Last week was my first driving trip on my own to Cork. I got lost a lot, mostly listening to my GPS but not being in the right lane or seeing the right sign to correlate to her directions in time. Due to significant shopping needs (having a partially furnished house, e.g., no forks or pots or groceries), I went both Saturday and Sunday last weekend. Then I was up there again on Wednesday for the parade and also grabbed a television from a grumpy salesperson. Then I went up again today to go to an animal rescue event and did a little more shopping, this time in the zippy areas of the Grand Parade, English Market, and pedestrian streets where shops weren’t open on Wednesday.
I’m not a very good driver, but drivers here are polite, so no one has honked at me. Sometimes this is bad because I don’t know it’s my turn to go.
I still don’t know if I can turn on red (I’m hoping not, because I need the red lights to think and regroup! But I wouldn’t know anyway since no one honks)
I find it thrilling to go 100, even if it’s really 60 back in the non-metric world.
There is no taco sauce in Ireland. Jalapeno-tomato relish is not the same – I tried it on my burrito.
There are no king size pillowcases here. In fact, king size here is queen size at home, so I’m really looking for super king size. You can find the super king sheets occasionally, but no one sleeps on giant pillows. Also, pillowcases come in styles like Oxford and housewife, but I have no idea what those mean. Since I’ve been learning so much about pillow sizes, more than once I used the known of 45 cm x 75 cm (standard pillow) to approximate other purchases like a 32″ TV and a towel rack — my metric approximations aren’t so good outside a laboratory.
shopping carts trolleys are locked to each other in the corral. It takes a one Euro coin to release one, and you get it back when you return the cart to the corral. Anyone remember how much loose shopping carts in parking lots drive me nuts?? Solved. However, on my first shopping trip, I had no idea what value coin to use and had to ask some random guy. I now hoard these coins in fear of not being able to get a cart. Also I kept fearing someone would steal my cart from the store aisles if I didn’t have my hand on it, to get the money, since they totally would in the U.S.
There are some lovely European laws about not testing household products (like cleaners) on animals. 🙂 This means I can buy generic
dish soap washing up liquid and no bunnies were hurt. In the U.S. I usually have to shop at a special store for that.
Carmel prepared me for roundabouts, but not the four-lane variety with stoplights.
I now expect to make one or two wrong turns on any trip to a new place. My GPS says “Recalculating” and “Make a U-turn” a lot. Today I never did find the pet supply store or the catalog store and just went home.
Everyone else’s credit card has a chip in it that lets them wave it past readers at the
checkout till and not have to sign anything. I preempt all payments now with “it doesn’t have a chip” and prepare for the cashier to figure out how to swipe the card.
No pay at the pump, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t work for me due to the above. It took almost €60 to fill the 12-gallon-ish tank of my new diesel Golf, and that’s at about 40 cents a gallon less than
gas petrol would have cost.
On the road, the line in the middle is white but the lines on the edge are yellow. Parking garages are scaled down to match the smaller cars. Like on the country roads, I find myself clenching my teeth and holding my breath/thinking skinny to get past tight spaces.
On the way to work, there is an intersection with a stop sign but YIELD is painted on the road, and two blocks later there is a yield sign but STOP is painted on the road.
No one is fat here.
A few pics from today: