Travel Rule: Follow The Fun People
As I travel, I'm starting to create a list of rules.
Maybe most importantly, my Bonaire journey taught me that the idea of "sticking it out" is often contrary to what's best for me and that instead, I should have the courage to read the signs and let things go if they're not working. My trip to Ireland presented a whole new batch of travel rules, starting with Follow the Fun People.
When my friend L and I arrived at Abbeyglen Castle in Clifden, Ireland, we noticed two thrones in the entryway. "We should get someone to take pictures of us in those thrones," I said.
"Yeah!" L said.
We looked at the older couple sitting quietly near the fireplace and then at another white haired couple reading by a window. Just then a shaggy haired gangly dude and his bearded friend passed by us laughing, holding pints of beer. "Let's follow the fun people," I said.
"Definitely!" said L.
We followed them to an empty bar area. "Will you please take a picture of us in those thrones?" I asked. The gangly guy turned and said, "Of course!" The three of us walked back to the thrones. L and I sat down and toasted each other with champagne. The man introduced himself as Maxie. "My friend is a photographer!" He said while taking photos of us with my iphone. "He should take your pictures. We're here to do promos for the castle hotel." "We'll totally be your models," L said. "I should probably put some makeup on," I said. "You look great!' Maxie waved at me like I was ridiculous for wanting to primp after spending the seven hours in a Dublin pub the previous night and then driving across the country. "More drinks!" Maxie announced and handed me my phone. L and I looked at each other, shrugged, and then followed the fun person. In the bar area, we chatted with Maxie and his photographer friend. Then the owner of the hotel came in. "Did I hear you're going to model for some photos in the throne?" he asked. "Yep. We're your models," L said. The castle owner led us outside where the photographer suddenly had his camera. The throne was now set up outside the hotel entrance. L and I squeezed into the chair together while Maxie, the photographer and the castle owner told us to smile. "I've arranged for the four of you to have dinner together," the castle owner said. "But first, bubbles and a toast!" We went back inside the castle where the bartender handed out champagne flutes. The owner addressed the crowd. Maxie whispered not so softly, "Why is everyone here 3,500 years old?" L and I tried not to giggle. The hotel owner said, "Thank you all for coming! I see you've brought the beautiful weather." I laughed. The owner gave me side-eye. That's when I realized gray days without rain are good weather in Ireland. At dinner, there were more bubbles, ridiculous stories, and laughter. All the men commented about how much I ate. "Wow, you really ate those mussels fast," the photographer said. "You got the mousse and the ice cream?" Maxie asked. "Don't Irish women eat?" I asked. By then, the castle owner had pulled up a chair and set two bottles of red wine at the table. A big man entered and sat at the table. "You girls are coming to my pub, right?" the big man asked. L and I looked at each other. "Yes," Maxie and the photographer said. We followed the fun people to the pub where L listened to the butcher describe the town's history. An older gentleman told me he was sorry about all the horrible things going on in the United States. "It's those radical leftists! They're ruining everything!" His blue eyes bulged. "Ohhhh noooo," I said. "Yes!" He said. "The main stream media is lying to everyone. The only reliable news source is Fox News." "But Fox News is actually the largest outlet in the US. They are the mainstream media," I said with a smile. He paused and said, "It's really not fair of you to come here after I've had 34 pints looking as pretty as you do. I'm not prepared to argue facts." I laughed and said, "Well, then let's not argue at all. Let's talk about the things we agree on, like how beautiful Ireland is, ok?"
He smiled and said, "Ok."