Two weekends ago traveling in Ireland

One weekend ago camping in Arizona This past weekend in Memphis.

These last two pictures are of my dear sweet mother-in-law. I put them here as a reminder -- whoever your mother is, she won't be here, healthy and laughing forever. Please call your mother and let her know you love her. Forgive her for whatever you think she did to offend you and move on with your life with peace of mind and love in your heart. My only regret for my mother-in-law is that I didn't get to know her longer--before she got so sick. The little time I did spend with her was a great delight. Even in this frail condition, she is a delight to be around. "Hi, Mom, how you doin'?" "Hey, baaaybee, Iii'm jesss fiiiine. How you doin'?" and later "I love you baaaybee." Her heavy southern accent draws out words of love. I love her dearly.

This trip was a reminder that Tarzan and I need to enjoy my mother more while she is still healthy so we continue to amass lots of good memories to carry with us.


A-Attached or Single?-Attached
B-Best Friend- My daughter
Cake or Pie?- Cake--Texas Sheet Cake
D-Day of choice?- If this means day of the week, Friday. If this means the one day I would love to live my whole life through--the day Tarzan put his arms around me for the first time and made me fall in love with him forever.
E-Essential item?- Computer
F-Favorite color?-Red
G-Gummy bears or worms? Bears
H-Hometown?- USA
I-Favorite Indulgence? Ice Cream
J-January or July?- January
K-Kids?-Brian, Tori, Celia, Leisa, Langston, Landau, Warren, Rachel
L-Life isn't complete without?- A good Laugh and a song
M-Marriage Date?-April 10, 1999
N-Number of Bro & Sis?-1 brother 1 sisters
O-Oranges or Apples?- Oranges
P-Phobias and Fears?- Fear of being unloved
Q-Quote?- During the sacrament, a 3 year old sitting on my lap says right out loud "Mom, are you thinking about Jesus?"
R-Reason to smile?- Tarzan
S-Season of choice?- Spring
T-Tag Ten People?- I pick any ten who have not been tagged yet.
U-Unknown fact about me?- I can wiggle my ears
V-Vegetable?- sourkrout
W-Worse habit?- I speak before I think
Y-Your favorite food?- Mexican
Z-Zodiac sign?- Capricorn

Before we were married, Tarzan invited me to go camping. He was retired and I was still working so the plan was this. Tarzan would get everything ready, I would go to work and when I got off work, we would leave for the mountains.

After work, I hurried home, changed cloths and drove to Tarzan's house. I knocked on the door and after several, long minutes he answered. He was sitting in the dark with his computer in a bazillion pieces. He simply said, "Oh, is it 5:00 o'clock?"

He had done NOTHING to get ready to go camping. He threw a hammock in the Jeep. We drove together to my house and I got a few blankets and a pan to cook with and off we went. I must have been in love...

When we got up north, Tarzan stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken to get dinner. Hmmmmm, not what I had thought dinner at a camp site would be. Then, I suggested we might want to stop at a grocery store before heading into the woods in case he didn't catch enough fish for breakfast. He was a little incensed, but he must have been in love too...we stopped and bought breakfast food, paper plates and plastic ware.

When we got to the campsite it was dark. Tarzan pulled out his hammock and strung it up so high you had to stand on the Jeep to get in it. We each had our own blankets so we climbed into the hammock for the night. Once we were both in, we both rolled to the middle and were plastered against each other--no room for movement. The temperature began to drop and our measly blankets became less and less effective. We could not generate enough body heat to keep each other warm, so Tarzan got out of the Hammock, giving me all the blankets and then...

HE GOT IN THE JEEP AND TURNED ON THE HEATER. I must have been in love...

That didn't last long, he began to feel guilty and climbed back in the hammock to try and keep me warm. What we didn't know was that there was a flash flood in the night and all the people who were closer to the stream and lower on the ground got flooded out. It was a mess.

In the morning I built a fire and cooked breakfast, Tarzan was duly impressed. We went gold panning and four-wheeling and had a wing-ding of a time.

Now, this past weekend...

We have now been married for nine years. Tarzan says on Wednesday, "do you want to go fishing with me?" I say, "I'd love to." See, he usually goes with the guys, but none of them were available.

When Tarzan goes fishing with the guys he spends 4 or 5 days getting ready. He did nothing to get ready to go with me. So, to make a long story short, we left the house at 8:00 a.m. and did not arrive at the camp site (which is 30 minutes from our home) until 5:00 p.m. What we were doing is of no consequence except to make it very clear that the reason it took us so long was directly related to Tarzan's lack of preparation.

I must still be in love...

We left this B&B with a new plan. When Tarzan got ready for bed the night before, he was wearing a nitro patch. It turns out that the driving has been a great strain on him. He has been worried about his blood pressure and heart the whole week. So, the new plan is this—we will drive straight to Dublin, park the car, pay for an extra day at the hotel and hire a taxi for every trip we want to take.

We had a beautiful drive on major highways and stopped in Naas for lunch in a pub. The pub was full of people taking their lunch break from work. That tells you how good it is, the locals go there. I had a yummy tuna melt, Rachel had a wonderful curry chicken pita and Tarzan had a lousy beef stroganoff.

In Dublin, we were able to get a room for an extra night in the hotel even nicer than the first one. After getting all of our stuff into the hotel, we had the taxi pick us up and take us to the Guiness factory. That was the one thing Rachel really wanted to do. When we got there she realized she forgot her camera so I tried to get what she wanted with mine. The best picture of the whole trip is Tarzan in front of a sign in the Guiness Factory that says “Black is Beautiful.”

When you get to the top floor of the factory, you get a free pint of Guiness (or a soda). It takes a full two minutes to pour it because it is so thick and rich. There’s a whole story about that but I didn’t care enough about it to remember why. But, I do remember that the foam was supposed to be very creamy so when Tarzan got his pint, Rachel and I each put our finger in the foam it was creamy alright. I put my finger on my tongue and it was bitter I do not know how people find joy in that taste. Yuck! Rachel liked it, Tarzan says it is an acquired taste, he was not real thrilled with it.

We bought a bunch of souvenirs there and then went out on the street. No Taxis. We walked down an alley past an old broken down building and on to the main street, Thomas Street, which the taxi driver had told us was the part of Dublin that got left behind—in other words, a rough neighborhood. Before we had a chance to be afraid, a taxi came right along and took us to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland. Another good meal and good company. Tarzan had Irish stew, Rachel fish and chips and I had wonderful boiled cabbage and ham.

Everyone in Ireland was so friendly (well except for Pee Wee Herman at the Waterford Factory).

May 30, 2008

Our last day in Ireland was spent strolling around Dublin, shopping and sightseeing. We walked through a park, saw Celine Dion’s husband, whoopdeedo. It was a relaxing and lovely day. We ended the day with something really different. While Rachel took a nap, Tarzan and I went grocery shopping and then Tarzan cooked a wonderful dinner for us, lamb chops, marinated salad, crusty bread with several different spreads, anchovy paste, lobster spread and oysters. He also served garlic noodles. Wow! What a way to end a lovely vacation.

May 31, 2008
New York and Phoenix

The airport in Dublin is awful. After standing in line for an hour to check in we were told we were in the wrong line. We went to the place where we were to check in and they were not open. We sat on the floor and waiting for 40 minutes. When they arrived we got right in and through security okay. No one questioned our names on our tickets not matching our passports.

The airplane we took to New York was not as nice as the one from Chicago to Dublin. They never showed a movie, just TV and we didn’t have individual movie screens so we could pick what we wanted to see. I just read the whole 7 hours. The worst part of the trip was the flight from New York to Phoenix. I thought it was going to be about 3 hours, it was another 6 or 7 hours. We were totally beat when we got home at 10:00 p.m. We all just showered and went to bed. Rachel had to be at the airport at 6:30 a.m. the next morning to go home. It took me two days to recover from the trip. I always plan two days after vacation before going back to work. It was a good thing I did it this time.

What a joyeous trip. We saw the real Ireland, we tried real food, we visited just enough tourist places to do the tourist thing and met and visited with the most wonderful people. This was a trip worth taking.

I haven’t said much about the driving, but now I have to say something about that. There are no road signs or if there are signs they are wrong or not giving the information we need. Also, they do not have house numbers in Ireland unless you are in a new subdivision or I noticed some of the row houses in Dublin have numbers on the doors. So, everything was confusing. Somehow, the GPS system was able to find every place we asked for. However, driving down a road the width of a car with traffic going two-ways and bushes, shrubs, trees and sometimes rock walls on the edge of the road—so to pull over to the left (driving on the wrong side of the road) the car was continuously scraped.

I was grateful we had bought the extra insurance! There is no way to describe here the hilarity of the situation with me dodging the branches hitting the front window, and then scraping down my side of the car. Me occasionally saying, “You’re driving on the wrong side of the road;” Tarzan hyperventilating, trying to keep his blood pressure down, honking the horn as we approached each blind corner and Rachel in the backseat with her eyes wide as silver dollars. Honestly. It was unbelievable! But we had a dream come true. We saw the real Ireland, not the tourist Ireland. It was great.

This day the weather was beautiful. We could go outside with only a sweater on. We started to drive again and once more Tarzan said “Well this is the Ireland I wanted to see, but I am worn out from trying to keep the rules of the road.” Rachel said, “You’re on the wrong side of the road.” Tarzan jerked the wheel and we were straight again.

Oh, I forgot about breakfast, Tarzan had another full fired Irish breakfast. Eggs, sausage, black and white pudding and ham served with toast and soda bread, butter and jam. Rachel and I have finally given up on that and we had yogurt, nuts, cheese, cereal, fruit and orange juice. The lady of the house talked all the way through our breakfast. She was delightful.We drove to Tipperary. This was the most bustling town we had been in. It was clean and busy. There was a store for everything we needed. Electronics for a plug converter, gift stores for post cards and a fruit stand for fresh Tipperary apples. Apparently, they are famous for their apples. We also had a delightful lunch at a hole-in-the-wall that turned out to be real popular with the locals. I had quiche and cleaned my plate. Rachel had a chicken Caesar salad, she cleaned her plate. Tarzan had a hamburger and soup. He cleaned up his plate. Inexpensive and delish! The restaurant was down this alley.
We stayed in Tipperary quite awhile. We liked that city and it was the one place I wanted to go. We bought a CD with the song “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” Loved it. Oh, I almost forgot the funniest thing in Tipperary. Right in the middle of town there was a beautiful black and gold tubular structure that said “Toilet.” Tarzan went over to use it and called me to give him money. It cost 50 cents. I put the money in and the door slid open like something in Star Trek. He was in there a very long time. Whe he came out he said. “You have to use it.” So, I went to put my money in and it said, “Please wait for cleaning cycle to finish.” So I waited a couple of minutes, put my money in, the door opened and I stepped in. The entire room had been sanitized and dried. There was a button to push for verbal instructions. It was just comical. We made Rachel take a turn too. I told her to be sure to listen to the instructions. She failed to see the humor in the situation.

Next we drove to Kilkenny. We chose the Floodhall House B&B. Finding things in Ireland is hilarious. It always takes 3 or 4 phone calls to the B&B to find it.

“Hello, we are in Kilkenny on Dublin Street by the veterinarian. Where are you?”

“Oh, you are by the veterinarian are ya now? Turn around and go back to the main round about. Go left. Go to the second round about, don’t turn this time—go straight trew. Go straight trew the tird round about. Yer goin’ tward Waterford on N-10 den ter is a fourt round about. You can go right or left, go right den you drive trew a little town named Stonyford and we are the 2nd right.”

“Okay, see you in a minute.”

“Hello, It’s me again. We are in Stonyford, is the 2nd right in town or after we leave town.

“Oh, ya, just go trew town and den take the second right. Der’s a sign on da road.”

Whew! We finally found it. A beautiful farm house—three floors. They had a crew there power washing the house so it could be painted. A lovely family with three young children greeted us. The littlest one came out to see us and told us she was watching “Monsters Inc.” She said, “I’m just like da little girl.” And she was. She look just like her.

Our rooms were just as comfortable as all we had found. Dinner was at a little local pub called Carolyn’s—another fine meal. Tarzan steak, Rachel spaghetti, I had soup and side dishes. That’s what I always do when I am fed up with eating out. The Floodhall House was a house that had been the servant quarters to the main house build by Lord Flood. The servant quarters were huge, the main house must have been a veritable mansion. It has been torn down now. The family living there has been there since the 1950’s. They still farm the land. Wow! What a place.

Caroline served us a full Irish breakfast in the morning. We loaded up and headed out to visit the Waterford Crystal Factory.

Tarzan was so impressed. He had never seen glass blowing before. He comment was that from now on he will have a greater appreciation for crystal. Our guide was so lame. He looked like Pee Wee Herman and didn’t talk to us. We all got on a bus, drove to the appropriate place and he got off the bus without a word. There were two retired men in our group from Belgium. They didn’t speak English very well so they turned to Tarzan and asked “what do we do?” Tarzan replied, “I don’t know, I guess we follow him.” So, everyone got off while Pee Wee Herman stood there looking stupid. As we went through the men from Belgium were so interested they kept stopping and talking to the blowers, cutters and etchers. These men all get paid by the piece, so we were not supposed to disturb them, but the Belgium guys were so cute that the workers all stopped and talked to them. Tarzan got right in there and joined in the conversations.

When Pee Wee did talk, he talked so fast (and with an Irish brogue) that our Belgium friends could not understand him, so I stayed behind and explained each step to them. It was great fun. They kept saying “You explain much better. We can understand you.” After the tour we went into the store and bought water glasses and wine glasses in a pattern that can only be purchased at the Waterford Crystal Factory in Ireland.We were totally satisfied with that experience so we drove on toward Cork. We stopped and bought fresh strawberries on the side of the road and later to buy a soda. We took pictures of the cutest little girl there and she posed for us. She had bright red curly hair and her grandfather had a beard to match it.

We picked Castle Farm in Cloyne, just outside of Cork, for our B&B. It was a good choice. Here is a view from the window of our room.

The lady who ran the Castle Farm asked us where we were going for dinner and we told her we would just drive into town and get something. She said, “Not to worry. I tink I can get you a reservation.” So, she made a call and we got a reservation for 6:00 p.m. We thanked her and drove into town. We got to the restaurant a little early and they were CLOSED. So, we walked around and did a little sightseeing. Suddenly, a car came screaming down the road, screeched to a halt in front of the restaurant and two people got out and ran inside. We goofed around and took some pictures for about 10 more minutes and then went into the restaurant. It was totally empty. A lady came out and greeted us and sat us down by the fireplace. We had the best meal we had had since arriving in Ireland. And the service was impeccable. There was not another customer in the place. The chef had studied at some culinary school and fed us a 5-star meal. I commented that I could not believe they were not full of customers.

That was the best meal we had had yet. The lady then told me they were not open. They had opened just to serve us. Wow! It turns out they try to accommodate our hostess when she calls with a customer even though they are not open on Monday and Tuesday. Tarzan had duck for Pete sake. He also had vegetable soup. It is a puréed soup. We had vegetable soup 2 or 3 times and it was always fixed that way. This time it had chicken broth and curry in it, hmmmmm! I had ray wings for an appetizer (stingray). It was served in a hollandaise sauce with cucumbers. Oh my gosh! It was awesome.

As usual, we had luscious dark bread. She served us mint tea to warm us up. Rachel had beef with burgundy sauce. I had cod. We ended with ice cream. It was by far the best meal we have had yet. And it was only 80 €.

We went to bed satisfied and watched an Arnold Schwartznegger movie with a heated bed and a view of the bay and lighthouse from our window. Life is good.

I woke up at 9:00 a.m. totally rested after 13-hours of sleep. I hopped into the shower lathered up my hair for a much needed shampoo when ---------------Poof-------------- the power went off and took the water with it. Thank goodness I had rinsed the shampoo out and we had all showered the night before. What a mess. Remember, we were on the eleventh floor and I went right out and got on the elevator (like an idiot). Thank goodness the elevator had a backup generator, but you could not get out of the outside door without a key because the electric eye wasn’t working. I lucked out and a girl was there to open it. Turns out there was work going on in the road and they cut a power line to the hotel. I finger dried my hair and then had mostly flat hair all day. I am so grateful I got a good haircut before I left. We were too late for breakfast, so we headed out to Wicklow. We had a list of places to visit but when we got into town we were hungry so we checked the Garmin for places to eat that were close. We were directed to the most marvelous place. It has a rich history. The place is called Tinakilly Country House. It is the house build for the man who was responsible for laying the cable under the Atlantic Ocean to connect the US to the UK. It has been turned into a hotel and restaurant. As we drove up the lane to this beautiful estate we got more and more excited to see where we were going. Here it is.

We were in between meals and the restaurant was closed, but we could sit in the drawing room and have scones and “tea.” It was delightful and the first positive experience with food in Ireland. The scones were typical dense and hard, some with raisins served with unsweetened whipped cream and fresh blackberry jam. It was heavenly!

Then we walked around the grounds to the “bird reserve.” Not many birds, but a lovely walk in the cold wind. We admired the gardens and the huge redwoods. We took pictures and then drove on to Wexford.

By the time we got to Wexford it was raining and the wind was still blowing like a son-of-a-gun. We stopped some girls on the street and asked where we could get something to eat. One of them directed us to the back of a building. The restaurant was named Chocolate. Can’t go wrong with a name like that, right? The seafood chowder was great, everything else was bland except the chocolate cake. It was GOOD! Before we even left the restaurant I got sick, but it passed in about ½ hour. After touring the city, we drove on to Waterford to stay in our first Bed and Breakfast. What a delight! The one we chose, Ainsling House in Mooncoin, had just opened six weeks ago. They were eager to please. The other people staying there were from Boston. We had a nice visit with them.

We arrived in Dublin at 8:00 a.m., got our rented car and then drove around in the parking lot for 10 minutes looking for the lost car rental agreement. Tarzan said he put it on top of the suitcases while he pulled the car out. The wind was blowing like a son-of-a-gun so we figured it had blown away. After the third time around the yard, I offered to get out and look. When I got out of the car—guess what? I was sitting on it. We all got our first laugh of the trip.
Tarzan drove on the wrong side of the road once trying to get to the hotel—yikes! Then he drove down the line between 2 lanes once and had a parade of honking horns behind him. Rachel and I were very good and did not yell at him once.

Our room was not ready so we ate again! More heavy breakfast food—ugh! I finally took some antacids and felt fine in about 15 minutes. Then we went out to the car and took a nap. They let us check in a little early and our room was very nice. It was an apartment on the eleventh floor of a hotel by the airport. So far, the only Irish experience we have had is listening to the accents (later we realized that the heavy breakfast was also an Irish experience.)We had hired a private tour of Dublin and when they showed up, they had a bus to accommodate 40 people. The driver told us he had another tour to pick up when we were finished so he brought the big bus. We would have preferred a small car with the driver and guide, but it was okay. The three of us hopped on the bus and Jerry, our driver chatted away with dry jokes like, “Over there is a place that is so popular, it has a waiting list nine months long (pause) it’s a maternity home.” We found it clever because he was so jovial and we were all a little giddy from the lack of sleep. The tour guide joined us and she was awesome. She first took us on a scenic tour of downtown and fed us a ton of interesting history. (I must say the Irish are still a wee bit miffed at the English.) We stopped and went into Christ’s Church where we got a lot more history, saw where Jonathan Swift and his “girlfriend” were buried. We also saw his death mask—interesting.

The thing I liked best there was an old door they put on display. It was a rough, old door with a jagged hole cut out of the middle. The story was that two families were fighting. One ran into a house behind that door for safety. In the meantime the other side realized how much bloodshed their feud was causing so he knocked on that door and asked for a truce. Those inside thought it was a trick and would not respond. The man on the outside chopped a hole in the door and stuck his hand through the door and ended the bloody feud. Here is a picture of the door.

We drove through a 1,000 acre park, where I fell asleep for about 10 minutes. Then we went to Trinity College library where the manuscripts, copied by the monks on calf skin, are on display. These books are the four gospels from the New Testament. Only one word is needed, Beautiful! We were not allowed to take pictures inside there. The highlight of the tour was the Long Room. Totally unexpected and beyond description. We walked through the large double doors into another world. A world I can only dream of—spread before us in a long room about 100 feet long and 50 feet tall was a room, two stories tall filled with shelves of books; all categories and alphabetized. We paused at the door and gasped. The smell of old paper mixed with leather and wood was pleasingly pungent. The lighting was appropriate for reading. I was overcome with the sheer quantity of the collective knowledge in that room. I don’t recall what the source of light was. I said, “Can you smell that?” Rachel said, “That was unexpected, it turned a boring trip into an amazing one.” Tarzan said, “This one room made the whole trip to Ireland worth the money.”

We were then taken to Temple Bay, a downtown walking area, where we saw many buildings close up. Our tour guide walked with us to show us shopping places and good pubs. We said goodbye and started out on our own. After a quick bathroom break we were expected to leave a 50¢ tip for the girls keeping the place clean (we didn’t leave a tip, we don’t tip for lousy service; water on the floor and no paper towels, just generally dirty!) We bought a wind breaker for Tarzan. The wind had been blowing hard all day and it was cold. Then we stopped into Hard Rock Café so I could buy my guitar magnet bottle opener. As we walked along we saw all kinds of wonderful entertainment and people of all kinds. I got this picture of a street performer with his home made fiddle. It is a real classic made of a cookie can and wood. There is a tin can on the end of the stem. He was awesome. See the woman smoking in the background. Everywhere we went people were smoking.

Suddenly, we came right up to Gogarty’s restaurant. Maria Hoffman Loves this place, especially the oysters. We decided to have dinner there. The pub on the first floor was loud and wild, young folks partying. The pub on the second floor had music and some noise, but more of a calmer crowd. The restaurant was on the third floor. I didn’t realize the oysters were going to be raw. I am mediocre on the raw oyster experience. Mind you, our guide had scoffed at us having dinner there and suggested we eat before we go. Later a taxi driver referred to it as “fast food.” Meaning they try to serve you fast and get you out of there so the next bunch can come in. Rachel had chicken and it was just okay. Tarzan had a rack of Lamb and it was dry and tasteless. I had Uncle Arthur’s Casserole and it was yuck. I am not a picky eater, but so far our food experience in Ireland was sorely lacking. The good part was the Irish Seafood Chowder. It was awesome and the dark soda bread delish! They serve that bread at every meal. Tarzan had a world famous Guiness and he was not impressed. So far, food has been a terrible let-down. We went back to our room and finally got showered. We all crashed at 8:00 p.m.

It's funny, as I read this now, it all seems so negative. We truly had a great time. Many unexpected experiences, but we were enjoying every minute. I journaled the whole trip, so I will be interested to see if it all seems negative? Hmmmm. I may be learning something about my sense of humor.

I am going to blog my journal for the trip, so my next few blogs will be about this wonderful trip I just took to Ireland. If you get a chance, go.

Phoenix, Arizona

  • I woke up at 1:00 a.m. and remembered my hair dryer was not packed.
  • I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to see what time it was.
  • Got up at 4:15 a.m.
  • At the airport at 6:00 a.m.

We got in the international check in line. It was pleasantly short. Gary called us up to the U.S. Airways counter. We handed over our passports and tickets and Gary began to search the computer. Soon, he said, “I think you are flying United not U.S. Airways.” We all groaned. The tickets clearly stated “US.” Gary asked us to be patient and said he would be right back. I turned to Tarzan and said “The fiasco continues.” Tarzan Replied, “No, the adventure begins.” Don’t you just love him?

Oh, I didn’t tell you that yesterday—the day before we were leaving, we realized our names on the airline tickets did not match the names on our passports! We waiting with our breath held for Gary to return.

Gary was gone about ten minutes. When he returned he informed us that the flight for which we bought tickets did not exist. However, since we had paper tickets he would get us on a flight. Thank you Gary—we were so glad we did not get a rookie or someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Gary got us on standby for a flight leaving at 7:20 a.m. It was 6:50 a.m. so we na-na-na-na-naed (that is code for hurry up at our house) to the security check in and oh-my, the line was 4 rows long. We relaxed because Gary had put us on standby for three flights all of which would put us in Chicago in time to catch our Aer Lingus flight to Dublin, Ireland. We were through the security check by 7:02 and then we na-na-na-na-naed to the gate.
When we got there they had been calling us but when we didn’t show they let other stand bys on first. They only had two seats left—we needed three. The girl told us to stick around—something might come up. Tarzan went to the restroom and as soon as he walked off, she called us up and gave us passes. She told us to get on the plane so she could shut the door. If the door was open and the people with the extra seat she gave us came around the corner, she would have to give them their seats and we would have to wait. Tarzan was out of sight. The guy taking boarding passes tore our stubs off and told Rachel and I to stand in the jetway. We tried to call Tarzan to tell him to hurry—he didn’t answer his phone. While Rachel and I took deep breaths to stay calm, Tarzan came strolling around the corner drying his hands on a paper towel. He saw the look on our faces and rushed to the gate. We got on—not sitting together, but on.

I was sitting by a man who only spoke Spanish. He looked to be about 90 years old, wearing a cowboy hat and brand new sneakers. The beverage cart came around—he had no clue what they were saying to him. I said “aqua” or “coka”? He replied, “Si Coka, gracious.” I helped him put his tray down. He was so cute. He never took his cowboy hat off, can’t be comfortable, he can’t lean his head back to sleep.

There was a man with a screaming new born behind me. Poor guy. He finally got a bottle and the baby settled down. I watched Sabrina on my ipod and then read more from “Dreams of our Fathers.” At the end of the flight the baby threw up all over the seat – I was so glad I was not flying with a baby.

We arrived at the Chicago Airport and had no clue where we were or where we needed to go. After several Inquiries we found we were in terminal 3 and needed to be in terminal 5. We took the rails to terminal 5 and found Aer Lingus. It was closed. Further inquiries led us to a food court. So, here is my first food critique. On the plane, I had a pretty good snack—tuna salad, wheat crackers, strawberry apple sauce, gouda cheese, nuts and a chocolate chip cookie. It was all great except the cookie, Chocolate chip cookies are supposed to be soft, not crunchy. Before we left I told both Tarzan and Rachel, not to go on a trip without cash in their pocket. Neither had cash and if you want food on U.S. Airways, you better have cash, so they were hungry. The next meal was in the food court. Tarzan had McDonald’s, it was a good as McDonald’s ever is. Rachel had pizza, she like it okay. I had the nastiest hot veggie sandwich I have ever had in my life served with nasty baked potato chips and a watered down soda. Yuck! The Chicago airport is really pretty, bright and cheerful, but the food is nothing to brag about. Here are the 2 pictures we took in the Chicago Airport. Tarzan is being a nut as usual.
The flight to Dublin was 9 hours. I slept about 1 hour and watched 3 movies and read. Dinner was beef in gravy with nasty cooked peas and carrots. However, the bread, salad, cheese and cheese cake were great. Breakfast was a croissant sandwich with ham and cheese served with orange juice. I have had indigestion since the Chicago. It only gets better from here!