Dear friends, I’m sorry that I’m really busy with preparing my holidays in Tenerife – well, not really. There are a few stories left that I want to tell you, maybe I’ll manage to post them in the next few days…
Today at lunch, Axel and Ilko found out that both of them have a mobile phone with video capabilities. While sitting next to each other, back to back on a bench, they started a phone call, just for fun. And Nuno had nothing better to do than recording this event with his own phone 😉
I wanted to charge the battery of my notebook at Dublin airport. I expected that there would either be no possibility to do that, or some place where it’d be really expensive. I was surprised when the lady at the information desk kindly offered me to charge the notebook right at the information desk! Later, when I was at the gate but the flight was delayed, I just used one of the sockets in the wall. Nobody cared – not like the German railways, who had once accused a student of theft of electricity.
Axel asked me to feed his cats while he was on a business trip. Well, no problem, but I asked him for fool-proof instructions. He was prepared for that, and indeed, he had some PowerPoint slides on “feeding fierce beasts”. However, I was too stupid to understand the description where his flat is. He had said something about the second entrance on the right, but in fact it was ambiguous depending on the way you counted. I was able to enter the wrong house with one key (the houses in that estate are all the same), but of course not the flat. On the phone, Axel finally realised what was going wrong and sent me to the right door.
As a EU citizen whose opinion is not honoured by his own government, it’s interesting for me to watch the preparations to the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, i.e. the European Constitution in disguise. A few weeks ago one could only see a few posters promoting a “no” vote, but this week a large number of posters in favour of a “yes” vote appeared. Of course I would vote “yes” as well, for a Europe that works better (quoted from one of these posters), and I grudgingly accept the good tradition of the German government not trusting its own people in certain questions, but still a referendum could have helped the political education of the Germans. The average German will not understand what his government most likely will ratify, but the average Irish at least got a fair chance to understand it, as a leaflet with the basic facts has been delivered to every household.
Some colleagues went to town, and Richard tried his best to explain the way to the “beer house” to me, but still I didn’t completely understand where I should go. So I googled a bit but only found some meaningless blog posts. Anyway, following Richard’s description and my intuition, it turned out to be quite easy to find it. I just had not expected that the name is German instead of English: bierhaus. And indeed they offer lots of German beers, but finally I enjoyed a Budweiser, the real Czech one.
Today it’s the third really sunny, summerly day in series. On Sunday my housemate and me went to the beach in Salthill (no swimming yet, but some people did), yesterday I worked outside for some time (but the ThinkPad displays are rather designed for office use), and today it’s still very nice outside. That’s Irish weather – come and feel it! 😉
Having a farewell beer with Thomas and celebrating Alessandra’s birthday, we went to Bar No. 8 by the docks. But we didn’t stay long. We didn’t know that there was a strange arts performance going on there. There were short films, and eventually somebody kneeled down on a table, took a trunk-like plastic tube into his mouth for breathing and then was covered with peat. Well, the selection of beers was fine, and usually they also have live music, but we were definitely no fans of this kind of art. First we continued our party outside by the Spanish Arch, and then we went into the Bazaar, another very nice pub with a slightly Arabian atmosphere.
When I wanted to buy a light bulb to replace the broken one in the front lamp of my bicycle, they sent me to Duffy’s angling equipment store. I’m not good at electricity, but I managed to explain the kind of batteries and their arrangement to the old man who served me. (Voltage and amperage were indicated on the broken bulb but not on the spare ones he was selling.) Finally he found something suitable and said, “This bulb should do it. Q.e.d.” And it did do it 🙂
The local school of engineering and informatics organised a “research day”, which I attended. They booked a nice conference room in a glamourous hotel on the beach of Salthill (not far away from my current home). There were some quite interesting talks about scientific publications, and a few other less interesting talks. But I had mainly come to see the posters of the Ph.D. students. Around 1/3 of the posters was from DERI (to tell the university that they deserve funding), and this indeed helped me to have some good discussions with people. I wonder why there is no such thing at our university, maybe because it is too small?