Monday, August 4, 2008

Belfastians on Belfast

I have fallen into the habit of burning the candle at both ends with Craig. I stayed up all night with him into the wee hours of the morning. Don't ask me why.

I have only slept for 3 hours and I'm really struggling to stay at awake so I can go to bed at a decent hour. I woke up around 2pm because Craig had to mail an urgent parcel. Of course, he couldn't go to the post office himself because he can't carry the parcel. We took a taxi to the Lisburn Road post office. We figure, we can kill two birds with one stone and pick up my parcel that has been touring around Belfast for that past month. So we get dropped off blocks away from the post office. Craig kept stopping every few feet because he was tired. After the long trek, we discovered that the post office shut down. I just had to laugh maniacally because this is the icing on the cake. This further justifies my hatred for the Royal Mail.

So we walked down towards the other side of the Lisburn Road for the other post office that is located in the Cooperative Superstore. Poor Craig was dead tired so we stopped at a cafe and had something to drink. And then we dredged on. We finally posted his parcel. Since we were at the grocery store, I decided to pick up some items for dinner.

Craig was supposed to go to the hospital to get his cast changed. He couldn't be arsed and unlike me he has not had a wink of sleep. He just wanted to get to bed. After today, I don't blame him. So we took a taxi back to the Shankill. The taxi driver was chatty. He was talking about his upcoming vacation to Vegas and California and that the entire trip will cost £1100, not a bad price. Craig mentions that I'm from San Francisco, the taxi driver's eyes lit up. He said he's always wanted to go to San Francisco, but unfortunately won't be going on this trip. I told him that I highly recommend it. San Francisco is the most European of US cities and it is very compact. You don't need a car to get around and public transportation is very cheap and efficient. Craig interjects on how San Francisco is 'Craicin' (translation: Awesome, great). Both he and the taxi driver go on a tirade about how Belfast sucks. The public transportation isn't user friendly, it's expensive and you can only get in and out of the city center, shops are closed at 6pm, nothing is convenient, prices are sky high and a rip off. Belfast pretty much makes your life hard (ie. the Royal Mail). As opposed to San Francisco --- the diversity, beautiful city, the friendly outgoing laid back people, anything you want is at our doorstep, anytime you want. They both agree it's a whole different lifestyle. The taxi driver made the point that when Americans do something to go all out and invest in it. Here in Northern Ireland, they're afraid to move forward or they just go half ass. Craig tells him, with me being here, he can see Belfast through my eyes. With me pointing out things he now sees how things don't quite makes sense and gets annoyed with them as well. He hasn't really noticed before because he was forced to resign, shrugs his shoulders, and just tell himself that is just the way it is. You have no options. There are no choices. People in Belfast know Belfast is crap. They straight out say it and make no qualms about it. Everytime they ask me how I like Belfast, it's like they expect a negative answer. They are ashamed of their own city. I find it kind of funny that Craig boasted to the taxi driver that we are getting married in San Francisco and THANK FUCK we are not living in Belfast. The driver called him a Lucky Git!

He went on to tell us how he picked up an Australian tourist today and they got talking. She is an avid traveller and is on tour around the world. He asked her what is the best place she's been to so far. She said Belfast and she wants to move here. He asked her, "Why on earth Belfast?". She said it's an up and coming city, it's growing economically, great nightlife, cafes but mostly it's because of the people. Craig interrupts and tell him I've been here 3 months and I hate it. I politely say that I don't hate it. It definitely has its shining moments. Taxi driver saw right through me and said, "If I had to choose Belfast or San Francisco. Definitely, San Francisco would be the best choice."

As for the tourist girl, I wonder how long she's been here. I suspect she hasn't been here long enough to see the real Belfast and I know she definitely did not have dealings with the royal mail. To each their own.


sloan said...

I just want to say that I actually love Belfast. Out of pretty much anywhere in the world [all of Canada, all of Europe and Sri Lanka] I could have chosen to live, I chose here.

Yeah, it's kind of inconvenient - but it's absolutely brilliant. 'Craicin' even.

I wouldn't change my decision to immigrate here for anything. [except maybe a monkey.]

Flippin' Yank said...

Typing on behalf of Craig aka Hop Along [he insists I type "The Great One"...yeah right!]

"Give me examples of why you think this place is SO GREAT! I am willing to accept it is an OK place but it isn't 'ALL THAT'!"