Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Welcome to Ireland

So, vacation time 2018 is here. I haven’t done a great job of these little blogger journals the last couple of years and I miss them. They’re a nice reminder of what we’ve seen and done and impressions. Plus, you know, more writing is a good thing to get into the habit of.

But first, allow me to indulge in a small conspiracy.

The flight over was a slightly below par international Air Canada flight aboard an older plane with uncomfortable seats. And we were an hour late arriving. Among the many sins of Air Canada I certainly can’t get outraged over it.

But it did land us right in the middle of a flood of planes arriving in Dublin. A lot of eastern North American cities launch flights in the late evening so they arrive the next morning allowing you to save the cost of a hotel....at the price of being jetlagged out of your mind the first day you arrive. But details.

So as we’re wandering down the endless corridors of Dublin International Airport to get to customs and immigration when we walk past a sign that said it was five minutes ahead. Then, about 10 seconds later, we ran into a wall of people that didn’t move for the next 30 minutes. And then for the next hour begrudgingly crawled forward a few inches at a time.

Far be it for me to tell the Irish, well known for their efficiency, that perhaps taking a couple of hundred jetlagged people in a deeply irritable mood who want to do little more than get to a hotel room to shower and nap that this is not the best way to endear warm feelings and a desire to spend money in your country. But if there was a suggestion box at immigration I might have slipped that note in.

It got worse when you got near the front. EU citizens had been breezing past the non-EU citizens at a healthy clip during these 90 minutes. In fact, helpful immigration staff were routinely going up and down the line to rescue any that might have accidentally wandered into the wrong line. Which always buoys spirits....but only European ones.

(When one of the immigration officials checked to see if there were any wayward EU citizens in our area and asked “You’re all Americans, right?” a dozen voices sang out “No! Canadians!” Her response of “Americans, Canadians...whatever” was quickly matched by my annoyed “Irish, English....whatever”, but she didn’t hear it, much to Cathy’s relief.)

Near the front there were about eight machines which only required EU citizens to place their passport into a scanner to be admitted. A process that takes about 15 seconds. There were also four officials there to deal with the few who were EU-Ctizens but required help.

And for the hundreds of non-EU people in line waiting in line? Four people.

I mean, it’s so breaktakingly stupid that it gave me pause. When we were in Portugal last year the line was ridiculous, but it kept moving and there were about a dozen immigration agents. It took about 30 minutes to get through with more people.

And so, the conspiracy. After I saw how many agents were handing non-EU I said out loud “Jesus, is this some kind of EU ‘go fuckyourself Americans for voting for Donald Trump and giving us all migraines’ and Canadians are just caught in the crossfire?”

I uttered my conspiracy mostly for Cathy’s amusement, but then a voice behind me went “I’m from America and I was just thinking the exact same thing.”

So if you’re Canadian and travelling from North America to the EU, perhaps be prepared for a chilled welcome, no matter how many Canadian flags you have on your backpack.

Most of the rest of the first day was spent getting to the hotel, shower and napping. We did manage a wander of the area, and to hit a pub for a pint and a meal. The main wandering about will be in the next post.

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