Thursday, February 12, 2015

Galway: A few observations

Only a few short observations about today.

Parents—often both mother and father—walk their children to school. And generally the children stay with them and do not run ahead to be with their friends or classmates. It’s cute to see a dad sporting a pink backpack for his daughter.

Older children use public transportation to get to school. It is not unusual for me to see a 12-year-old getting on the bus by him- or herself to get to school. They really seem much more savvy about riding city buses than the typical American student.

In general, drivers are kind and considerate—including bus drivers. If someone needs to merge into a lane, they let them. If someone is stuck, or even pulls off to the side to let out a passenger, no one honks. (In fact, I have only heard one or two honks since I have been here.) If you need to get across the street and you are in a crosswalk even though the light hasn’t turned, at least half of the drivers will stop and let you cross.

As I reported earlier, when I first arrived in the country and bought a bus ticket to get from the Dublin Airport to Galway, I discovered that I had just missed the express bus, and rather than take a local, I bought another ticket for a direct bus run by a different company. I thought I would just send the first ticket to Nancy so she can use it when she arrives.

Drivers ready for a quick get-away
Later I began to worry that maybe bus tickets are good only on the day of purchase, so the next time I passed the bus station, I asked a driver if I could use a previously purchased ticket anytime. “Absolutely not,” he replied. The next day, I asked the same thing of a different driver; he heartily assured me, “Of course!” When I asked a third driver a day or so later, he stopped and looked at me, twisted his head in a thoughtful way and said, “It depends on the bus driver.” Because this is Ireland, all three are right. I am learning that I just need to accept that.

For dinner tonight, I went to Tulsi’s, an Indian restaurant. I really wanted some vegetables, so I ordered vegetable biryani. It was good, but high in starch content: in addition to the rice, it included potatoes, peas, and some cauliflower. I fear that some people think offering “vegetarian” dishes simply means leaving out the meat, rather than providing balanced, healthy options with nutritious vegetables. Oh well. The serving size was so large that I packed half of it for tomorrow’s lunch.

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