It’s a small world (with a lot of fences)

I’ve developed a fascination with customs and border patrol shows, where people try to bring sausages into Australia and then argue for hours about paying a fine because they didn’t declare their booty. I’m hoping to glean some tips on what exactly makes for legal import, what paperwork you need to visit a given country, and what it is about immigration enforcement that gets people so riled up. It’s uniformly sad to raid, arrest, and deport a hard working person. I won’t say whether it’s good or bad for the country’s resources, just that if someone is willing to cling to the underside of a truck to sneak into a new place, the old place must be pretty bad indeed and I have sympathy. I find the American debate about illegal immigration particularly bizarre for being a nation of (mostly) immigrants. How long must one squat to make it legal? Ten years is not enough if you ask the lawmakers, but a couple hundred apparently takes care of it. A couple hundred years of history is but a blip over here, as well as in the grand scheme of who has the “right” to keep someone out because they got there first.

Meanwhile, Irish radio advertises Cuban vacations. The complete lack of info on Cuba in the U.S. leaves it a foggy, concrete, communist country of the 1960s in my mind… and apparently it’s a nice place to take a vacation if your country lets you go. When I was trying to book a flight through London from Spain after the ash cloud canceled the direct Irish flight, the agents had to consider what country’s passport I held to know if the UK would let me through. It’s bizarre to me that you can’t just go somewhere.

In other news, my brother has jumped into the world of blogging and is posting his magazine articles as well. His writing appeals to a broader audience than my ranting (I realize you are only here to see me fall off a cliff like other tourists or to look at my dogs), so go on and visit at General Tomfoolery! Bookmarked in the sidebar as well. Also Arliss the cranky bunny has a new post up.

From a day touring a bit of County Tipperary (and a smidge of Co. Waterford) with my stranded guest, Carlton, a few weeks ago, I give you a lot-easier-to-upload gallery of pictures:

The first four pics are from Cahir Castle, built in 1142, including a view of the town and some from inside the castle.

The next six pics are from the Rock of Cashel, which had earlier structures but most of the remaining ones are from the 12th and 13th centuries. Despite the scaffolding, this is a fascinating place and very well preserved/restored in many parts. The tour guide was quite good and the soaring walls and fresco remnants (I think they’re still called frescoes in Ireland) are worth a visit. The view on a sunny day is pretty too.

The last picture is from the Vee Gap area of the Knockmealdown Mountains, but either volcanic ash or a general haze kept the view a little dull. Carlton and I went on a fuel quest right about then and fortunately the GPS found us some just in time.

This just in: David has just arrived! Our company driver picked him up at Shannon. I hope he isn’t mad that I didn’t get up at 3 a.m. to go get him and have to take a day off work! I will see him at lunch. He claimed his steak on the plane (good old business class!) was better than any he’d had at home and he felt sorry when he saw the folks in “steerage” when he got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. I pointed out we will be back in steerage soon enough, but this year we get to enjoy horizontal plane sleeping.

His account of the arrival at the house:

*going to the door*
Dogs: Who the F*** is thatOH it’s YOU!!!
*commence Velcro/shadow dogs and a lot of Walter jumping*

2 thoughts on “It’s a small world (with a lot of fences)

  1. Re. General Tomfoolery – I don’t get it. If I close my eyes and squint (really, really hard) I can see why your brilliantly funny brother would prefer to live in South Bend rather than NYC, thereby eliminating all possibility of writing for SNL, but how is it that the Dave Barry’s of the world still have jobs at all?

  2. “David’s arrival/dog reaction” made me smile at 1:30am, despite exhaustion. I’m glad he made it safe and sound and the dogs got an awesome surprise. Is it bad that I’m concerned I’ll miss Walt this Memorial Day as much as you and David? I’m kidding… mostly.

    RE: Pamela Rees – Thanks for the hyperbole of kind words. I hear so little feedback that any of it (good, bad or profane) is refreshing. I can’t promise you’ll witness the second-coming of the Coneheads or MacGruber, but if you bookmark my web page I’ll give you 60 cents and a coupon for a Quizno’s Sub.

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