…So I arrived at the bus station in Cork, it was late, around 10:30 pm. Then I took a taxi to the house I was staying at via my couchsurfing “reservation”. I did not realize how far out it was in the country! So it was completely outside of Cork, about 45 mins north of the town itself. There were no bus stops nearby and no supermarkets or pubs. Just an old house in the country somewhere, and I arrived there late around 10:30 pm.
My host seemed friendly enough and knew that I would be arriving late. We sat down for a hot toddy and then he gave me a tour of the house, including his private sauna in his master bedroom. I thought well, that is weird but I don’t think I will be taking this guy up on his offer to unwind in the steam room with him. We had just met after all… We don’t typically do that in America. I told him I was tired and he said good night and “by the way did you see in the couchsurfing ad that I am a nudist”. “Nope, I did not catch that part” I said, or something along those lines and dashed off to bed.
Mortified at this point, I thought how can I get out of here, like right now…it was too late and I was in too far of a remote area to do anything at that point, so I reluctantly slept there, and did not even get under the sheets or covers in case of cooties. I got up early and sure enough, there he was, totally naked with only a red necktie and penny loafers on to make it even more strange….he was reading his newspaper and having a cup of tea. He offered me tea and I felt obliged to accept. I knew that this leg of the trip was over (although he didn’t) and was already planning my exit when he mentioned that he was heading to the town of Dingle (about 3 hours away) and offered for me to tag along. “So you will be wearing clothes on the drive out there?” I asked. “Of course. I’m an educator with the country of Ireland so I must wear a suit for my meeting.” So I drove out with him to Dingle, and thankfully we did have an interesting conversation on the way there. One of the things I remember was that he said Ireland is very dependent on the United States as far as what direction they will go as a country. There was at the time (2009) a lot of stagnation and poverty. We agreed to meet after his meeting around 5 pm for a drink at the local pub, but I was fibbing of course. I was outta there and on to the next adventure. You gotta read the fine print people.
I made a lot of rookie mistakes but you learn as you go. My Ireland trip had gotten off to a rough start. The only part of Cork I ended up seeing was the bus station and the green lights under the main bridge. I spent several hours on the bus heading up the west coast with little distractions, chastising myself for chasing rainbows. But things were about to get better as I headed up to Galway…