Capturing Chris's fascinations, frustrations and fears (did you know 58 percent of all motor accidents in Dublin occur during the day, in high visibility conditions with dry weather, on a straight road?) in his new surroundings, the story covers Irish lifestyle issues ranging from water heating to violent political factionalism.
Barnes and Noble
Chris Dowding - Travel Writer
Chris Dowding lived a quiet, solitary life as an engineer in Brisbane (Australia) that only began to change when he met his future wife Kerryn who, after their wedding, persuaded Chris to move to Ireland - to a new beginning. 'a few Drops short of a Pint' is the hilarious account of Chris and Kerryn's Irish experience.
from Chapter Two: Welcome to Ireland
No one was at the Immigration desk at the airport when we arrived. Kerryn was concerned we’d be thrown out of the country if our passports were left unstamped. So we hunted around and finally found an airport official. He didn’t seem too worried about illegal immigrants. He didn’t even want to see our passports until Kerryn demanded he put arrival stamps in our documents.
She was still frowning as we walked out.
I grinned at her. ‘Told you, Kez. This is Ireland, not Australia. I knew they wouldn’t be worried.’
We walked under a huge advertisement for an Irish boy band: “Westlife—a world of our [their] own”. Clearly we had arrived in Europe.
The double-decker bus lurched around a corner. The driver tramped briefly on the brakes and we were thrown headfirst towards the seat in front of us. The driver pressed on the accelerator just in time and our heads rolled backwards, just before our teeth collided with the seat.
I clutched Kerryn’s hand and jammed my feet tightly against the floor. Was the driver training for some kind of Bus Grand Prix event? He tested the entire power range of the engine as he raced towards the city. He also changed gears and floored the engine every time he hit a bump in the road, which made the bus leap spectacularly into the air.
I looked out the window through the softly falling rain with interest. There were a lot of grey coloured buildings. There were also a surprising number of people walking around, considering it was midnight. Masses of small cars and scooters jockeyed with the bus for position on the busy road. I’d finally made it to Ireland for real!
I’d wanted to come here since one of my primary school teachers had told my class about it: Ireland is split into two separate countries. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and is home to around two million people. The Republic of Ireland [or “The South” as it is known] is an independent country with no ties to Britain. It has a population of about four million people. The physical partitioning of the land is a symptom of the religious and political divisions of its population. I hadn’t really understood, at seven years old. Ireland sounded like an odd place, a place where the people were all Christians, but fought about which name the church should hang over the door. I’d wanted to know more.
After an hour of jolts and bumps, our bus screeched to a halt.
‘Lower Gardiner Street!’ shouted the driver.
This was the stop for our hostel. Kerryn and I swung on our packs, grabbed our suitcases and stepped down into the rain. After two days of travelling, I felt exhausted. I rubbed the dark circles under my eyes and stumbled up to the hostel door. It seemed to be locked. I pushed again...