Stevie Ray Vaughn grave site

No doubt the most famous person to die in Dallas would be John F Kennedy, but he isn’t buried here. I started morbidly wondering, ‘What famous people are buried in Dallas?’ The most famous was likely Stevie Ray Vaughn, born and raised in Oak Cliff. He was killed in a helicopter accident after playing a show in Wisconsin in 1990. His grave site is in Dallas, a statue is standing in Austin, where he moved to hone his playing and stage show before Bowie shown light on his talents. These are the only memorials to this local musician fans could visit.

In the coming years, a SRV statue will finally stand in Oak Cliff, but a design has yet to be finalized and they still need money. Long overdue memorial in his hometown, in my estimation, but then again, even the Dallas guys that helped influence SRV, like Freddy King or T-Bone Walker, don’t have statues either. Nor do most people know who they are, yet they are blues legends worthy of being declared a Lone Star legend by the Texas governor. Read up on the SRV statue saga if you like http://vaughanbrosart.com/faq

The Vaughn family has lived around south Dallas for several generations. Stevie and Jimmy went to school around Kiest Park area, and the family has a large plot at Laurel Land Memorial Park just outside the city.

Getting out to see SRV gravesite is a fairly easy drive down I-35 south until you see Laurel Land exit, take that and turn left. You’ll see the cemetery; it is very large and clearly stands out. Take the 2nd entrance on the right into the cemetery, turn left onto the first road you see. Not too far down, on your right, you’ll see a small island with a tree and that is where the grave site is located, you don’t have to get out of your car. There are usually guitar picks, pictures and other memories fans leave behind resting on the ornate slab. Be respectful if you go.

 

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Jazzfest musician recommendations

Having worked every day of the 2018 Jazzfest I was in a unique position of talking to many people and locals music recommendations. In most cases I didnt know any of these performers until day of. Links go to youtube videos

 

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real     Rocking country with long jams at times

Big Freedia Uniquely NOLA, very fast repetitive beat and vocals. Expect to twerk and dance.

Khalid  Modern soul, R+B part rap/sung vocals

Naughty Professor Funky horns, good beat instrumental groovy music.

Fiend NOLA rapper that the long time volunteers were most excited to hear. He’s from here, New Orleans baby, theyd say.

Anita Baker No one was talked about more than Anita Baker. Every worker and most people I spoke to wanted to see her. Nice R+B soul singer.

Anders Osborne  He had a great groove. Heavy guitar hypnotic rock.

Galatic Ive heard of this band and seen flyers for shows but first time to hear their music. Upbeat high energy rock.

David Bryne This man put on one of the best live shows Ive ever seen. If he is on tour do not miss it, great choreographed moves with good tunes.

 

 

 

Working @ 2018 Jazzfest Weekend 2

The 2nd weekend of Jazzfest is 4 days, starting on Thursday. Great weather for the fest to this point, we had some sun and light breeze. Near perfect in our booth but once you left the tarp covered area, it was pretty hot, 80s. I brought some sunscreen everyday and lent it out several times. One ladys skin was actually bubbling it was so burned. I dont feel right taking money from someone in so apparent need, you know? Still the general store sold earplugs, sunscreen for 20$. Outrageous.

I was looking forward to Toots and the Maytals and Lionel Richie who were headlining so they closed the day. We seemed a bit busier, steadier for sure than the weekend. Always someone in line at all times. 1s and 2s but no line. All is good as we rocked out to Stooges Brass Band and Naughty Professor. Most bands only got 30-45 minute sets, even the support bands. Closers played and hour and a half.

All day I waited until it was time to walk over to Congo Stage. Toots was in good spirits and wished us all well: ‘Time to check ya pressa! Reggae music yeah!’ They went straight into Pressure Drop! I was seated near some hippie parents whose daughter was dancing all over the place. They had to chase her down a few times, she was running free, making a break for it. Good vibes to good tunes! Toots played about 10 min past 7 which was the longest set of the fest. He stops playing when he is done not what time you tell him!

Ive loved Lionel Richie for years, especially his time with the Commodores. My dad had some of their cassettes so they were in the cars music rotation. Earth Wind and Fire Steely Dan Eagles Commodores all were played. The solo in Easy is top 5 all time for me. He played it and all his other greats, including We are the World in full! Every one was swaying and singing along. Great set!

 

Friday

As I rode in I hear very familiar beat and rhyming. It was LL Cool J sound checking. I paused to listen. He did most of the Ripper and Rock the Bells. I have his 12′ single for Going Back to Cali, one of my all time favorite records. The delivery of these lines is so smooth, just a great track:

I’m going back to Cali, rising, surprising
Advising, realizing, she’s sizing me up
Her bikini, small; heels, tall
She said, she liked, the ocean

Once at my booth I heard Becks band sound check. He didnt play full songs nor did he sing. He just played a riff or passage of a song for a bit, stopped to say 2 into the mic. For a full minute: 2 2 2 2 2 hey hey 2 2 2  hey 2 2. His Sea Change record is great, it was the soundtrack to my move to a small house in Denton when it came out. Midnite Vultures is funky as well. I would miss all the sets today, I had to work at a brewery taproom that night. The fest had 2 shifts 9-2 and 2-7. I just told Javon I was leaving at 2.

We had began to run out of bandannas so people were getting mean, bartering. Take that one down and sell it to me! Why not?! Hey man I just work here, I dont set prices or decide when to sell displays. Several people took pics of the displays so we knew people wanted to see what the fest made for the year. A lot of collectors do buy 1 of every color bandanna or poster, something. A lady said she makes a big quilt every year with all the bandannas.  No sale move along.

So many people want everything their way and they use money to make this happen. Just laying down bills in front of me and here I am, man I need that extra money. The fest isnt paying me that much so why dont I just give in and take the money? Because that is not a world I want to live in, where more money solves every obstacle. Sometimes you have to go without a possession.

Saturday Rain Day

Listening to the veteran Jazzfest workers, it always rained at least 1 day of the fest. Today was that day this year. The booth had a pretty cool poncho/blanket but that was all we had. No ponchos for 2$ or anything, just a fairly expensive item. It was ok, it rained for about an hour nothing substantial.  It was overcast until evening, nice and cool. It wasnt like 2-3 years ago when people could dive into water on fest grounds. Mind you there isnt any pool like structure on the fest grounds, it had rained so much it had created a pool.

Today was the big day, Aerosmith was the headliner. Lots of their old logo tee shirts in the crowd. Before they rocked the house we got to enjoy Dumpstaphunk, one of the Neville Bros band, and Cowboy Mouth who ran through their only hit (Jenny Says) 3x speed. They tore through it almost to the end of their set. Singing drummer band, you dont see those often.

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Aerosmith went on about a half hour early and the crowd roared to life singing along. The crush of people was so great I clocked a guy carrying a Welsh flag 2 songs to move about 50 ft. Just nowhere to sit stand or walk. I do not understand why people bring flags to rock shows. It seems like such a pain to carry all day. I heard that some people meet up via flags so I suppose they are useful in that way. All I know is many photo ops have been ruined thanks to an errant flag and pole in frame.

They played a broad set including 70s hits blues covers and their new love songs. Steven Tyler slinked across the stage, bandannas flapping in the breeze along his mic stand. They sounded great! Hard to believe they are all well into their 70s. The highlight was Dream On which featured the stage lighting up and smoke funnels shot out from every direction at the songs climax.

During their set a couple of ladies came over to talk to me. They wore low-cut shorts and shirts with plunging necklines. I was soon handed a rolled up blanket they said was now mine. They bought it just for this fest in a thrift store on the way. Sell it or give it away it is yours! They were heading to a bar and didnt want to carry it anymore. I stowed it in one of the pods overnight. Id figure out something to do with it in the morning.

 

Sunday

Final day of the fest! Id had a blast and had seen many bands on my list. I worked with very cool people as well. Mostly high schoolers helped out, NOLA area kids get 2 days off for Jazzfest. The 2 girls I worked with had just graduated. They had devised a plan to get tips so they modeled skirts and tops to me asking which one I thought one looked best. Ladies you could wear dirty dish rags and youd still look good. I just told them they looked great and tried my best not to be a creeper.

Within the first 2 hours of the fest I had someone ask if we had blankets for sale. 2 ladies, a bit older than I, well one maybe just at my age. A mom daughter combo I presumed. I asked them if they needed a blanket. After they said yes I handed it over with the story that came with it: I was given this yesterday and they said to pass it on. So I pass it on to you enjoy it. I felt like keeping that sense of giving should be passed on. No money to taint this transaction. Pure sharing pure spirit.

I was very excited to see Smokey Robinson Jack White Rebirth Brass Band Calexico and Trombone Shorty throughout the day. Life had other plans though as I took a break to eat and see Rebirth. I saw crawfish strudel around the fest and had to try it. It is etouffee stuffed inside pastry flaky dough. Very good though tough to eat without it going all over your shirt. I ate as Rebirth rocked the crowd.

When I got back to my booth Javon told me he had bad news. Another booth needed help, someone to run a register and I was the only one with a register pin #. I followed our money lady to the far end of the fest, way away from a stage. I was going to be in the CD tent where they sold music of all the performers at the fest. Marked up 10$ however. I was pissed, I had to walk around and help people. It totally sucked as it was just busy work, I was not needed.

After awhile I was told to follow a guy with a box of CDs. Again we walked to the other  end of the fest to the Jazz tent. I was supposed to sell  band CDs while they played and then they would have a signing. I had a small wad of cash and was left at a table near the stage. Alas it was new jazz and I just do not get it. It doesnt sound like anything memorable to me but the crowd was all in. Guys had their eyes closed and were nodding their head to the beat. I paced back and forth behind the table and eventually did sell 1 CD. Man I missed Smokey for this shit!

I was done once the band finished and I saw them literally run to an awaiting SUV. No signing, no one buying CDs, I’m out of here. I packed up my stuff and walked back to the CD tent. I turned everything in and checked the schedule. Calexico was on soon so I figured Id hang around until then. My time spent hanging around was actually used up trying to track down the schedule keeper. I had to sign in at a booth daily which is matched up to your clock in time, which is done via ipad. If they dont match up, you dont get those hours of pay.

Calexico is just a great band. They play Mexican Spanish Caribbean Latin style rock, which I suppose really means they have unique rhythms and instrumentation. Each song feels like the desert with just enough glimmer of hope you enjoy it. For sure it will get your foot tappin and your body swaying. They put out a great record with Iron and Wine as well as having several songs on the Dylan movie Dont Look Back. 1st time to see them but I overheard they play NOLA often so I look forward to a full set.

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My fest ended like it started, in merch booth 4. I handed everyone plastic flowers I found while walking around the CD tent. With no direction as to what to do there I figured throwing trash away was a good idea. I saw these flowers on the stage so someone had forgotten them and it was our gain. There was enough to go around. I had one stuck behind my ear, I was finally pretty!

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Working @ 2018 Jazzfest Weekend 1

When I moved to NOLA in Oct, the 1st job I landed was working Voodoo Fest as a bar runner. Long, early hours but free admission to the fest and a lot of money fast. At the fest I found myself in the VIP seats for Kendrick Lamar’s entire set. I was paid to see someone who I would normally pay to watch. I was also able to finally see Foo Fighters and the Killers.  I had to land a job at the legendary Jazzfest.

And I did! All I had to do was go to the Jazzfest website and submit a resume. They have several jobs and I applied for them all. I figured the shotgun approach was best: fire away at everything and see what I hit. I wound up receiving a call back for concessions. After filling out way too much paperwork for a very low paying PT job, I found my position was to be a hat seller. Hats, man… hats!

I missed the mandatory orientation so when I rode up on day 1 I had no idea what would be in store. I saw a security line so I went through and was stopped by a girl who asked me for a ticket.

“I dont have a ticket I am working the fest.” I said.

“You still need a ticket. Where’s your ticket?” she asked.

“I dont know about a ticket, isnt there a worker list?'”

“You need a ticket to get in. If you dont have a ticket, you need to get out of line ,” was her reply.

“Where do I get a ticket?” I asked.

“My job is only to scan people’s tickets sir,” was all she said as she moved on to the next person. This is the definition of a festival worker: myopic. No one really tells us much, youre really left to figure things out. These jobs are about as low paying as you can find, its like a privilege to work there sort of deal.

I saw another line behind me next to a sign that read Concessions and figured at least someone would be able to help. I was right, this was the correct line! I got a ticket but still had to go back through security.

I rode through a sand road they created for the festival. The fest is held on a horse, dog racetrack so they build a small city every year. I was heading to an official merch booth near one of the main stages. I hear bass as I approached. It was Sting onstage sound checking! I heard bits of Police songs as well as solo Sting. He even stopped a song to ask ‘is that the right chord? B flat or G flat there?’

I met an older guy in the booth who was just a volunteer for the day. It was nearly 10 and they typically open the gates at 11. We had no hats or bandannas up and didn’t know what to do. This is the mindset for the entire festival, you only figure things out once its nearly over. I was soon greeted by Javon who looked a lot like the rapper Rick Ross, especially profile with his dark aviator shades on bald head dark bear. Turns out we had to count and log inventory before we started. Of course the inventory sheet wound up in my hands. The volunteer couldn’t do it he wasnt an employee.

This damn inventory sheet would haunt me the entire weekend thanks to another lady. At the time it wasnt so bad, I just had to learn hat names and colors. It was rough going but I soon picked up on the process. Boonies buckets seersuckers I learned all the new hat terms as I logged things on the sheet. I also learned about espresso (light brown) and emerald (green). I am still not sure what makes something brown khaki or tan though.

The process is broken down into individual tasks, so all I and the volunteer did was pick a hat and hand it to the cashier to ring it up. Easy man totally chill. Plus we could hear everyone playing nearby, I’d scored a great booth! Most of the day was just handing things over talking to people buying things and trying to provide directions. We had a program for sale with a map but people would just ask to see the map without buying it.

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Its strange working a fest, people tell you way too much info as they dig around for cash. Look youre buying a hat, thats it I dont need to know who its for or why you forgot your other hat or even if you wished they put the year on the items. Also I dont own this store so I dont get a bonus nor do I set the prices, which were high for basic stuff. I’d say in a fair world everything should be 5-10$ cheaper. 30$ for a ballcap, 15$ for a bandana but they are selling to captive audience plus most people want a souvenir from their trip to Jazzfest. People also want deals, cant they get a few dollars off for buying more than 1 of the same item? No just no. I dont think Jazzfest has an online store which would be fascinating to see how much things would actually cost.

I walked a long way over to the Gentilly stage to check out Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. He was Willies boy and had just backed up Neil Young so I knew he would be good. His set started with a long intro of just Lukas slow strumming his guitar before exploding into a full band jam. Id see Lukas again a few hours after his set as he walked in front of my booth. We both waved at each other but he was constantly approached for pics. He was dressed in black head to boot so he stood out from the crowd. Ill bet people approached him just cause he looks like he is somebody famous.

Sting had a nice turnout for his set which went on about at sunset. The Police songs sound better live as does his solo stuff which I always felt was too mellow too adult easy listening rock for me. Flags flopped in the wind people sang along and danced during his set. You could tell the couples who had a Sting song play their wedding as guys sang into their lades faces before kissing.

Pretty chaotic trying to count everything before we could leave so it took about an hour for us to figure out a process. Luckily a couple of ladies did most of the backstock counting in the 2 wooden storage pods behind our booth. Both were full of merch and they bundled most of it up in easy to count bags.

Saturday

When I checked in with concessions lady this morning, she had a badge for me with a bar code on it. A real pass that could get me in most places at the fest Id find out. I was just happy to not have to stand in 2 lines just to get to my job. Thats the rub with low paying gigs they waste a lot of your time with dumb rules and processes. Just mail me a pass or tell me where to pick them up at before day 1. I guess they were behind.

More counting using that damn sheet. The helpful ladies arent at our booth anymore instead we get an actual bitch. She literally would tell people not to do things ‘like that,’ do it like this. Dont count that, do it like this. Or my favorite, how many did you count of red bandannas, I counted XX.  She literally killed the good vibes we had going every time she showed up. She is a horrible person and I shant speak of her again.

I was able to get out of the booth to try creole bread basically a bread roll with crawfish etouffee or sausage stuffed inside. The old lady that sold it to me gave me confidence that this was homemade. I hoped. A lot of vendors are from the city or state and it is hard to get a booth. Youve got to have great food to be considered. In fact I learned the beer tent next to us was run by a rotary club. They donated the tips to pay for education costs of rotary members. So that made me feel better about not working one of the highest paying booths. Charity is a good thing.

The day wore on and soon Bonnie Raitte was singing the blues on the stage behind us. It sounded cool and mellow. Hardly anyone buys things when someone is on stage. The few that do are on the way out. They all tell me this in different roundabout ways. Its cool I like brief interactions with people. Hey how great is the weather? Where you from? Who are you here to see?  The basics.

As the sun set, Rod Stewart took the stage. From the screen he still looked great. A big blonde flop of hair and quite a swagger onstage. I mentioned to one of the ladies I was working with how life is so unfair not only does Rod get a full head of hair at 70+ he was also a great singer performer. Why isnt it he goes bald but still is Rod Stewart, while I keep my hair and remain anonymous. Oh well ooh la la.

I did sway and groove a bit as Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? was played. It does have that beat that you could listen to for ages. I was still a bit taken aback at just how many tunes I knew of Rod’s: Downtown Train Forever Young Maggie Mae Some Guys Have all the Luck Tonights the Night Rhythm of my Heart and he played ’em all real well!

A great day!

Sunday

One of the most chill days was Sunday. Everyone went hard Saturday so a bit less crowded than previous days. It was all good to me we weren’t terribly busy. Sometimes we’d have a small line but we cleared them up quickly. We mostly just grooved to whatever was on the stage behind us. Car company stage. I wont say the name because they arent paying me to say it like they do the fest. Ads everywhere.

I pre-warned Jovan that I was out at 450 to catch David Byrne on the Gentilly Stage clear on the far side of the fest. A long walk for sure but I’d been a fan of his work for years. He was singer for Talking Heads. I had just found his book on cycling big cities of the world, including New Orleans. It was pretty good but not really too much about bikes or good bike views. Its mainly his thoughts on culture food music politics of the cities with occasional mentions of routes or bike highways. If you are into his work or music it is a nice find to read on a trip or plane.

He did not disappoint. Truly one of the best shows Ive ever seen. His whole band is mobile even drummers. They wore strap on drums and cymbals the compromise is you have to have 2 drummers to cover cymbals and drums. The horns and guitars were wireless, no amps visible onstage. Everyone wore gray suites and were barefoot. There were 2-4 dancers depending on the song. Every move choreographed with the music. David would pretend he was pushing the band back and forwards miming a rope.

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He played a tune called I Should Watch More TV that floored me. It was heavy and spikey guitars great beat. It was on a record he made with St Vincent a Dallas lady. I listed to  David’s solo records the rest of the week. There are several and they cover many genres. Good party background music Id say.

I was jammed packed in the middle of a sea of people. The Moseses were the beer cart guys who somehow were able to push huge tubs of beer through the herds. I had to move away from hippy granny not because she is any of those things. No it was her wild dancing and tambourine. Just way off beat that didnt help the music. It was also here I realized in life there are 2 places men would like to have a few more inches: at live events when you stand and in the bedroom. I am cursed with always being 2-4 inches shorter than the guy in front of me. I say anyone 6′ or taller has to stand in back also ladies up front too. Thats a good way to do it.

I returned to my booth to the mellow sounds of the Jimmy Buffett Band. It was not my thing. Just so mellow so generic he was literally putting people to sleep. Quite the contrast from the dancing sea I was just in. He was wearing a yellow fest hat and of course we had a run on any yellow hat during his set. Dude bought 5 for all his friends who follow the Buffett on tour. I dont get it but hey if it turns your screw, enjoy. I just wanted to keep dancing a bit and you cant dance to Cheeseburger in Paradise. I heard from a coworker Buffett had live around town for years and he always plays Jazzfest. He is doing it right just sailing back and forth to Florida from NOLA. Beats driving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream trip Day 137 More Philadelphia history, dog park, Saint Vitus

Jodi had to go to her workshop early so if I wanted a ride into town, I had to wake up with her. No problem, I can roll with it.

Her shop was near the Italian part of town so that was fortunate. I strolled through the fruit veg and meat booths that lined a few blocks.

I stopped in a shop and got a real Italian coffee, not an espresso but the guy who made it swore it was the same beans and method he’d seen ‘back home.’

Tasted fine to me but I’ll bet a real Italian coffee experience would be an espresso, just pure black coffee. Sipped in 1 go while standing.

Since the city was a grid, literally everything was just down the road. It was just some roads and destinations were longer than others.

My route today would take me through downtown.

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I was en route to another cheese steak joint, this one inside the Reading Terminal Market.

I had to keep up checking out city markets, I’d seen several overseas, let’s see how US does by comparison.

Market looked how it should, though every stall had big advertisements for their brand. I didn’t see much of a marketing budget on stalls in other countries. Sometimes a sign or logo, maybe business card but certainly not a full banner.

The place I was checking out today was Carmen’s Cheesesteak and Hoagie’s. You do have to know some lingo to understand the sammich.

Hoagie is a long piece of bread, not round or square like some places. Also roast beef, pork, shaved meats are used inside a hoagie.

This time I skipped the whiz and went with their cheese sauce. I hoped they used real cheese.

Gooey hot and delicious!

I kept on walking until I found a square with some statues.

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I soon met up with Jodi and her dog at a nearby dog park. It was so fun watching the dogs interact with each other.

It reminded me of the 1st day of school. Lots of free dogs who just ran, others cowered under seats. Why I had a couple pooches under mine. I coaxed them out so they can join in the fun.

Back to Jodi’s to get a bit to eat and freshen up before the show. She made me an awesome avocado toast with tomato soup. Easy to be vegan if this is what you eat.

Jodi seemed to know everyone in Philly. We didn’t have tickets but she ran into some friends as we walked in who had an extra one for her. I bought a  fairly expensive ticket,  so I could support the scene.

I was intrigued by the openers, the Skull. They were heavy, sludgy. The singer chain smoked the entire show. I mean he lit up after maybe every other song. Other times he walked off to the side with a bev an a cig while a solo or groove was going on.

Then it was time for doom! An older guy with long grey hair strides up to the mic ‘We’re Saint fuckin’ Vitus!’

It was so awesome to see someone in their 60’s maybe 70’s just tearing it up on guitar as well as shouting expletives in the mic between songs.

They were great, really groovy, great singer. I needed to check out more of their stuff.

The singer kept looking to his left the last couple of songs.

‘We’ve got a special guest on this next one, Wino!’ the singer cried as a viking walked out from backstage.

Long blonde hair flowing, tan work books, it was Wino from the Obsessed, another early doom metal band. He had started out in St Vitus so this was a homecoming moment.

He sang a couple of tunes while clutching a beer. It was a great show. Philly has a thriving music scene. Do check out a show if you are in the city of brotherly love.

There was a pub a short walk from the venue so we checked it out.

It looked very much like a diner, house of waffles type place. It has one of the best jukeboxes I encountered on my trip.

I think I pissed everyone off playing Velvet Underground Neil Young and Television. Oh well, best to play long songs I think.

He came dancing across the water

Cortez, Cortez

what a killer

Wicked cool night in Philly!

Song   Saint Vitus   The Walking Dead

Beer Old Tankard Ale

Dream trip Day 115 Pat & Mary, Killarney Brewery, pub singing

This was my first bed and breakfast experience on my trip. Basically it is like staying in a hostel except you get your own room. Plus a nice breakfast.

Only 2 options for breakfast here, full Irish fry up or porridge. One of our hosts took orders, lamenting that he’d have to eat porridge again as no one was ordering it!

He was super nice and stereo typically named Pat . A discussion arose between my mom and he as to his egg poaching technique, 2 master chefs discuss strategy!

Haha the trick was he had small plastic bowls that floated in the boiling water, holding the egg’s shape. This made for perfectly shaped poached eggs.

I really cannot express how friendly and genuine the couple that ran this bnb were to us. What was very cool is how he’d volunteer information like ‘stay in today for a few more hours, it will rain.’ or ‘now’s the time to head out if you are going out, should be a dry day.’

As far as I knew we didn’t have much scheduled today. I knew my mom wanted to go shopping for a certain material, wool of some sort.

We had made it about halfway into town when suddenly it poured rain, just sheets coming down. We had to make a break for the awnings, following them for a few blocks until I spied a coffee shop.

You could tell the residents as they always carried a nice umbrella ‘ella ‘ella. If you are able to find a small umbrella, I recommend keeping one in your travel bag. You never know when it will rain but you will love having an umbrella if it does.

Can’t do much in this rain, so dry out, have a coffee, enjoy the day, which is what we did.

This was for sure a ladies haunt, only saw women coming in for a cup or pastries to go.

Soon the rain ended as did our coffees. Time to go shopping.

There was a large corner store that we popped into. My mom was looking for crystal and wool garment as souvenir’s.

It was Wexford crystal, named after a small town in the southeast part of the island. I cannot recall the type of wool or garment my mom was also hunting for, I was just along for the ride.

Shops typically carried a scroll or other type of historical looking document that detailed the history of Irish family names, suitable for framing.

My mom lingered in the store for a while, piling up items in order to meet the frequently posted sign for ‘free shipping if you bought over 50€.’ She eventually realized the folly of doing this and put things back.

Traveling makes trinket purchases more enticing as you can tell people were you got a shamrock bell or beer glass. I also nearly bought bottle opener, even though I had several.

A bit more rain but certainly walkable, we headed towards my pick for the day, Killarney Brewery. We would just make it in time for the daily tour.

We stepped into a new, shiny brewery. I had a good feeling about this place.

A cheery guy greeted us soon and arranged us in a group of 6 I think it was, less than 10 for sure.

“How’s about a taste, yeah? Best way to start the day!” he exclaimed. He poured us all a light lager to begin with, darker beers to follow.

We introduced ourselves around, a couple from the US and Canada, eh!

Our guide lead us upstairs to a small conference room with a screen on 1 wall, chairs set in front of a projector. An image was already on the screen. No muck ups today.

The brewery had made a hilarious video about the brewery and its top-secret recipes handed down by their ancestors. I cracked up several times.

It was a pro level quality film with special effects and many location and dress changes.

Once we had learned about their history it was time to taste it!

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We sampled several beers from light lager to a dark stout like Guinness. Suddenly our host grew quiet and whispered to us, ‘do yew want ta taste something special?’ of course we do!

They had made a winter ale that wasn’t available yet but the brewers drank it. It was nice, a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Why I was even able to make a contribution to the beer discussion explaining how hops are introduced to beer at 3 stages during the brewing process.

I volunteered at a brewery and picked up a lot of basics about brewing though I doubted I could successfully brew anything tasty. Brewing beer is hard and involves a lot of cleaning. Sanitize sanitize sanitize.

It was time for the next tour so we had to leave, no more beer.

We circled back into town for more shopping. My mom was looking for something golf related for my dad, a club top if I recall correctly.

 

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The town still has a horse and carriage waiting area just like taxis. There were probably 5 of them in this area willing to take you to a castle or through the forest close by.

We were very close to the Killarney National Park and would have walked it had the weather held up. As things were, it was on and off rain all day.

Not sure what to do, I suggested we pop in for a pint at a tiny pub. Can’t walk in the rain, not yet supper time.

There was a grandma behind the bar and a guy seated nursing a pint. Another guy was talking all sorts of nonsense but luckily his pint was nearly finished.

“Off with ye, Ned! Shoo shoo” she exclaimed while hand motions like she was fanning flames. This guy was already in the bag, not yet 5pm.

We chatted with the two there for a while, she was 3rd generation pub owner and soon held up a photo of her grandson, “Here’s 5th generation! My son will takeover, if ever I tire of pouring pints. Ha an easy task, he may never takeover!’

The man at the pub had quite a story we put together. He was from Missouri but had lived in Killarney for over 20 years. Came here for a college class and never left.

We didn’t get the whole story as he didn’t seem to have a job, though he told us each year he had to go before a local government official who would determine if he could stay or leave. Usually this was accomplished via some sort of requirement.

Up until recently, he said they just asked him for money, a reasonable sum he assured us. Now he was not only required to pay a bit, but he also had to buy into Ireland’s health insurance scheme.

The word scheme has negative connotations to me as I associate it with how can 1 person put something over on a group of people. Does seem fitting that over here it is used to describe government initiatives.

They do have island wide heath care though it seems in rural cities, they have a general doctor and work out payments in cash or trade, no need for paperwork.

If only those in power in the US would realize it is better to spend tax money on people vs a new ship or plane.

We were soon joined by some people from Florida, a couple and their friend. They immediately bought everyone another round.

My mom was drinking a special Irish coffee the grandma made with heavy cream. All the best receipts use rich ingredients because they were making treats, things you’d have 1 or 2x per month. Now we have them weekly or daily.

Having never been to Florida, I learned the west coast was best, stay out of the north and Miami is a must visit city.

We were watching some sort of horse chariot race on the telly. The camera panned to the crowd.  Suddenly, ‘Oh who is that he’s with now? Oh my I’ve got to ring Sharon! Oh dear hahaha,’ exclaimed the grandma. Straight out of a show you’d see on the BBC.

Sure enough the phone was engaged and calls were made. It was a hoot watching the gossip mill in action.

Perfect people to run into on a dreary day.

Having only eaten breakfast, we determined we were hungry. Plus the rain and all, what else to do?

Due to the early hour, we were seated in a very classy joint. I got a steak, Irish beef indeed! Fancy spot with napkin rings, ice in the urinals that sort of affair.

We got out of there just as the dinner rush began.

Just down the street was a corner pub and I heard music coming. Let’s investigate!

Packed pub, all seats taken, a guy with a guitar to the left just as you walked in. He was aided by an Ipad for lyrics. You could yell out a song and if he knew it, he would play it.

Pretty much everyone sang along. John Denver, traditional Irish tunes. Bob Dylan. It was wonderful singing along, connecting with strangers through music.

Truly a special memory singing with my mom in this Irish pub. How far we’d both come in our lives to be there!

The night became funny as the drunk that we’d seen earlier stumbled in with a pint. He had the most amazing loud laugh, you could hear him over the music even.

Arrrrrrrhahahhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr

He was a riot! Apparently charming too as he entertained a couple of college age girls, mid-20s, he was well into his 70s, grey hair and mustache, permanently disheveled, black suit.

Finally persuading one of the girls to dance, he made his move shortly after a spin, in for the kiss. Success haha! The town drunk was having one for the books tonight!

The ringing in our ears carried us back to the bnb. Cool times in Killarney!

 

Beer: Killarney Golden Spear

Song:  John Denver   Take Me Home, Country Roads

Dream trip Day 106 St. Steven’s Green, Phil Lynott and Shepard’s pie

Woke up to an empty room. Didn’t realize the showers here were gym style, a row of shower heads in a room for the guys.

This hostel did not have a meal option that didn’t come out of a vending machine, so I searched via phone maps for good breakfast places near and located a tiny cafe about a block away.

I don’t know how I was so lucky with my picks were but this was such a homey feeling small place. I mean the lady behind the counter didn’t greet me so much as she procured a cup and asked me if was tea or coffee time.

Make mine coffee. I don’t think I ever did get tea with milk on my trip though I should’ve.

She brought my coffee with the newspaper, ‘just the parts I’ve read !’ she cackled. ‘and don’t go filling out the crosswords, lad. That’s my afternoon!’

I got eggs in basket, fried egg in the middle of toast. A nice light breakfast.

Several locals came in, she knew them not only by name, but what they usually ordered.

As far as I could tell, it was 1 women doing everything, greeting guests, filling up coffee, tea and cooking mainly egg meals.

An older guy came in and promptly greeted everyone, ‘good marn-ing,’ with a wave!

It was a glimpse of what I enjoy stumbling upon while traveling, just a normal day at the breakfast spot. Nothing contrived, or an artificial show for tourists, all real people going about their day and I was just a part of it.

I thanked the lady behind the counter for the lovely meal and breakfast experience.

Out into the street, currently under major construction. I think they were putting in rail lines for a tram.

Cross the bridge over to the Temple District, the heart of tourist town. There is a busy bar here I don’t recommend you go to as the price of a pint changes based on how busy they are and it is pretty busy most of the time.

Plenty of places to get a proper pint but whatever you like, you should do.

It was a bit warm out so I popped into an old, oaken pub, many a stuffed animal head with antlers adorned the walls. This was appropriate as it was named The Stag’s Head.

Selecting a spot at the bar, I saw there were a couple of partitioned booths at the far end.

They resembled private booths so they could still order but didn’t have to get up from their spot at the end of the bar.

The bar was tended by a female with long curly blonde hair who told me about these things they called a snuggary.

Back in the day it wasn’t proper for men to be seen in public with women who weren’t their wives much less women drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Perish the thought, those aren’t ladylike activities.

Sometimes this meant just gender segregation, ladies had to sit unseen behind the partition while the men drank in the pub.

Other times this may mean a couple who are not married to each other but are married may hang out but again, be unseen.

I presume it was mainly along gender lines though, yet now there was a female behind the bar and the sky had not fallen nor had the island slid into the ocean.

 

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The statue was the singer of a great band from Dublin, Thin Lizzy. I knew he was from the city but didn’t know he was statue worthy to others. I was happy to stumble on it.

A few more blocks and I was in a huge green space, St. Stephen’s Green. I do love big city parks and this was one of the best on my trip.

There are a lot of signs all around the park with info about various events that have occurred during the park’s history.

Starting out as a private space for the wealthy, occupied by insurgents during the 1919 Easter Uprising to a conversion to a tent hospital space during other conflicts.

Once in the park, I came across several large, 2 sided displays with text written by an Irish historian.

The pictures showed places on the island affected by the war as well as stories about Irish exploits in other battlefronts. Only 1 Irish county didn’t suffer casualties during the war.

I thought I knew about the effects of WWII but seeing these changes in person, the physical change in geography due to bombing, was all too real on this trip.

The US may have sacrificed lives, but most of Europe was physically changed, geographically, politically, socially changed by the horror of war.

I lingered reading each photo, learning some of the history of the Irish in WWII.

Nearly on cue, I heard a loud voice. Across a stream a tour guide in full military fatigues was leading a group.

It isn’t too hard to overhear these tours, some of which require money. Since this guy was dressed up, I guessed this tour wasn’t free.

He was also talking about the park’s military history which sadly had seen a couple of world wars as well as a civil war.

Following a path, I circled the whole park a couple of times, walking around it in both directions.

Benches were full of businessmen munching their lunch, university kids talking in a circle, musicians practicing. It is a truly wonderful park, a must visit in Dublin.

I headed north and walked through Trinity College, though uni wasn’t in session at the moment so the fields were empty.

The hunt had begun for a Shepard’s pie, the real version. To me it was the acceptable, adult version of pot pie, which I ate my fair share of growing up.

It was a long walk from the College past my hostel to get to Kavanaghs, but it turned out great! A small restaurant/pub with many local reviewers stating this was one of the best pies in all the city.

I found a table and surveyed the scene. Most people were eating and watching a football match on  TV.

There was 1 guy who waited on the entire floor, dude had probably 15-ish tables, yet he kept circling, grabbing empty glasses, delivering food and still had time to linger for a joke or 2 at a couple of tables.

The table just across from me had some twats seated. I say this because they were arguing about who could eat the most chips, fries. Saying you can eat the most of anything is pretty pathetic if you ask me.

They were young however and having silly contests is just part of that age I reckon. Great! You can eat 2 full plates of fries and gravy, high 5!

The pie here was served with chips, hell every dish I saw came with a side of chips.

Normally this is ok, but the key to Shepard’s pie is the mashed potato lid that turns into sort of a baked, mashed potato thing. It is the savory equivalent of crème brûlée, you have to pierce the tater lid!

It was a potato overload is all. The sole vegetable in this dish were peas. Real meat and potato meal right here.

I’d also had my share of spuds on this trip by this point too. Still this was one of the best Shepard pies I have eaten.

After finishing my meal I decided on 1 more pint to see if the crowd would pick up. It didn’t other than a group of doctors, nurses who took over the bar area.

There was a hospital across the street so that accounted for their presence. I always enjoy the contradictory scene of medical personnel in their work scrubs pounding shots and beers. Do as I say, not as I do, that sort of thing.

Still early, I set off in the hunt for music, any singer songwriter will do. Maybe someone from one of the bands I like will be playing their local pub gig, who knows?

I walked back to the river area and hear a guy singing from out of an open pub door. I ventured in and it felt and looked like someone’s living room.

He was set up in front of a brick fireplace using 1 amp and mic. A narrow walkway between wooden tables, chairs and booths lead to a backroom, then outside smoker’s patio. Even the ceiling here was wooden.

They had beer on tap so I got one and sat in a back room where I could still hear the music. All the seats were full in the ‘living room.’

The singer lead the group in several local tunes I’d never heard but everyone else sang along. When he tried to sing the standard Wild Rover he stopped the song several times.

‘Aye c’mon ya! You all know this one and we will do it fooking properly or not at all. No Nay Never, then 4 claps.’

(Start song again, then stops) ‘You aren’t clapping in time!’

(Begins song again) ‘Still shite but improving! It’s 1-2-3-4 da da da da.’

(plays song again) ‘Aye now you’ve got it!’

On the outside tables were empty liquor bottles, mostly Jameson, that had a candle in the mouth. The wax had coagulated into thick stream down most of the bottles. It was a bit of accidental art.

Once the songs ended I moved outside after getting another pint. The smokers patio had a lot more people than inside.

Across from me sat a couple of lads and a couple of girls. The girls were from Belfast and the lads from England, both groups were on holiday.

They were talking about the Troubles and the whole UK vs Ireland issue, delicately at first, though the ladies did get a bit heated. The guys kept their cool as I presumed they were trying to take these ladies home so they didn’t get out of hand.

“We aren’t our government and neither are you! We get on right? That’s all we can do because we can all try to change things at home, but right now, this is how things are so let’s have a pint, a laugh, you know?” one of the lads said while raising his pint for a toast. Cheers!

I didn’t stick around to see if the lads were able to take these ladies home. I was a bit tired from all the day’s walking so I headed back to the hostel for some much-needed shuteye.

Song:  Thin Lizzy  The Emerald

Beer: O’Hara’s