We got to the airport, got a transit card, and found a hotel using the absolutely novel method of going to the tourist desk and having a person find us a hotel. (She used booking.com, though.) After taking two buses to get to our hotel, we took a third to meet our friend Samuel at the Winding Stair for another of their delicious meals, especially the smoked fish plate and the cheese plate.
Samuel told us that the Charleville Lodge, into which we had been randomly booked at the airport, was in the middle of a huge flame war. A hotel flame war has to be pretty huge for a local person to have any awareness of it. Hotels are usually off the radar for locals. I read up on it a bit and couldn’t figure out the problem. It’s an ordinary two and a half star hotel and the guests seemed overly picky and the owner seems overly feisty and defensive.
Tuesday we made a pilgrimage to see a plaque over Broombridge, a minor bridge next to a rail stop. The plaque celebrated the mathematician Hamilton’s insight about quaternions, which he had while walking over it. Then we walked to the nearby Glasnevin Cemetery, signed up for a tour, and thereby got a strong dose of Irish history, starting with a spirited recitation of the call to arms given at the funeral of a fallen Irish nationalist. No funerals of nationalists were allowed by the British after that. The tour visited several important graves, including Roger Casement, and Charles Parnell, whose grave, and commemorative rock, sit atop the “cholera pit”, where thousands of poor Irishmen who had died of cholera had been buried in a mass grave. There are more people buried in that cemetery than are alive in Dublin now. The tour saved the grave of Michael Collins for last. Afterwards we had dinner at Camden Kitchen, which seemed a bit lonely because we were seated upstairs, which was almost entirely empty.
Wednesday and Thursday were another pair of stupid travel days. We returned to the airport; the stupid airport bus was running more than half an hour late but we’d allowed lots of time. After checking our bag, we went through security and then through US Customs and Immigration. Unlike the previous time we’d done that, there was virtually nobody there; this time I was happy to be lonely. So we had lots of time to sit and wait for our plane to Orlando, which took us there on time and without incident. The inflight entertainment system even worked; I watched a cute movie called Dope, and finally watched The Notebook. I think both movies deserved at least the seven inch screen they were given. We landed at Orlando around sunset, got the rental car, and headed to Sebring, about 90 minutes away. The car was a total piece of crap — no central locking, even, and it was very loud when driving over 30mph, as if a small plane were trailing overhead. We were somewhat jetlagged; it was 8pm and it felt to us as if it were 1am, having gotten up at 7am. Ray called our friends Mike and Nancy who pointed out that the roads had been closed earlier in the day when someone was caught placing pipe bombs, but by the time we arrived, everything was open again. We met Mike and Nancy for burgers at Five Guys, a fairly decent hamburger chain which gives you peanuts while you wait, and all the toppings are free (they don’t stock avocado). They even are in the Bay Area; perhaps I’ll check them out there. We stayed at the Kenilworth Lodge, a faded glorious hotel from 1916. They still fill up when there is a race.
Thursday we drove to Miami, stopping for a few errands along the way, including sending our fleece jackets and warm hats home since we won’t need them in Brazil. We flew to Curaçao, and on from there to Georgetown, Guyana, arriving at 11:30pm, still somewhat jetlagged. The hotel had sent someone to pick us up (it might have been polite if they’d mentioned the cost up front, but it wasn’t that much more than the Internet said taxis cost). The airport is an hour out of town; it was explained that everything closer to town was already built up, and they didn’t think of invoking eminent domain to clear out a space.