Torc Falls; Back to the Gap of Dunloe (in a car this time); A narrowly-avoided stab wound; Expensive laundry

I’d planned to use the day as time to work on the websites (still holding onto the faint hope of being able to ship the computer home before leaving Ireland) and so neither Sheryl nor I were in a particular hurry in the morning. This was bad because when we finally got to looking at the time it was nearly ten and we’d promised to have the bikes we’d rented back to the angry man by nine or ten. He’d promised cheerfully to stab us in the neck if anything went wrong with them, so our imagination failed at the thought of what he might do to us if we didn’t return them on time. We were able to ride them over to his shop quickly though, and so escaped with nothing worse than the hairy eyeball.

Sheryl had gone out in a fruitless search for a laundromat earlier. In fact we hadn’t seen a single one in the country et. It’s beyond me how the Irish wash their clothes, they must all own washing machines. The thought of washing our clothes in the sink again made us tired, so we took the stupidly expensive option of paying €5 at the hostel to have it done for us. $8.00 to have somebody throw a load of laundry in the washer and dryer, oy vey. Backpackers are big business these days. I expect to be fleeced by locals in the markets and hustlers on the street, and if I’ve got my wits about me it won’t happen - but to be fleeced by the hostel when I’m a captive audience burns me. Their rates for accommodation are laughably expensive as it is.

Toward the end of the afternoon Sheryl came and told me that Joe had offered to drive us out to Torc Falls, which wed ridden past the day before and not stopped to see. I wasn’t happy about having my concentration broken but I decided that a short break couldn’t hurt, so we rushed about gathering out things while Joe waited in the car like an impatient father. All of his worldly possessions were crammed in the back of his station wagon, so Sheryl and I had to share the front seat - not so easy, really, but the waterfall was quite nice. I crawled all over the rocks to the foot of the falls, up a set of pools. The plant growth overhung the highest pool like a tropical lagoon. I took some nice shots but discovered when I got back to the viewing platform that I’d left the camera set to black and white. I like the way the shots turned out, though, so it was a lucky accident. Back at the car, Joe offered to take us up into the Gap of Dunloe, which I’d cycled through the day before but which Sheryl hadn’t seen. I wasn’t keen about losing more time, but Sheryl really wanted to go and I didn’t want to be unsociable. I’m glad I did, it was a lot nicer driving it than cycling it and we got to spend a lot more time exploring the abandoned buildings and taking pictures. Joe didn’t believe that I’d cycled the Gap and refused to believe until I started playing tour-guide and pointing out landmarks before they appeared. It’s apparently forbidden to drive through the Gap, though it’s not at all enforced.

Joe’s poor car took the road very hard, gasping and groaning at the steeper hills and scraping its bottom on every downhill slope. I was thinking how little fun it would be to break down in the mountains with nobody around, but the car pulled through and we got back to town around 8pm, Sheryl riding on my lap the whole time. When we were finally able to leave the car, we did so hobbling like ancient cripples, but it was still a good time. The idea of a completed website is receding into the future like a mirage, though.


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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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