Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kissing my way across the UK: Belfast

Authors notes: 
1. Irishmen. What can I say? You would be foolish to think that the stories about kissing the Blarney Stone were bogus. I have yet to meet an Irishman who couldn't, at the very least, charm me into a kiss. 
2. When I replay these events in my head I am totally making a soundtrack for a really lame movie. 
3. The images are not mine because I am too lazy to go find my UK disk. 

When we boarded the plane for Belfast I was feeling a little green, and not in the Emerald Isle sort of way. I don't recall what we drank at Lesley's the night before, but morning came too early and my stomach was telling my head that throwing up would be a better decision than flying. Still, we pressed on and made our way to Northern Ireland for a day of sight seeing and shopping.

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It's impossible for me to recall the flights to and from any of the places in the UK we visited without feeling slightly romantic. The United states is laid out on grids where everything is a variation of squares, rectangles, and the occasional perfect circle (still unsure what those are for) thrown in for good measure. The view from above is much different there. The stone fences line properties you can imagine were stepped off and agreed upon between neighbors centuries ago. It "flows" where ours "breaks". This view is quite possibly the first moment (in my life) that I felt like I'd found home. It's also where I first thought that I could live in a cottage on the shore with a gorgeous man and a bunch of wine with my book in progress. Slow, hungover, sexually interrupted progress.

Sorry, hormones distracted me. Where were we? Right, Belfast. The vision I had in mind of Belfast was something from a war torn documentary I'd seen when I was growing up. I questioned the amount of fun one could have whilst dodging artillery and running in a zig zag fashion (good zombie apocalypse training skills no doubt). At this point, the most I hoped for was a sexy cab driver to plant a kiss on. Wish. Granted.

There is a CD somewhere around the house with pictures of our travels, documenting all the cabbies I kissed while traveling. Jackie is somewhere in there. He was tall, well-built, ready smile, and slightly graying at the temples (no doubt from the vast amount of time he spent being sexually harassed by his many female fares). I'm ashamed to admit that the idea of a tall Irishman struck me as odd. To be honest the most experience I had with the Irish at that time in my life was Lucky from the box of Lucky Charms. Well that and images of short, pudgy, red nosed politicians or law enforcement from bad crime TV shows. Fancy that... my first visit to Ireland and I'd found the one tall guy of their kind!

Being the shy type (shut your face... I was), and mostly sober, I didn't have the nerve to grab that sweet man and plant a big wet kiss on his lips. These days I might have to go to confession to explain the things I might do to him... and I'm not even Catholic. Men have absolutely no business walking around looking like that, much less offering strange women rides here and there. None at all. Regardless, I did get on my tip toes and plant a soft kiss on his cheek. He smelled of soap and something earthy. Moss? Hell if I know. It was sexy.

Jackie drove us to the city center and deposited us curb side. He handed me his card in case I managed to slip away from the girls and needed to have my ovaries rearranged or something. Kidding... I'm pretty sure he just wanted the return fare to the airport. Either way, I was smiling. The sun was shining and the day was warming up. Add to that the fact that the Belfast I experienced was nothing at all what I'd envisioned. It was all that and a bag of crisps.

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Aside from the full body makeovers we gave ourselves in Boots (they have samples all over the store), the amount of glitter on Lesley's eyes, the down shirt photos taken over a few drinks at a gorgeous pub, and the wearing of underwear on the outside of my clothes (Thank you Dunnes) there was so much to see!

I'm not saying there wasn't a lot to be seen in those down shirt moments... holy tits, but have I mentioned the architecture? No? It's gorgeous! Copper roofing details with authentic time worn patina set against aged stone fills me with as much longing as a naughty Irish brogue. The Irish also know how to do a pub. Even on a lazy Sunday you can find a pub with live music, cold beers, and character. I don't know if we were just really lucky or really picky, but we weren't able to find a dive bar to embarrass ourselves in so the classy pub was stuck with us.

We managed to see the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic and her sister ships, and road on the open top of a bus tour down the Shankill Road, which still has the rolling barricades in the event of any trouble. I also managed to nearly punch a Canadian woman and her friend for being stupid. When I heard the familiar sound of American voices in front of us, I cheerfully said, "Oh, you're Americans too!" to which she replied, "God no! We're CANADIAN!" then gave me a dirty look. So I said, "Funny, the last I checked Canada was in North America." Then I stood up and threatened to beat her down, right there in front of God and everyone. Good times.

Before I knew it, the day was coming to a close and we had to catch a plane back to Liverpool. We hailed a cab and headed to the airport as the sun was setting. Our cabby for the return trip was not quite as handsome as dear Jackie, but I kissed him anyway... because sometimes I kiss unattractive people, for educational purposes of course. For the record, before anyone starts to think I am all talk and no game, I did share my bed with two hotties while on vacation. Both Lesley and Sue happened to be excellent snugglers.

Next up: Edinburgh

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