Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ireland Day 8

I am currently sitting in my rental car at the tip of Slea Head, visibility is down to about 100 meters, (and I have decided to do everything metric in my posts as long as I am in Europe, I will leave conversions up to you.) it is windy and the rain is a fine mist, basically I am in a cloud. But I have nothing but time to sit and wait and hope that the weather clears. I have no other place I would rather be so if I have to wait to see what I came here to see, I will wait. Yes, Slea Head is the reason I returned to Ireland. Back in September 2001 when I was here with my family It was perfect for photos. I came back in December of that year and it was not as good, now I have seen the worst it can be. I am not worried, I plan on taking a nap in the car and see what happens. I may sit here for hours and not see anything more than what I am seeing now, but how often do you get to visit your favorite place on the planet?

So I will wait and believe that the Universe will show me what it wants and it will be enough. Even with the bad weather, this place feeds me somehow, much like my cabin at camp.So after the first hour of waiting in some ways it is worse, the rain is not as hard but the visibility is down to 35 meters. I took a short nap in hopes of waking to sunshine, no such luck. Most people would call me crazy for just sitting here waiting but I don't know if there is sun in other parts of the Island, and I am missing some good pictures.? Who knows but I know this I will miss pictures here if I leave. It is hard to explain but I really don't mind waiting up to six hours for the weather to clear. If it doesn't, such is life but if it does... Karma is Karma

So while I wait I sit and listen to music from and about Ireland, I watch the seagull who has been my companion since I have arrived. He looks like he is waiting for tourist to drop some food and figures this is as good a place as any to wait out the storm.

The trip was fun, the weather did not turn out as I had hoped but I feel I was able to get some shots I was happy with. The thing I was retaught was this, when you don't have great sunlight but overcast skies, black and white becomes your best friend. I stopped looking for colors and started looking for different shades and tones, that in color may not look great but when converted to black and white look amazing. The shots of the run down castle are some on my favorites so far. I am looking forward to getting back on the Mac to stitch all my panoramas together. I am very hopeful I will end up with pictures that capture the beauty of the country, even without the best light. I really enjoyed being able to hangout with the golf tour folks in the evenings and then being able to do my own thing without having to worry about the riding on the coach and only stopping when it stopped. It is also nice because I am not flying out until early tomorrow and have time today to wait for my pictures at Slea Head. Yes I know the weather has not gotten any better but I have faith that I can change that, I just need to work at it a little harder. “And while the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth and live it. And thou the darkness around me closes, songs in the night it giveth. No storm can shake my inner most calm, while to that rock I'm clinging.” - Enya (Playing as I am writing)

I am about to start hour three of my vigil and it is the same as when I got here. Seeing people on bikes ride up to this spot and give me hope, if they are willing to brave the elements to see what is out here, me sitting in a warm dry car it really not all that bad. What I wouldn't give for an updated satellite image right now. This morning when I checked I knew I had little chance to get good weather but I am always hopeful. Good things happen to me because I want good things to happen to me, bad things do not happen to me because I don't want bad things to happen to me. Learn it, love it, live it.

OK, so I made it two and a half hours before the Universe told me it was time to go. As usual, it was right. I headed back to Dingle and was amazed at how much the town has grown in seven years, it is sad really. There are nothing but row after row of two story, cookie cutter, vacation town homes outside of town. It spoils the view of the bay now. I was sad to see it like this. The good thing was I was more focused on trying to find breaks in the cloud cover. I didn't look at the town much as I was driving in. I then headed over the Conner Pass. Visibility was down to about 10 meters - (Sidebar ahead)

Other than not being able to stitch my panoramas together, I love my little laptop. For those who are on the road and hate lugging around 7 pounds of laptop, let me tell you this, spend the $450.00 and get the Asus EeePc 901. I have the 900 and will get a 901 in November when I return to the states for a visit. (it has a faster processor, better wireless and an over 6 hour battery life, over the 900) This thing has been great, I am really having a great time with it and it allows me to write when I feel like it and just want it want, I can then come back to it when I feel like it and write some more. OK back to Conner Pass and limited visibility.

On the way up the drop offs to your right will make the weak almost wet there pants. I was so bummed that the fog/cloud was so thick because, I couldn't get any pictures and since I could not see how far down it was, it wasn't scary at all. What's the fun in that. It's OK it gives me one more reason to return to Ireland soon. (Beware tangent ahead) The other one is I am so sorry I was in a rush to get to Slea Head because of the “Shepard” I saw on the ride up a random mountain road I had randomly decided to drive up because it looked narrow and steep, two things I love when driving. When you see the picture you will understand why I should have talked with him. I didn't want to bother him and make him stop, because as soon as you stopped moving the midges started to attack, so I just said Hi, and let him keep walking. The reason I think I need to go back and talk with him is this, he passed me three times on the road as he would catch up to me when I would stop every 200 meters to take a different angle on the same basic picture. Three times and each time I thought, talk with him a second find out what his story is, he is too unique a person not to talk with. His photos will help you understand. And I want to bring my mom over here to see Galway and points north. Who knows? (tangent over)

So on the way down the pass I understood when I had felt it was time to leave Slea Head, the rainbow I got to see. One minute nothing, the next, the sun pops out just for a few minutes behind me and in front of me is the coolest rainbow i had ever seen. I was so close and both ends were clearly visible to me. I don't think the photos will do it justice. So a parked my car and watched for about five minutes before the clouds covered the sun and it faded into memories. About five minutes later the sun popped out again but this time it lit up a hill and gave me the best shots of my trip. I haven't even looked at any of the photos from today yet and I know I have my winner in there. I knew it before I stopped the car, this was my one chance, the best light I had the entire trip and I was in a great position. I feel like that 30 minutes of time I had driving down the back side of the pass, seeing the rainbow and then the best light and colors I had seen in the last 8 days made every cloudy day I had before disappear, it saved my trip. Honestly without that 30 minutes I would be leaving tomorrow with no strong desire to return, now I know I will return soon.

I also want to say that the hotel was maybe not as bad as I wrote earlier, the U.M.S. played a major part in it. But it was cathartic to rant like that once again. It had been so long since I had done it I forgot how fun it was to write them, I just hate what it takes to get that muse going. I stick with this muse for a while, it may not be as fun to read but I try and keep it interesting. It was only the kitchen staff that first night that gave me a false impression of the staff. In fact other than that one dick head, let's be honest, he was, it was 9:50 not 10pm everyone else was great. The girl who cleaned the room was from Lithuania and was very nice as were the few other staff I got a chance to interact with where wonderful. Also the prices are not as high as I thought, I was reading from the back of the door which shows the maximum you can be charged, so my numbers are a little off. The place is still a maze though.

I will catch a flight out of Shannon at 6:40am on Ryanair, I then have 1 hour and 40 minutes to get off the plane in Stanstead, clear passport control, collect my baggage, clear customs, go upstairs and check in, go through security and run like OJ would for my next Ryanair flight to Bratislava. Yes that is how Ryanair does it, one place at a time, no connecting flights. That way they can whack you more times for more fees but is was still a cheap way to get to visit the UK and Ireland in one trip. I should be back at the flat in Bratislava by noon on Sunday. I then get up at 7am to catch the bus to Vienna for a 10am flight to Istanbul, Turkey for a three day visit with Irem and Ali, who I meet at camp this summer. I then fly back late Thursday night into Vienna. And I was jut thinking it would be cheaper for me to get a room in Vienna for two nights because Sunday I fly out for a 'mystery city” (Details to follow, Clem, no spilling the beans.) and the cost of a car service out and back is almost the same as a hotel for two nights. Plus I have the added bonus of being able to explore and shot Vienna. I will see... (crap now I have more work to do)

I did shot almost 200 pictures today, even with the crappy weather so I am going to get working on them and try and get them posted tonight, if I am not too tired. Plus Internet is 5 Euro per hour in this hotel so maybe not. Stay tuned.

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