Gavan Reilly's Portfolio writings, ramblings, mumblings

Culture Shock #5 – in which our hero is shocked by Salzburg, Berlin and… Dublin?!

Excuse me for probably seeming a bit groggy but since the last time you caught me things have been just a little bit mad in the Life of Reilly. Recollection will be a challenge, just try and bare with me.

First there was a weekend in Berlin for a fellow Belfieldite’s 21st. As if the sheer concept of spending a weekend in the company of seven other Irish people who are literally just there for a party wasn’t lunacy in itself, throw in the fact that my InterCity trains travelled a combined distance of 1494km to get me there and back, and the hapless transport guidance of a ninth Irish person meaning that five trams were taken between two stations on the same line, and the weekend becomes a 1600km trek the length of a country (or two, depending on whether you live before 1989 or not). Add copious amounts of Becks – €2 a bottle, what a country, and a large helping of sambuca (€10… wow) and weekends get messy. How messy? Well, messier than a box set of International Rules games on DVD. Now that’s messy. There are no plush, Dublin-style nightclubs in Berlin; they’re all rather shabby, as if you’re going to a house party being held in a parish hall, with cheap alcohol and cheaper sofas out the back where the air conditioning actually works, by virtue of ‘out back’ being outside.

Anyway, once my emergency passport managed to weasel its way back to my postbox, I decided there were few better ways to celebrate being legitimately Irish again than to return to Dublin for a few days. A quick consultation on advised me that Salzburg offered a cheapo flight over, and ultimately I arrived, knackered but content, in Austria, getting a street tram thing to the airport. Salzburg, it should be said, has nothing else of note right now (other than heavy advertising for its bid for the Winter Olympics in 2014) aside from its trams. They don’t have rails, they’re buses. Except they’re powered by overhead cables. The tram drivers are busdrivers required to drive directly underneath a power cable ALL the time. Imagine the fun to be had by drunk-driving Austrian busdrivers…

Long story short, I eventually arrived, even more knackered and even more content, in Dublin Airport, and arrived to the general surprised amusement of assorted hacks down Observer way. What do I see as I arrive? People photocopying their arses outside the SU Office. So much for Culture Shock, meine Freunden, some things never change…

Bis bald,