Thursday, May 26, 2011

Truly, Madly, Deeply

When I set out to visit a place I never been I never know what to expect. Truthfully, I'm a planner, but l some things I prefer to leave to chance and see what happens. While I usually have a list of some of the tourist attractions I want see, I like to leave lots of time and room for the unexpected and to explore the roads less travelled.

And here I was in Dublin! Since check-in time at the hotel was hours away and my luggage would be safe as it was "allowed" to check in, I decided to walk the streets and see where it would take me. First impressions are most important they say. Good thing I don't subscribe full-hearted to that believe, otherwise I might have thought I landed in a Willy Wonka dream and turbed around on my heels. Color me orange, won't you!!! This is a phenomenon overtaking woman in Ireland. The compulsive urge to slather on tree layers of orange tinted foundation. And that is not all. Add a good dose of super-black eyeliner, ounces of eye shadow and several applications of thick mascara. Super-skinny Jeans (some people should just not be allowed to wear these), the highest platform shoes or crazy leopard boots and the look is perfect! While I try not to judge, I do have to wonder how and why anyone would hide their potential natural beauty in such an extreme manner and who are the men or other women who find this attractive?

My expedition led me to Grafton Street eventually. Dublin's Newbury Sreet, for my Boston-area peeps. Nothing unusual here - chain stores mingle with unique boutiques; coffee shops, steet performers. This is where I met Juan. He was sculpting a dog out of wet sand in the middle of the pedestrian area. I stopped to watch him for a few minutes. We chatted. Juan is from Romania, but spoke several languages including German and Portuguese. Before I left, I dropped an Euro in the hat he had laid out for tips.

I seem to have good luck in meeting interesting strangers. The next day, having woken up at 1pm (too many halfpints of Guinness the night before) I decide to walk through Stephen's Green, a beautiful park just 5 minutes from my hotel, to find a nice coffee shop for breakfast. He was standing by the water fountain and looked lost. Our eyes met and I'm not sure why, but "are you lost" were the words I heard myself say. I, a tourist just a day in town was asking someone if THEY were lost. I had to attribute this to the Guinness the night before. And this is how the rest of our interaction unfolded:
Stanger, smiling: "No, I'm not lost. Are you?"
Me, smiling: "I am not sure were I'm going yet, but no, not lost. OK then, have a good day."
I started to walk away.
Stranger, walking toward me: "Wait a moment please..... Could I take your picture?"
Oh, here we go I thought.
Me: "Ummmmm......"
Stanger, still smiling: "I'm a photographer and I'm taking pictures of strangers for a project. Can I take yours?"
Photographer! That is what they all say.
Me: "I really don't like myself in pictures, but if you want to.....sure....why not."
Stranger: "Most people don't like looking at themselves in pictures. It's normal. Come, stand over here in the shade."
He started to snap away. The shutter of his camara taking frame after frame.
Stranger: "Relax! Think of something happy, something you like......ok, this is good."
Me: "May I see?"
He flipped through the images for me.
Me: "Ugh......ah, I like that one," pointing at one where I was looking down and smiling.
Stranger: "I will send them to you, if you give me your email."
He pulls out a pad and pen from his bag. I hesitated, then saw his wedding band. I exhaled, thinking "good". I was not looking for a fling, and the band is a sacred thing for me. No messing with that.
Me, as I write down my email: "What is your name?"
It just had occurred to me that we had not introduced each other.
Stranger: "Adam."
Me: "I'm Margarida. Nice to meet you Ehdam."
Adam: "Ahdam.... Nice to meet you."
Me, molding my lips: "Aaaadham..... Do you have kids?"
Adam: "No, but we have plans. Do you?"
Me: "No..... Ok, I look forward to getting the pictures. Have a nice day."
Adam: "Thank you. I will send them soon. Enjoy Dublin. "
Me, waking away: "Bye."
Adam, standing by the fountain again: "Bye."

Adam was from Poland. Dirty blond, shoulder long hair parted in the middle, brown eyes framed by round wire-rimmed glasses and had thin lips. He spoke in a soft eastern accent and was very sweet as it turned out.

I have yet to receive that email with the pictures e promised.

(more on my Dublin adventure later and I'll explain the title of this post as well)

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