Thursday, 12 December 2013

In Dublin's Fair City

DUBLIN, IRELAND. In September this year, Ireland officially exited from the recession that started in 2008, the year when the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom suddenly came to a grinding halt. The following years were brutal for the country, which fell deeply into depression. That, it seems, is all behind them, and if the activity seen on the streets of Dublin this week is anything to go by, the economic picture is looking a lot brighter. Vast crowds fill the streets, shopping crazily. Even the typical Irish weather (mainly gloomy, with frequent drizzle - at least once per day seems to be mandatory) isn’t keeping them at home. Prices for hotels, food, and other tourist related services, which fell dramatically after 2008 are climbing again. Things, at least on the surface, seem to be improving.

Eager to escape the wildly shopping crowds, I made the short trip by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train to the coastal village of Howth, a short distance to the north-east of the city. A large marina, fishing fleet, and gorgeous coastal scenery await the visitor, although at this time of year, the icy wind off the sea meant that the views were better enjoyed from behind the window of one of the many pubs and restaurants.

In Dublin, as in any major city in northern Europe or the USA, I am reminded of the rushed and hurried lives that people lead in these places. I need only step outside to see people literally running; and they are not doing it for exercise. There are business men in suits, business women in smart skirts and heels, all running for buses, running for trains, and presumably running to, from, and between appointments. They look stressed, they look harassed, and they look tired. Such is life in the rat race, and seeing it once again reminds me how happy I am to be living in Merida. The Mexican habit of arriving late can sometime be annoying, but it sure beats having a stress related heart attack while running to catch a bus in order to arrive on time. To my ‘paisanos’ (countrymen) in Ireland, I invite you to come and visit Merida, to experience the peace and tranquility of life in Yucatan. Oh, and need I mention, the weather is better, too?

What else this week? In the entire country of Mexico, December 12 marks the ‘Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe’ – a major religious event, which is fascinating to witness, whether or not you are a believer. In Merida, the events center around the ‘Iglesia de San Cristobal’, at the intersection of Calle 50 and Calle 69.

Any Ricky Martin fans out there? If you didn’t already know, he will be performing at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, on December 28. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

From the chilly city of Dublin, I wish you all ‘Feliz Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe’!

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