actually PERFORM instead of sit around and bitch or make racial jokes. Also, try to make it to the Dragon. The bar itself is a bit of a bore, but if you make it to the upper floor smoking deck, you'll find the real party. If you're lucky, Miss Panty will be spinning some great tunes with a cigarette hanging from her lips and the floor will be bouncing a bit from the spontaneous dancing.

I picked a great weekend to visit. 20,000 French were in town for the Ireland/France rugby match. Apparently, rugby fans are much more well behaved than the soccer fans we've been hearing about recently. In almost every pub and restaurant, the French were there in droves to support their team, which defeated the Irish team 20 to 17 (I think). Although, I hear the next big match between Ireland and England is supposed to be even more crazy.

So... here's what I learned in Dublin...

1. Rugby is the hottest sport ever. EVER.
2. You don't have to tip a drag queen to get a good performance (they do it for free here).
3. There are no leprechauns in Dublin, but they do have very short cute guys.
4. If you plan on eating out anywhere in any of the city's nicer restaurants, get there early.
5. Don't try pronouncing Irish without some research ahead of time.

Headed home very soon. It will be nice to get back to the US. They have crazy money here, and I'm tired of hearing the word "cheers". No offense to my new friends here, but they use it way too much.


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