Tag Archives: Dublin

Enjoying New York in the spring

I’ve realized that there are many ways Pain Clinic could run smoother.  Having an additional exam room would facilitate patient flow.  Stocking reflex hammers in every room would also help.  But most notably, having a fifth of Jameson Irish Whiskey in the back room would greatly lubricate the process.  Made from fine ripe barley, flavor-rich malt, and crystal clear water from the green mountains surrounding Dublin, a sip of that smooth drink between patient encounters (or even stepping out during a patient encounter) would greatly improve one’s outlook on the day.

Such was the morning yesterday.  In the afternoon, I got to see several pain procedures, including epidural steroid injection, cryoablation of the occipital nerve, and medial branch blocks of cervical nerves.  Lecture in the afternoon with all the other CA-2s focused ostensibly on reviewing the medical literature, but the real take-home message was secrets to advancing one’s career in an academic instutition.  (“What I’m telling you does not leave this room…”)

In the afternoon, I planned to meet up with Gloria to check out the free museums along Fifth Avenue.  I rode the subway to 103rd Street, and as I realized there was no crosstown bus nearby, the words of a very wise New Yorker flitted through my head.  “Living in New York City is all about being separated from your time or your money.  You can have your time, or you can have your money, but not both.”  This sage advice has proven true on countless occasions.  Generally I err on the side of saving money, but to successfully cope with life here, one must be prepared to part with either in certain circumstances.  With my dress shoes, slacks, tie, tired feet, and shoulder bag, this was one such occasion.  $10 and 10 minutes later, the cab deposited me on the Upper East Side in the shadow of the stately buildings that line Fifth Avenue…

…however, not before nearly running over a woman with her stroller crossing 96th Street at Central Park West.  True, we did have a protected left turn, but it’s understandable that pedestrians instinctively start to cross when traffic comes to a stop the opposite direction.  My driver seemed to make no effort to slow down, and as we whizzed by within feet of the stroller, he rolled down the window and shouted at the woman!  To that woman who was crossing 96th Street at Central Park West at 6:15 PM on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, and to her now traumatized infant in the green stroller: I am sorry.

Nine museums along Fifth Avenue offered free admission that evening, and the avenue was closed off to give a festival sort of feel.  We checked out the Museum of the City of New York, which had fascinating displays featuring New York City homes’ interiors through the centuries and the role of the Port and waterfront in commerce, trade, industry, and leisure.  We finished the tour in front of the museum, watching a choir from Harlem called Impact perform songs and dance.  The group had been featured in last year’s movie August Rush.

All in all, not a bad day.

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Filed under Around town, Musings, Work

Ireland, part 2

Another excerpt from my travel journal, dated Friday, April 11, 2008:

The plane is now descending into Dublin, after nearly seven hours of flight.  As much as it’s in the collective consciousness to make snide remarks about airline food, ironically I’m always happy when it comes.  Others seem more than happy to receive it too…where are the gourmets who refuse?  Breakfast was a melt-in-your-mouth scone, strawberry yogurt, orange juice, and coffee with milk and sugar because I felt like it, which I enjoyed while flipping through the final pages of last week’s Economist.

It’s overwhelming to take in the sights and sounds of the city thus far.  The energy, the hustle and bustle, the cacophonous swirl of cultures and languages…and all this without leaving the airport.

David arrived an hour or so ago, and most of our time thus far has been at the rental car booth trying to prove David’s credit card (4588-8734-0056-2897, expires April 2010) does cover insurance.  Presently we’re splitting a BLT on a baguette as we await the fax of proof.  I elected not to take a picture of David as he struggled through calling card PINs and access codes to reach MasterCard’s customer service.  A hand-drawn picture will have to suffice.

We secured the car even though the fax never came.  The agent, a fellow about our age with a friendly Irish accent and a smile which became progressively tighter, finally believed David.  Soon we were off, singing a new helpful driving song: “Stay left, stay left, wherever you go…” (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”).

After a few hours in the car, we parked in the town of Cashel, which has the main atraction of the Rock of Cashel, a fortress-like hill which was given to the church ~1000 years ago, and on which were built in succession a tower, a chapel, a cathedral, and a vicars’ building.

Tower at the Rock of CashelHere I first encountered the endearing characteristic of older men of calling us “lads.”  We skipped out early on a boring video and toured the chapel with its off-center choir (Christ’s head hung to the side) with a faded fresco ceiling.  We were pleasantly surprised by the view as we rounded the cathedral’s corner and saw the adjoining graveyard.  A light rain had stopped during our short time in the video, and now dark rainclouds hovered above the brilliantly shaded green hills and countryside, making a perfect photo opportunity.  The sun even peeked out, creating shadows which danced on the gravestones.

Diagram of the Rock of Cashel

Tombstones and hills

Rock of Cashel from below

Leaving Cashel, we back-tracked to Kilkenny and proceeded to become lost, silently cursing Rick Steves’ fun but skeletal maps and the dearth of street-signs in the town.  Our home for the night was Carriglea (Irish carrig meaning sturdy or solid [often applied to rocks or homes], and lea, field or pasture).  It was managed by a talkative proprieter, Josephine O’Reilly.  Her wrinkled skin and hair dyed with just a tint of red framed a face that was eager to talk of her four children and problems with immigration and the birth-naturalization policy in Ireland.

Carriglea

We had dinner at a pub, where I learned that “cheers” is Irish for “I’ll smile at you as I hand you back 10 euro in change rather than the 20 euro I owe you, betting you won’t notice because you’re American and probably find counting money in euros intimidating and slightly confusing.”  David had a beef and Guinness stew and a Smithwicks, and I had lamb & potatoes with a Guinness, both dinners served with warm traditional Irish brown bread.  The evening was rounded out by a bar of Toblerone from the local market, and we soon found rest as we lay our jet-lagged heads on soft feather pillows.

More pictures: As can be seen in this next photograph, the ancient tombstones are not as sturdy as they may appear.

Here is the town of Cashel, lit in the afternoon sun after a rain.

Our trusty Mistsubishi Colt.

 

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Filed under Photos, Traveling