Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So we headed over to the gym a little early, stopped at a pub on the way for a pint or two (as we assumed the locals would too), and arrived to see very few americans. Actually there were very few people period ... about 15 of whom 5 of us were Americans. I was also surprised by the look of the Irish kids; all of them were between 6-4 and 6-6, which i was not expecting. Now we assumed that a lot of visiting students would come out to play some basketball, since its relatively rare over here. I was actually worried that we would have to wait a while to get into a game or something and the night would be a waste.
Well anyway, then a 6-10 guy comes over and introduces himself as the coach, which surprised us a little who didn't expect a lot of structure to this club. He proceeds to ... run us on drills for the next 2 hours. There was about a 10-15 minutes full court 4v4 scrimmage and that was it. We had one on one drills, shooting drills, on ball defense drills; things I haven't done since 8th grade. About 15 minutes in all 3 of us were dragging, not expecting this at all; and naturally our lack of hustle led to ... orders to do push-ups, sit-ups, sprints, suicides.
After 2 hours of this, our confusion was finally removed as the coach thanked the Americans for coming out and informed us none of us would be making the team. Yes, we apparently tried out for the varsity basketball team here. In crazy Euro talk, a "club" is basically their varsity sport. We had gotten the night wrong, surely along with the 2 other americans who came; the basketball rec time was the next night at 8. Unfortunately we were all too sore the next day to make it to the actual basketball club rec time, but at least I can now say that I got cut from the NUI basketball squad.
Monday, January 19, 2009
(Also might be covered by my traditional Irish band which might be forming when i buy a mandolin; more on that later)
This is Galway Girl; You might know it from the smash hit movie, Ps I love you. We've heard some great versions of this with completely different words, basically making fun of the movie. "Galway Hooker" is my favorite.
"Dirty Old Town" ; a great sing-along that is played once a night.
"Molly Malone" also a great sing along as you can tell from the video:
Friday, January 16, 2009
Random Thoughts and Info about Random Things
Galway sits on the Galway bay and is cut in half by the river Corrib. The town center, on the left bank, is basically 8 blocks or so of medieval pedestrian only streets. My apartment sits one block off this main drag, which goes from the river in the north to Eyre Square in the south. Along those 8 blocks are about 30 pubs or so, dozens of restaurants and the rest is all shops and stores. On the other bank of the river is NUI’s campus, about a 20 minutes walk from my apartment. Anyway, the city is great; its exactly the kind of small city that I've always wanted to live in - you can walk anywhere and everywhere, and it's really got the feeling of a small village in terms of the atmosphere etc... From the friendliness and openness of the locals in the pub, to the open air farmers market at the church, it really is a great place. I guess calling it a city compared to philly or something is wrong, since its only about 80,000 people I think, but still its a great to be.
First of all, it is quite a part of Irish culture, at least as far as I’ve seen it. Never before have I seen so many people out every night, and not only that but people of every single age, and … well that’s basically the most diversity you get here, but you get the point. What I like about the culture here a lot more than in the states is that drinking isn’t the thing to do … its just well … assumed that you will do it. The things to do are ridiculous amounts of live music … 7 nights a week, usually twice a night, at every single pub; Irish dancing at basically every single bar every night (wait for a more detailed post on the Irish dancing scene till next week when I hopefully build up enough courage to get out on the floor); and the best thing is how pubs are actually just the center of life around here. Everyone from the city is in one and every single one of them will gladly talk to you if you want or even really if you don’t. The stereotypical friendliness of the Irish really is quite true; whether it’s the culture or the drinking ... or I guess both are the same.
So it really is true what they say about the Irish weather. I can’t whether I like it or not to be honest with you. On the plus side, it never really gets too cold; however it also never really gets warm … at all. 40-45 degrees is the high and the low pretty much every day. It rains, a lot; but the rain here isn’t really rain, its more of like a cool mist that barely gets you wet at all. Personally, its my favorite type of rain to be honest with you. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the sun is up for maybe around 8 hours at the most, which can get kind of depressing at some times. However, on the plus side I hear that around May that the sun is out for 12-14 hours a day or something like that. I guess that’s what you get this far from the equator. (For some reason I always seem to think that Ireland is right there at like New York City or something, but its actually on the same line as like the Hudson bay in Canada…) So anyway, that should be another interesting experience.
A slideshow of a few pubs: