In my many years of travelling overseas and experiencing different countries, peoples and cultures, the one city that has impressed me the most – is Dublin.
In Europe, that reason that Dublin stands out in start contrast to many other cities, is the familiarity with the language – the fact that everyone speaks English. Everywhere I go – I find people are warm, friendly and helpful. Take the taxi driver who drives you from the airport to the city. As soon as you get into his cab, he wants to strike a conversation. He wants to know about you – ‘where have you come from, where are you going’ kind of stuff. And the Hotel staff, or the shop owner – everyone communicates with you in such a friendly way, that you at once feel you are at home…..
Dublin is also one of the cleanest and the most organised cities I have come across in Europe. It beats Paris, Barcelona Amsterdam or any other large metropolis in the Continent. Maybe because it remains a small town. It has a charm of its own. The charm lies in its simplicity. The city is – well – small and simple. No big distances to travel, small traffic, simple disciplined people.
Dublin is a city full of bars and pubs. Every second shop seems to be a bar.The decor of every single one of them reminding you of ancient inns and taverns of the late 19th and 20th century. One is taken back many years to an entirely different era, and entirely different generation.
We seemed to have brought bad weather along with us from Europe – going by the taxi driver’s opinion – the one who drove us from the airport to the City. Apparently, it rained the whole day, bringing down, not only the temperature, but also the otherwise buoyant mood of the locals. It was the first time in three days, that I actually used the thick jacket I reluctantly carried with me all the way from India.
The other experience and a very valuable one – that I gained on this trip, courtesy my colleague Girish- is that these ready to eat, home made recipies, packed in nice aluminium foil packs are a very very decent deal. Like me, Girish misses terribly, home food, when he is on a tour abroad. So his wife, forever worried about his eating routine while travelling, packs may such ready to eat packets in his bag. This time she packed a couple of extra ones for me – at Grish's behest.
So, for the past two days, all the meals we have had, are in our room – no thanks to room service. Each time, Girish digs into his suitcase, and brings out a packet of ‘daal makhni’ or ‘paneer matar’ or ‘pau bhaji’, He then very ingeniously plugs in the tea making machine, and boils some water. And then dips in these packs – one by one. All it takes is two minutes, for the food to get ‘ready to eat’
And boy ! Are they good ! They are delicious. I wonder why in all these recent years, we haven’t in our own homes, stocked these packs for the inevitable emergency – when the cook fails to turn up, or when the ever loyal maid of many years has to finally go for her ‘once in two years vacation’.
I must not forget to discuss this with my wife – when I get back…..
After a one day rest today, its back to hectic travelling tomorrow. I will get up and be ready at 4.15 am to take a taxi to the airport, for a 6.30 am flight to Frankfurt. And then a connecting flight to Atlanta. This flight is of ten hours duration. A marathon.
This visit will be the sixth one to the US in three years. I intend meeting many old school mates and college mates, and if I do, it will be a worthwhile trip.