Friday, July 4, 2008


Someone -- I won't say who -- dropped her camera on Wednesday afternoon, shattering a once highly functional bit of modern optics into a thousand million pieces of useless plastic and glass . I won't reveal this person's identity, but I will say that you can see the last desperate view that passed through the camera's shutter as it exited this vale of tears. Such wanton destruction occasioned a trip to Galway to find a replacement, a trip undertaken with some foreboding because of that city's anaconda traffic congestion.

About the time we reached Ballinrobe, I noticed that the car was running on fumes and stopped to fill up. $102.16 later (including the 3% "exchange rate mark-up"), we resumed the trip and made it to Galway without further incident. We even found a convenient parking garage that -- once we popped into the light -- turned out to be near the camera store. I'll dispense with the details there, other than to say that you could fill up a car a couple of times with the cost of a camera. That's how I've come to think of big-ticket items here: The mini-speakers I bought for the house cost one tank of gas. A fine meal that includes a nice bottle of wine costs about a tank-and-a-half of gas. A pedestrian piece of Irish art -- and there are plenty of them -- costs three t0 four tanks of gas. On the other hand, a hand-knit sweater that in the States would cost two tanks of gas, I found discounted here to a half tank.

Galway was lovely. The weather cooperated completely: One of those crystal clear days in the sixties that encourages students to skip school and the rest of us to call in sick. Half of Galway promenaded on the outdoor pedestrian mall in old town. The other half sat took advantage of outdoor seating in the pubs and cafes, and watched the rest of us stroll by. Galway is a college town, so young people abounded, bringing their always welcome injection of energy and exuberance.

We had lunch a Fat Freddy's Bistro, a long-time favorite that I discovered years back on a day when the boys were desperate for pizza. Freddy's serves their pies with a thin, crisp crust and balances their ingredients effectively. It's best to order simple and add your own combination so as to avoid the Irish penchant for adding corn and potatoes.

After lunch, we shopped separately and together. I bought some novels at Dubray's Books and Eason, found a nice dressy shirt (half of a tank of gas) and a t-shirt (fifteen-hundredths). The t-shirt reads "Galway: Probably the Best City in Ireland." It's an in joke having to do with Irish advertising regulations. You're not allowed to advertise a product as "the best" (as in "Guinness, the best stout in Ireland") unless that's a provable proposition. Marketers get around this by tagging products as "probably the best."

Buskers dotted the streets. No sooner were we out of earshot one than the strains of another became immediately audible. Music from afternoon session poured out of pubs that had thrown open their doors and windows. When we stopped for a cappucino, I noticed that my (unbroken) camera lens had become smudged, so I took a stab at some artsy-fartsy photographs. One of them even turned out o.k.!

After fish and chips at McDonagh's, we sauntered down to Galway Bay through the Spanish Arch and sat quayside to admire the swans, the boats, and the blue water. We then drove home, arriving in time for a Carrowholly sunset.


Foxessa said...

I'm so sorry about the camera. If the camera belongs to whom one suspects it does, her pix are always filled with beauty and interest. Of course another one needed to be acquired asap.

On the same topic, Vaquero announced he's getting me a new digital camera too. Mine is a dinosaur by now, and the flash no longer works. So I don't use it. I fear though the new generations are so small I'll never be able to get handy with the 'buttons' and command functions, since -- I CANNOT SEE. I don't drive for that reason as well. Impaired vision people have no place behind the wheel on the road.

Many people must be pricing everything by a tank of gas -- but food is also so high ....

Love, C.

K. said...

She's just like the pictures she takes, too!

Nita Lou Bryant said...

At the last writers' conference I attended, I met a fellow pitching a nonfiction book about how prices are determined. I may have to clue him in to K's Tankian Formula!

K. said...

I like the sounds of that: K's Tankian Formula. That may be my legacy to posterity!